Teen bike builders’ velomobile project based on Warrior Recumbent Tadpole Trike

Calling themselves “The Trike Trek Team” Chase Manley and Dan Kowalski of Illinois embarked on a project over a month ago to build a velomobile based on our own Warrior Recumbent Tadpole Trike. They are now on day #14 of their build.

Their plan is to ride from Chicago, IL to San Francisco, a total of 2,348 miles in about 3 weeks or less. Their departure date will be the beginning of the summer of 2011, hence the project title Trike Trek ’11.

Their velomobiles will be outfitted with trailers attached to the rear ends to carry essential items such as tents, sleeping bags, food, water, repair tools, spare tubes, first aid kit, etc. The trailers will also sport  solar panels which will be used to charge any electrical items we bring along. Do not be mistaken – the solar panels will NOT charge or run any type of motor – our velomobiles are entirely human-powered.

Chase and Dan plan to cover between 130 -160 miles a day: 130 mi/day = 16mph avg; 160 mi/day = 20mph avg. One full day of riding will consist of 8-9 hours of riding with 2 half hour breaks and 1 hour-long lunch break throughout.

Meet the Trekkers

Chase Manley, 17, Founder of Trike Trek ’11
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I am a 17 year old student at Lyons Township High School in Illinois. I have always been obsessed with anything pedal powered from the moment I rode a big-wheel. The feeling of freedom and speed have always kept me in love with the hobby and lifestyle. Biking is by far my favorite thing to do.

I first stumbled upon velomobiles a couple years ago and I was fascinated with them since then. I have wanted one my entire life but i could never afford one, so I decided I would build one myself. I planned on building a couple with my friends and then taking a big trip with them – originally to Colorado.

But then my stepfather suggested if I were to do the trip, I should do it for a cause. I had not thought of this but I 100% agreed with him and I immediately began working out the route of the trip, the materials I would need, my budget, possible sponsors, etc.

At first I had four friends that planned on going with me on the trip and building their own velomobiles. Unfortunately, through multiple complications and my friends’ unwise spending habits, all but one of them backed out.

I will be riding a home-built creation that consists of a recumbent tadpole-style trike that is being built from plans from a site called AtomicZombie.com. This trike will be housed in a fiberglass fairing of my own design.


Daniel Kowalski, 17, Co-Founder of Trike Trek ’11
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Dan Kowalski, pictured in the middle, is a 17 year old student at Geneva Community High School in Illinois.  He has always enjoyed outdoor sports and is very involved in baseball.

Right when I first told Dan about the project, he was interested. He never had any doubts and he was fully ready to go through with the project with me. He has been a great help along the way thus far and always has useful suggestions about the trip.

Dan and I have always found cool things to do outdoors. We have found snakes in big grass fields, waded our way through entire lengths of deep streams, taken many long bike rides, ran on frozen streams and lakes during the winter, and explored small canyons in Wisconsin.

Dan will also be riding a home built velomobile that is the same design as mine.

“Our Mission – We want to get velomobiles known by the general public. They need to be informed of this practical, environmentally friendly, and healthy way to get around. By doing this project we hope to raise money for non-profit organizations dealing with environmental issues threatening to change life as we know it. We want to promote the idea of “velomobiling” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preserve our Earth’s natural beauty, increase life expectancy, and heal the damaging effects of mankind’s development.

As humans, we must all face the unfortunate truth that we are the problem. It is solely up to us to take responsibility for our actions – and that is exactly what the Trike Trek ’11 project is all about.”

We will be following  the Trike Trek ’11 build progress on YouTube and their web site. Great work so far, guys! Thanks for mentioning AtomicZombie.com, too. That’s very cool.

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