Archive for the ‘HPV’ Category

Virtual WHPSC

A couple of months ago, it was announced that the World Human Powered Speed Challenge was cancelled. Aside from the impact on the human powered vehicle community, it was personally disappointing for me as my annual pilgrimage to Battle Mountain every September has been one of the highlights of my year for the past decade.

However, a small team of volunteers, including some clever students on Team Policumbent at the Politechnico di Torino developed a simulator that people could use to test themselves as if they were riding in a streamliner.

The program makes use of video footage from one of the runs by Andrea Gallo in their streamliner Taurus.

It reads power output from a stationary bike, and the calculates speed and distance, adjusting the video feed accordingly. The actual run is about 8 km, and if you can put out 200 watts or more on a continuous basis, then it should take you between 5 and 7 minutes to get down the course.

The program has been available for a week now, and various people have been logging their results.

I wanted to try it out, so it was time to drag out my stationary trainer out of the garage. Also I needed to swap the power meter pedals over to the Tamarack since my trainer was not compatible with through axles.

Put a trainer tire on the bike as well.

Here is the menu.

Only a minute in, and I am suffering already.

Watching the video was good motivation.

So I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. For some reason, the software was only reading half of my input power. This might have been because I was using a single sided pedal based power meter.

(update, with this bug fixed, I did 117 kph, which was more reasonable)

At any rate, if you want to give this a whirl, you have until midnight tonight (Toronto time). All you need is a stationary trainer and a bluetooth or ANT+ power meter. The link to the simulator is here.

Bear in mind that putting power out on a stationary bicycle is nothing like doing the same in a streamliner.

Apparently there will be some kind of virtual wrap up meeting that will be live streamed at 2 pm EST on youtube.

Thanks to everyone behind this project.

Hopefully we can do this for real again in September 2021.

Update: a screen shot of the rogues gallery discussing things during the virtual wrap up.

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A short ride with the bike team

HPVDT put out a call for a short ride out to the lighthouse in Tommy Thompson Park this morning. Here we are at Gerrard and Jarvis. Can you tell that we are riding in the middle of a global pandemic?

Enjoying the fresh pavement on Shuter. The curbs are in almost all the way to River St.

Calvin is riding the bike that he used to cross the Atacama desert on his way to climb Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano in the world. He is carrying somewhat less gear today. He also reminded me that he came across a stretch of road that meets the IHPVA requirements for slope that is at about 4000m elevation……

Calvin and Bill let me get a little ahead of them so that I can get this shot.

We are at the end of the spit, and it is a little colder and cloudier than what was indicated in the forecast.

This picture has my fellow riders in focus. Thanks for taking it easy on the old man this time.

This is roughly where we went.

The team has been busy with online activities, training members to use both Solidworks and Ansys. With the restrictions put in place on campus, it is not likely that the team will be able to do any in person work at least for this term. We will have to see if the COVID numbers calm down enough so that the students can get access to the workshop in the spring, but for the moment the numbers for Toronto look about as bad as they did during the peak of the first wave in April.

Stay safe, everyone!

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WHPSC 2020……not

In ordinary circumstances, I’d be trackside right now, timing the morning qualifying heats for the World Human Powered Speed Challenge, held each year just outside Battle Mountain, NV. This of course is not an ordinary year, and the WHPSC was cancelled in view of the ongoing pandemic.

artwork by Calvin Moes, inspired by C. Michael Lewis

This is especially unfortunate for all the teams that were looking forward to competing this year. Last year was incredible, with three women exceeding the previous women’s world record, a very close race for the european men’s record, and a new multirider world record. For us, we were looking forward to racing tandems head to head with Delft/Amsterdam.

Well the winds look pretty marginal all week for the evening heats, anyway.

We can only hope that by next year, things will have calmed down enough that the event can be run safely, with all international teams able to compete as well.

In the meantime, there is continuing activity on the WHPSC FB page, showing people moving forward with projects for 2021. Additionally, we can be thankful that Lander County is doing comparatively well in terms COVID-19 cases.

