My friend Nick turned me onto Velomobiles a while ago and now I’m mildly obsessed with them. If you’re unfamiliar with them, check out the velomobile wikipedia entry. They’re basically enclosed recumbent bicycles, and they’re often equipped with a small electric engine to help you climb hilly terrain. I could easily commute to work with one of these and would love to be able to – though I might need the assist on one hill, it would combine a great workout, the ability to get grocery shopping done, and an environmentally sound way to commute all in one package. There’s just one downside – the cost. You basically can’t touch one for under $10k. They’re also very hard to get in the US.
The concept seems brilliant though, especially if you buy into the peak oil/ever increasing fuel costs theory of where we are right now. I’m mulling over buying a recumbent, which can be had starting at around $2k, as a way to work my way up to a full velomobile. There’s a dealer in Greenfield, MA that carries stock on a lot of the main recumbent brands. As soon as it gets warm I’m going to take a few for a test drive, and possibly sell my kayak off and use the funds to buy a commuter bike.