James Gorman of Greensburg, Indiana, has created a zeppelin-shaped fairing for an upright bicycle and, with business partner Mark Keillor of Cincinnati, Ohio, is planning on commercialising the Land Zeppelin via a crowdsourcing campaign.
The fairing offers aerodynamic benefits and also protects the rider from the elements, said Gorman, a civil engineer and surveyor. The fairing would be made by a start-up social enterprise located in Cincinnati. Gorman believes the Land Zeppelin would retail for $650.
The Land Zeppelin is constructed of a prestressed fiberglass frame with heavy-duty vinyl fittings and covered by shrink-wrapped plastic enclosure. Commercial users could advertise on a covered rear panel.
Existing fairings for upright bicycles include the German 'weather protection system' and the polycarbonate plastic Zzipper of the US, which covers the handlebars but not the face and has been produced since 1976. There are also a variety of large and small fairings produced for recumbent cycles, including the Windwrap.
In 1914, the Union Cycliste Internationale banned the use of fairings for racing. In the 1970s and 1980s, fully-faired Moultons were used to break speed records. Larger fairings can add instability in cross winds and, in cold weather, need an exit for a rider’s breath.
Gorman and Keillor have released a video of the Land Zeppelin prototype in action:
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin created his rigid airship in the 1890s from a base in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Today, this city plays host to the annual Eurobike trade show, with the modern Zeppelin airships sent away for the duration of the show so the show can expand into the Zeppelin hangar.