Mochet Velocar

Mochet Velocar Racing

An article by Warren Beauchamp
Manuel Morand leads the pack on a Mochet Velocar during the "Paris-Limoges" race in 1934. When Manuel was leading the field he would go an easy 31 MPH for several miles at a time. This forced his rivals to work very hard. Unfortunately, uphill he was usually dropped. As happens today, Manuel raced by himself, and was not able to race in a team pace line.  Because of this he did not win races, but usually finished in a quite respectable position. 

Also in 1934 a French second category professional track cyclist named Francois Fauvre rode the Velocar to record speeds, breaking both the mile and kilometer records of the day. This created a storm of controversy within the UCI. The debate centered on whether the Velocar was a bicycle and if the records were legal. In 1934 the UCI ruled against the Mochet-Faure records, banning recumbent bicycles and aerodynamic devices from racing.

Here's a cool historic video showing the Velocar recumbent bike in action.

Today, recumbent bikes are still shunned in most non- time trial bike races across the country. Fortunately, the tide is turning, and with the newfound popularity of the fast low racer and high racer recumbent platforms, more upright racers are seeing the advantages and beginning to race recumbent bikes. Some USCF time trials allow recumbent bikes under 2 meters in length to compete (dual 406mm wheeled low racers). Many upright racing organizations are now allowing recumbent bikes to compete in time trial races, though usually in a separate class. Nonetheless, it's up to the recumbent riding community to enter the races, as the race directors are not usually willing to create a new class for just a couple of weird bikes.

When enough recumbent racers compete in a race that they can form pace lines and the tide will be turned. When that happens, recumbent bikes will win most races. Steep hills are still a problem for recumbent bikes, but the advent of super light weight recumbent bikes using carbon fiber and titanium materials may solve this issue as well. 

The Velocar was a fast racing bike, but like most most modern recumbents, the Velocar was most often used as a recreational bike.

In the picture above,  Evelyn Hamilton, a 1930s British cycle racing star, pedals serenely through the French countryside. Here's another picture of her posing on a Velocar recumbent.

Here's a nice video of Evelyn Hamilton riding a  Velocar.


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