Finally, we can hope that our friends on the west coast of the US can stay safe and healthy in what is shaping up to be a record breaking wildfire season, in particular one couple who lives here 😉

Really hoping to see all the usual suspects out in the desert next year.

photo credit: Bas de Meijer

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BM2020: Cancelled!

The World Human Powered Speed Challenge that was to take place this September has been cancelled. This was not a big surprise since many other sporting events were postponed, including the Olympics, and the Tour de France, along with another big event in northern Nevada.

This is particularly disappointing to HPVDT since we were looking forward to pushing up the world record for tandem bikes after dealing with teething problems for our vehicle last year.

photo credit: Danny Guthrie

We were also looking forward to racing against the Delft/Amsterdam team who were also building a brand new tandem.

photo credit: Bas de Mejier

Here is my bike minds talk where I was talking about how exciting WHPSC 2020 was going to be.

Hopefully we can run in September 2021. Until then, everyone stay safe and healthy, and we hope to see our human power family in Battle Mountain once again.

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Today was the last scheduled Saturday morning ride with TBN. I was a bit late getting started so I figured I would ride towards the start point, riding the first part of the route backwards until I met the group. Sure enough, I met them on the MGT just by Cherry Beach. A big group today, perhaps more than 30 cyclists!

Not the safest way to cross Lakeshore at Cherry St.

I think this is Tony blocking my view of the other riders ahead of us on the Lower Don Trail.

Turning left at the elephants to head towards Sunnybrook.

If I wasn’t shooting straight into the sun, you’d be able to see the fall colours.

Bathroom and snack break at Sunnybrook.

The group heads off again.

I split off from the main group to head downtown via Leaside, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, and then down through Forest Hill towards U of T. Here is the climb out of the valley.

Made it to the top, just behind Toronto Rehab.

A beautiful display in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, with a fiery red Japanese maple.

Made a side trip to check out the new bicycle crossing at the top of Poplar Plains, which is the oldest bike lane in Toronto. As you approach St. Clair, you are directed to the left.

This sign would be more useful on the left side of the road, but perhaps it predates the intersection improvement?

Look, an actual button that is placed for the convenience of cyclists! The other one I know of that is not on an off road bike path is on Kilbarry at Oriole Parkway, but perhaps there are others. Note the bicycle crossing lights and the cut on the elevated curb where the streetcar runs.

Crossing this intersection must have been deeply unpleasant before these changes. Update: here is a Google street view shot from May 2019. The blue sign predates the revisions to the intersection.

Now a few pictures from the bike shop. The human powered submarine project is still ongoing.

Calvin repairing the biggest scratch on the fairing for TITAN.

Some of our past projects (plus TITAN), along with a couple of vehicles built by supermileage.

The team discusses if it is possible to build a vehicle that would be competitive at ASME while being decently fast at Battle Mountain. My tentative conclusion: high degree of difficulty.

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Evan’s account of WHPSC 2019

Evan Bennewies, the stoker in Titan, has written up a nice account of the team’s week in Battle Mountain. Read it here.

photo: Jack Yu

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BM2019: Videos from timing

All of my videos from the week, linked in one place. Contact me if you need the original video files.

this video taken from Badger Ranch Rd by EMT Kristina Anderson

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BM2019: Wrap up

It was a spectacular week of racing, with three world records set, and very tight competition in two categories: the women’s record, and the men’s European record. We had a record number of entrants, with 17 vehicles, and 29 riders, compared to 13 vehicles and 20 riders last year. We had the world’s longest HPV, as well as the debut of a strong US College team. Although it seemed at times that the wind was unkind, we had 65 wind legal runs, compared to 47 last year. We had 155 runs through the timing gates, compared to 104 last year, which is a huge increase, even accounting for the extra day of racing added this year.

I’ll run through the teams in the order in which they were listed in my BM2019: Preview post.

