Alan Hoffman is used to stopping traffic. The site of his sleek velomobile often has people abandoning their cars in mid-intersection to jump out and snap a photo.
The manager of Hostelling International’s downtown location commutes daily from his home in East Van to the West End in his pedal-driven velomobile, racking up about 4,000 km a year. But it wasn’t attention he was after when Hoffman traded in his motorcycle a year and a half ago.
“I was looking for a green option, and I knew there must be something out there without the wind chill,” Hoffman explains. Web surfing led him to Toronto’s Blue Velo, where he bought his velomobile for about $10,500. It includes a small electric motor that kicks in automatically for assistance at slower speeds when needed. Hoffman reports cruising at 35 to 40 km/h on the flat, entirely on pedal power.
He knew the velomobile would attract attention, but Hoffman had no idea how much attention. “I get chased, I get followed, I get people stopping in intersections in downtown Vancouver and blocking traffic in both directions staring at me,” he says. “I get my picture taken probably three times a day.”