Mikael Colville-Andersen, a Canadian-Danish urban designer and mobility expert, has been a source of inspiration for many, including myself. I follow him for years bacuase of his urban cycling advocacy. Mikael founded the Copenhagenize Design Company in 2009 and is also the host of the documentary series, The Life-Sized City, which premiered in 2017. The series delves into urbanism and has garnered international recognition, being broadcasted on various channels, including TVOntario, YLE in Finland, and La Effe in Italy. The inaugural season of The Life-Sized City received five nominations for the Canadian Screen Awards in 2018, highlighting Colville-Andersen’s impact on promoting sustainable urban living. It is great to see him making a video about Carl Georg Rasmussen and his legendary Leitra Velomobile.

As usually, this is part of the Sunday video series of carefully picked recumbent related videos.

Carl Georg Rasmussen is a mechanical engineer with a Ph.D. in physics, an ecologist specializing in noise pollution, and a light aircraft pilot, and is renowned as the designer and manufacturer behind the Leitra velomobile. Velomobiles, which initially emerged in the 1930s, witnessed a halt in commercial production after World War II. Rasmussen’s Leitra, short for “light individual transportation,” marked a significant revival inspired by the 1970s oil crisis. It stands out as the first velomobile in commercial production to incorporate “modern” materials and designs.

Having relinquished car ownership in the 1980s, Rasmussen encountered challenges in the early stages, including the confiscation of an early Leitra by Danish police in 1982, deeming it a hazardous vehicle. This incident propelled him to attain legal recognition for velomobiles in Denmark.

In an effort to enhance awareness and knowledge-sharing about velomobiles, Rasmussen initiated Velomobile Design Seminars. Since 1993, eight such events have taken place across five European countries, covering diverse topics such as technical aspects, societal impacts, environmental considerations, and commercial factors. The proceedings from these seminars are now easily accessible online, contributing to the dissemination of valuable information. Mr. Rasmussen is still an avid velomobile enthusiast, covering impressive distances of up to 10,000 kilometers per year.