Human Power Team Falcon

Adam crashed his bike early in the meet and it needed extensive repairs, particularly to the rear wheel and the hood of the fairing. With the help of others (particularly Hans), he got it to the state that he could run down the track again without the hood, and on Saturday he ran twice with the hood on, and earned himself a 55 mph hat. Perhaps not as fast as he would have dreamed, but he showed real grit in getting the bike back in shape to get it above 55 mph.

University of Liverpool Velocipede Team

This team was forced to build their vehicle in just over a month before the competition, and so it did not appear to be fully sorted. In particular they had a whole series of DNF’s due to throwing the chain, and flat tires as well. In the end, Ken Buckley had very bad luck with mechanicals and the wind, and did not get a single wind legal run, although his was the fastest men’s trike run of the week. Yasmin fared better and set a new women’s multitrack record of 55.66 mph. Congratulations to the team. They had announced that Arion 6 would be a tandem, but I heard some reservations about what it would take to ship such a beast to the US.

Aim93:London South Bank University

This team returned with a bike that had a similar steering mechanism as last year, and after one run down the course, they decided to completely rebuild the internals. They went out of town to buy a bike that they could cannibalize, and they acquired several other bikes as well. Russell provided me this picture that shows their bike, hopefully at the state of maximum entropy.

It was great to see them run the revised machine down 305. Not as fast as they had hoped, but Russell said it was easy to control, even in the very strong crosswind on Saturday evening.

IUT Annecy

We knew Altair 6 was fast from last year, and that it might be still faster with the camera system. What was surprising was just how much faster it was. Fabien went 84.99 mph, a huge increase over his fastest run last year (80.03 mph). Even more surprising was Ilona Peltier, whose presence was announced on facebook the week before the competition. She broke the newly minted women’s record on Thursday night, and on Friday she raised it again to 78.61 mph. She is only 19 years old. If this team comes back again next year, she could be the first woman to go 80 mph. If we see a whole crop of pointy nosed bikes from now on, we know where that idea came from.

Team GeeBee

This team was focused on getting Ishtey Amminger the men’s junior record, and although Ishtey went fast enough several times, those runs were not wind legal. Unfortunately, he turns 18 shortly before next year’s competition. Their second rider, Mike Mowett, did get his long anticipated 60 mph hat.

Land Speed Record LLC

This vehicle is a whole list of superlatives, from its length, to the total power that the five riders could generate, to the four years spent developing this machine. It was very difficult to predict how fast they would go. In the end, all of their runs fell in the range 51.51 – 56.73 mph, with various drivetrain gremlins holding them back. The designers were still speculating on what would be the optimal design for a five rider vehicle as they left the event.

Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo

This team built a very fast bike and had a strong rider in Josh. He repeatedly went fast enough to break the US Collegiate record, with his fastest being 66.43, but all of his runs were not wind legal, until the very last day when he went 63.11 mph, wind legal, and capped off his run with several barrel rolls at catch. It was great to see an ASME team “graduate” to Battle Mountain, and we hope that more US teams follow in their footsteps.


Peter was hoping for a palindromic record of 56@65, and fell just short at 55.35 mph. Todd Reichert was a late add to the team, and he became the first production velomobile pilot to go over 60 mph, although his run was not wind legal. Always fun to see the turn signals as Peter comes into catch.

Human Power Team Delft and Amsterdam

When this team broke the women’s record on Monday, they had a huge celebration, as they had been going for the record for three years. Rosa Bas looked like she would push the record even higher, but her mid week runs were not wind legal. Her 75.24 mph run into a 7 mph headwind on Wednesday morning was particularly noteworthy.   However, no one anticipated that their record would be broken twice later in the week by the French team. There was talk of them building a tandem for next year, but that was on Tuesday when they still had the record. Who knows what they will do next year.

