10 December 2011

Danish Cycling Pioneers: Carl Georg Rasmussen

At long last, here is the first film in the series of Danish Cycling Pioneers, complete with subtitles. A portrait of Carl Georg Rasmussen, inventor of the Leitra - the first velomobile of the modern age.

At the opening of the Bicycle Innovation Lab last month, Carl Georg was honoured for his contribution to Danish cycling culture.

Here are some of the photos from the opening day:

We were overwhelmed by the response and the gifts/greetings from the City of Copenhagen's mayor in charge of traffic and enivironment, Danish State Railways, Danish Eco-Council, Copenhagen's Bicycle Office, you name it. Basically, all the important players on the bicycle culture front supported us at the opening.

We're humbled and thrilled.


kfg said...

Not to take anything away from Mr. Rasmussen, but "modern era" is being oddly defined and arbitrarily divided from preceding history.

There were also hundreds, if not thousands, of people building velomobiles in that period, for the same reasons. The first international design competition having been held in 1967 there was already a solid "modern" engineering base to work from.

This lead to the 1976 founding of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association in the US, which, for once, was actually at the forefront as people became frightened that their car culture would become a largely petrol free culture.

As had actually happened before within living memory.

Mikael said...

He actually says in the film that he was the first in Europe, in the modern era.

Erik Sandblom said...

Spännande intervju! Man förstår nästan vad han säger ;-)

I think he makes some interesting points about energy prices. Driving is pretty expensive as it is but people seem willing to pay for it anyway. It's attitudes and values, not just cost and rationality.

Regarding cheap airfares, the airplane manufacturers have been working for 40 years (since the first oil crisis) to make the planes more economical to operate. It's not surprising they've had some success!

Andreas said...

Thanks for the interview. It touches in me different ways. First, seen under the ideas of technological innovation systems and his work as a pionier in a niche market. I'm looking forward to see what the future will bring to velomobiles. Second, I'm fascinated of him as someone who is steeped in an idea, never stop developing. And he didn't quit in the early beginnings. History is full of examples where the people thought that "this" (innovation/idea/product) will not work or has no potential (airplanes, rockets, PCs, internet: all were seen as without a chance). Third, the comment of my girlfriend when she saw the video. Her response was short but maybe of more levels. She said: "He looks balanced with himself and content. And he has no wife."

Anonymous said...

.................... nice ^_^v ................

Jimm said...

@Andreas - correction: C. G. has a wife of many, many years. She is at the Leitra shop regularly, tending to the flowers around the building.

Andreas said...

@ Jimm: Thanks for the information. And great for Carl Georg R. :). That explains maybe why he seems so content... :) beneath that velomobile thing...;). I guess my girlfriend build her estimation on the fact, that he wasn't wearing a ring... Well, that is what girls look at while I'm looking on the fantastic coffeepot... :) I hope to do a visit at the velomobilecenter there soon.

Jimm said...

@Andreas - the answer is simple, regarding the ring. C.G. works in a bigshop with lots of tools, welding equipment, electricity - so it's just common sense to remove finger rings and other jewelry while working on Leitras! :) Hope to see you there one day.

@kfg (at the top of the comments) - C.G. is considered the first in Europe to build velomobiles as a business venture using modern construction methods and materials - primarily a light and strong space-frame based on C.G.'s aircraft engineering experience and know-how, and using glass-fiber or carbon-fiber for the body.

I have one of his older Classic Leitra bodies on my Anthrotech trike, circa late 1980's (he thinks 1986). Despite a faded paint-job it is as strong as ever and works as my daily run-around ride, especially on rainy days (no windshield wiper on the newer Wildcat yet).