Almost one year ago I ordered a new velomobile, a QuestXS. Last week the wait was over and I could finally pick it up.

Ocho ( QuestXS)

Wednesday morning the alarm clock went of pretty early (around 6:00 AM), but because I went to bed late the night before I decided to take a extra hour of sleep. Later that turned out to be a sensible choice. After I left the house at 7:45 AM, walked some 15 to 20 minutes to the Zuidhorn train station and spent some 3 hours in the train (with free WiFi, hurray!) and bus I arrived at velomobile-mecca Dronten just after 11:00 AM. I entered the workshop where a surprised Jos H. looked at me. Shouldn't you pick up your bike tomorrow? O, dear... the stress. If I promised to sit quietly upstairs, he would promise the have the bike finished by the end of the day. So we did.

Ocho (not quite finished)

I went upstairs and entertained myself for 4 to 5 hours with my recently acquired Google Nexus 7 tablet and Jos would get to work. Once in a while I came down to look and around halfway in the afternoon I noticed that the wrong shifters were put in. Apparently my last wishes (for the bike that is) didn't make it to the workshop. So we ran the list to be sure there wasn't a lot of extra work to be done. Around 2:45 PM Jos had finished the montage of the bike and it was time for a short test ride before the top would be put in place.

Ocho (first testride)

Everything worked like it should, except when I shifted to the front middle chainring and the large one behind the chain would make a grinding noise. It rubbed against the derailleur cover. That was however easily fixed by sliding the rubber ring from the chain guard at the rear wheel further back so the chain tube was positioned higher and the returning chain had no chance to grind. And after everything was finished it was 4:30 PM and dark. Time to leave for Zwolle where I could spend the night at Quesjer. It was a 1:10 hour ride and when I got there I had some delicious tomato soup and lasagna. Hmmm.

Ocho (unstickered)

After dinner I got creative with some paper, scissors, tape and markers to create a estimate about the size of the circle. I already looked at / calculated the strips. These have a height of 4.5 (red), 4.5 (white) and 7.2 (blue) centimeters. The blue part is 60% taller then the red and the white (just like the real Herbie).

Ocho (paper, scissors, tape and markers)

Ocho (trying out the design)

Thursday morning just before 8 AM I got out of bed and had a nice toasted bread and boiled egg breakfast. After that I put the bike on it's side to change the pedal distance. My knees were touching the top of the bike. Then I headed to De Kleine Advertising in Zwolle where I agreed to meet at 10:00 AM. We talked through the final things and the stickering could begin. At first I thought this job would be done in a couple of hours, but I was mistaken. Fortunately the men and women at De Kleine are professionals and the end result is very tight and pretty.

Around 4:00 PM the bike was done and I cycled back to Quesjer to show him the end result. He liked it. I quickly charged my phone (at the end of the afternoon the battery was flat) and sent a text message to Robert B. He would join me for a ride home with Anton L. We would meet in Meppel and cycle back to Assen / Groningen. But because I left very late from Zwolle that didn't happen. I just cycled to the High North by my self. It's only 100 kilometers and 95% of the route I know by heart.

The QuestXS is a great machine and very quiet. The kilometers passed quickly. If I kept up this pace I would make my 8:00 PM appointment in Groningen. But no. Half way the ride home I heard: pfffssssst... A flat left tire. Just after less then 100 kilometers of cycling with the bike. At the side of the dark road beside the Drentsche Hoofdvaart I lay the bike on it's side, removed the tire and searched for the cause of the leak. But the outer tire was perfect. I replaced the inner tire and it's still working. I think the inner tire might got pinched during the original montage which caused it to empty out in 3 seconds. Changing the tire is only a matter of 5 to 10 minutes, but 8:00 PM in Groningen, that wouldn't be possible anymore. I arrived at 8:30 PM (including getting a sandwich at Sub-Way).

On my way home I did however encounter Robert who took Anton for a alternative tour. I was heading to Groningen, just past Vries when he rode the other way on the other side of the road towards Assen.

The red and blue stripes are reflective by the way (that cost a lot of time to put on). From about 10 meters away and using the flash from my phone those things light up pretty good. Now no one can say they didn't see me coming.

Ocho (reflection at night)

Today I rode my very first tour with the bike. I headed towards Café Vriezerbrug where the Huneliggers start their ride. Some four riders showed up, Harry L, Anton L, Robert R. and David H. Harry only came to take a look at my bike because he didn't want to make a long tour because of a injury to his Achilles tendon. The four of us cycled though the Drenthe landscape. Of course we stopped to take a few nice pictures of my new bike.

Anton also had stuff to do a home so he parted half way. Together with Robert and David I went on to the train station in Assen to show the bike to Peter H. (we works at the bike repair station). Peter got off around noon and him, David and myself cycled though Assen and I went home following the Noord-Willems canal and though Haren back to Groningen. I would go rowing there. But what I failed to mention is that today was very windy. Let's call it a storm. That's why rowing was canceled and we would train on the erg. I was 1,5 hours early and didn't want to wait for something as boring as erg'ing. Besides, I cycled 99 kilometers today which 'entitles' me to go home, relax and write this blogpost.

Finally this. Why did I name the bike Ocho? Well, 53 (Herbies number) when added equals 8. Ocho is Spanish for the number eight. In the movie Herbie Goes Bananas there is a little Brazilian boy, Paco, which gives Herbie that name. I thought is was applicable.

Meanwhile the bike has been running for 320 kilometers. Nice! Up the the first thousand! Shouldn't be a probably because Saturday December 29th there is the yearly Oliebollentocht in Zwolle. Always good for 260 extra kilometers (100 to, 100 from and a 60 kilometer ride). See you on the road!


Olavo Ludwig's picture
Olavo Ludwig (not verified)
Braziliam boy :)

This really great post!
It's quite funny in several American films appear brazilians speaking Spanish. And with Latin names common in neighboring countries who are Spanish speaking.
If the Paco was a really brazilian boy, the name would be Pedro or Paulo, and He name the Herbie Oito (Eight in portuguese). Smile

I loved your new velomobile.

Live long and Prosper!

.oink's picture
.oink (not verified)
Cool touch on the logo!

Cool touch on the logo!

Gert Jan Reilink's picture
Gert Jan Reilink (not verified)
Good luck with the new Quest

Good luck with the new Quest XS.
Hope it brings you a lot of fun.
Looking forward for more experiences on your blog.