Velogemel... it was a new word to add to my lexicon, I came across it by accident whilst researching Swiss SkiBike manufacturer BullSkate. Some manufacturers might claim to be "The original" skibike, but surely the Velogemel has to be the Grand Daddy of them all, with its wooden design, that goes dates back over 100 years.
Here's what the Velogemel web site has to say.
Today we are used to the fact that new snow is immediately cleared from roads and paths by modern snow-clearing equipment. 100 years ago it was not so easy for the locals to get around in the deep snow in wintertime. For Christian Bühlmann, disabled coach builder from Grindelwald, it soon became too tedious to walk to his clients. In his attempt to solve this problem he became the inventor of the velogemel.
In summer Christian Bühlmann used a bicycle. This gave him the idea of transferring the principle of the bicycle to the sledge. In 1911 he therefore built a snow-bicycle in order to get around faster on downhill and flat stretches – the bike-sledge was created.
It had a wooden frame with two runners steered at the front by handlebars, the seated position allowed one to push off with the feet and hence move forward in a manner similar to that of the first bicycle by Drais (Draisine).
As the word "Gemel" is the name for a sledge in local Grindelwald dialect, the bike-sledge soon became called Velogemel by the locals.
|Velogemel - The Original SkiBike?|
You can buy one, should it take your fancy, the price is CHF 490 (Swiss Francs) for the adult model and CHF 475 for the childrens version. At the time of writing that would be £ 420/405 or $ 678/658 see http://www.xe.com/