Ethan's Alleweder Page
It all started when…
The Alleweder VM was originally developed by a Dutchman named Bart Verhees in the late 80's and into the early 90's. To help get production of his design off the ground, Verhees collaborated with Johan Vrielink of Flevobike, and together they developed a kit version, known as the A1, however, Verhees took employment elsewhere shortly after development of the kit. Flevobike made some modifications and went into commercial production with a model known as the A2, or Flevo Alleweder (FAW), continuing production until 2000. During this time, about 550 A2 Alleweders were produced, with about 500 of them being kitbuilt units.
The existence of the two different strains of the Alleweder came about when, in the late 90's, Verhees returned to the velomobile market with an improved version of his machine. After deciding that he wasn't able to sell enough of them at a reasonable profit, he sold his design and equipment to Nico Pluijmers of NPC. After about a year, NPC sold production to Leo Vischer of Alligt Recumbents. Leo made a number of refinements and resumed production with the Alligt Alleweder (A-AW), and went on to refine this to the A4, the A5
Lohmeyer Leichtfahrzeuge in Germany also builds and sells the Alligt Alleweder under cooperative agreement. They specialize in equipping the AW with an electric motor.
In 2000, Johan Vrielink decided that with 11 employees, Flevobike was getting too big. Rather than being constantly occupied with the business, he wanted to focus on the technical and creative side of the bicycle business, so that year he made a big decision. Flevobike sold off the licensing to all of their cycles, including the Alleweder. One of the projects undertaken by Flevobike after 2000 was the development of a new Velomobile, incorporating the use of CNC machining and other production oriented technologies, including the use of a thermoformed shell. The first generation of this machine was called the Versatile, and is being sold in its current version as the Orca. After the Flevobike restructuring in 2000, Ymte Sijbrandij and Allert Jacobs, two of the former Flevobike employees, started their own velomobile company. This company, known as Velombiel.nl produces the Quest, Strada and Quattrovelo Velombiles. They originally also produced the Mango, but sold the production rights to Harry Lieben, who eventually took the production of the Mango with him to Sinner bikes, also in the Netherlands. Velomobiel.nl also obtained the licensing for the F-AW and currently produce parts for the A-AW, existing F-AW's, as well as a number of other production velomobiles. Velomobiel.nl also takes F-AW's in trade for the other machines they produce . These trade-ins are then refurbished and re-sold.
In February of 2003, David Eggleston of Midland, Texas traveled to the Netherlands and while there purchased one of the refurbished F-AW's. He also spent a week at Alligt building his own A-AW. At the end of February he returned to Texas with the license to build the F-AW Stateside. He then started Velomobile USA to manufacture and distribute both lines of Alleweder in the USA.
As for myself, I ordered a refurbished Flevo AW which arrived in May 2003. It had originally been built from a kit by someone who worked for the Dutch Airline Transavia. I had actually seen a picture that had my FAW in it, with a large number of other Flevo Alleweders just before an AW race in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, my own FAW took some forklift damage while being shipped to the US. The top deck had been crushed down, but I was able to mostly bang it back out, although the aluminum ripped in the process. I rode with it that way for a couple of years until repairing it just before selling it to put the money towards a Quest in the Spring of 2005.
That Summer I traveled to Midland to lend my efforts in helping Velomobile USA move towards production. When I returned to Maine, I brought with me an Alligt kit which was assembled in the Winter and Spring of 2004.
Since I sold my Alleweders in 2005, in the intervening time I owned a good number of different velomobiles, although I ended up selling nearly all of them. Then, in August of 2018, I acquired a Velomobile USA FAW+ that had been built by my friend Dan Chalue in Western Mass. With nearly 25,000 miles on it, it was well used, but still has a lot of life left in it. In fact, with continued maintenance, it should be useable indefinitely. I find that I am riding whenever I have the opportunity, although that isn’t quite as often as I’d like!
Here is a really cool video of a self assembling A4 (Alligt Alleweder)