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Human Powered Vehicles

What is an H.P.V. ?

In my humble opinion, lots of vehicles are HPV's: every kind of vehicle or vessel that is used to transport people (with their freight) and that is powered by human muscle power, is an HPV. So canoes, babyprams, rollerskates: they're all HPV's.

On this website, we will focus on those vehicles that have wheels (2, 3, 4,...), are not very common, and mainly used for recreation and commuting.

Who is PoPoL?

Yours truly had a very strict education, or rather a kind of Tiranodadus as a father. I only learned to ride a bicycle at the age of 12, thanks to a friendly neightbour. My father wasn't happy with it, and it took me two more years of  asking and begging before I got my first bike.

early triker
yours truly (with sister) on his first trike,
somewhere around 1960.

The ownership of a bicycle was a passport to a new world: we never had a car and all our holidays were by train. At the age of eight, I knew most of the railwaystations in the country...

My first bicycle meant the start of a new chapter in my life. I remember it like it was yesterday: I was given a brand new, metallic blue, 10-speed 'sports bike' by the end of the schoolseason, in June 1971. My first trip was from the bikeshop back home. For an unknow reason, my father bought the bike at the other end of the 'big city', Antwerp, so I had to find my way back all by myself! The 8 km journey (5 Miles) was my maidentrip and it triggered an unknow sensation: FREEDOM !

The next day, I took off in the morning, and went out for what would become a routine during the next two months of holiday: an exploration of the unknown! (Don't laugh:to me it really was!) I started with a short trip around the village, so that I wouldn't get too far from home if anything might go wrong with the bike. During the following days I gradually expanded the radius, and then I started to explore new horizons, i.e. the towns in the province of Antwerp. After the Summer, I must have done hundreds of miles, riding five days a week trips of 40 to 80 km. And that is where and how my passion for HPV's started.

Today, many decades later, after having survived two motorbike accidents, a skiing accident in which I broke two vertebrae, two hartattacks (why do these unpleasant things always come in pairs to me?), I'm an old, fat git, with no condition anymore. But I still have a dream: to own a tricycle with power assistance.

In the meantime, I ride around the village on my self-customised twowheeler. On the below picture is my bike, photographed just around the corner from where I live nowadays, in De Panne, Belgium. The bike is build from a secondhand frame, with three-speed Shimano hub, rollerbrakes, springer fork, banana seat, sissy bar and last but not least: smiley valvecaps

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