Team Wahoo

No one knew how fast the combination of Denise Korenek and Larry’s bike from last year would be. It turns out that the answer is just over 70 mph. It was fantastic to have someone of Denise’s stature run at our event, and she appeared to be having a good time, even though their team struggled with flat tires midweek. It is a question of how fast she could have gone in a more advanced bike.

Team Elan

Always great to see WHPSC stalwarts Ellen and Hans each fall. This year, Ellen posted a personal best of 72.04 mph, beating her prior record of 70.82, set back in 2014. Fun fact: before Friday, her fastest run was 69.28, but she changed to a set of Michelin blues that were given to her by Policumbent.

University of Toronto HPVDT

This team had high hopes during the summer, but as the competition approached, it became clear that the bike would not be finished. They arrived on Wednesday the week before the event, and had wheels on the ground for the first time on Saturday, crawling around the Super 8 parking lot. Amazingly, they got the bike in qualifying shape by Tuesday, and the broke the tandem record by the end of the week with a shell that had not been surface finished at all. We promise that the bike will be faster next year.

Team Policumbent

(picture from their Facebook Page)

We knew that Andrea would be fast, and would probably beat the old European record (83.13). What was a surprise was that he was just edged out by Fabien Canal on thursday night. He went 84.52 mph, which was good enough for the record, but the wind was just a little too high, and then two minutes later, Fabian posted a wind legal 84.99 mph. It might have been worse if Andrea’s run was wind legal as he would have had the record for only two minutes. Of course the other story for this team was the debut of Vittoria Spada, and she ended the week being the all time second fastest women. On the all time list, Andrea stands third. Two podium positions for this team is an amazing feat, particularly since it appeared that both riders were held back by gearing.  We look forward to seeing what they come up with for next year.

Andrew Sourk

It was great to see the joy that Andrew took in getting down the course, and setting a personal best. He accomplished what he came to do, and he knows now that his trike has a tendency to shake itself to pieces around 30 mph.

Tokyo Science University

This team struggled with launches and crashes all week, eventually sorting things out during the week, running without a fairing, and then gradually adding more of it back on the bike as the week went on. Their rider had a nasty crash on his last run, and he showed signs of heat exhaustion, but he is apparently OK as the team heads back to Japan. They plan to be back next year. I’m sure they learned a lot this week.

Bill Thornton


Bill added two additional riders from Germany who brought a special race hood over with them. Bill ended up with the first wind legal run over 60 mph in a production velomobile. Congratulations to them.

Before I sign off, I want to thank my fellow timers. At the main timing table, we have myself, Danny and Marieke.

(photo: D. Guthrie)

For most of the week, we had Gordon at 200 meters, along with his constant companion Watz. Gordon is also working on an improved wind meter for next year.

Thanks also to Robert Barnett for taking over 200 meters for two sessions. Also thanks to Arnold at start, Mark and Lisa at Badger, and all the others that help us keep track of what is coming down the track to timing.

And so it ends for another year. The women’s record is raised from 75.69 to 78.61 mph (Marieke said this is a “Todd like increase”), and remains in French hands except for the three days earlier in the week. Two men beat the old European record, and are both knocking on the door of 85 mph. Delft and Liverpool are both considering building tandems and were looking over Titan very closely. Finally, the Italians are working on their next generation bike. Already looking forward to next year.

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BM2019: Awards Banquet

The presence of the Basque Club dancers was a somewhat surreal prelude to the handing out of awards.

Officer Aten was on hand to follow up on his arrests yesterday, giving out various citations for moving violations. Here is Calvin and Evan being cited for speeding. Evan’s pleading that he was just a passenger went unheeded.

All of this year’s miscreants.

Next the awarding of the hats. As I was giving them out, I have only one photo, of Mike and is hard won 60 mph hat.

Here are all the hat winners.


Next, special awards from Paula.

  • Ellen for her personal best, improving on her fast run from five years ago.
  • Mike for his 60 hat and his work on stats for the HPV community.
  • Adam for perseverance, rebuilding his bike and getting a 55 mph hat.
  • Russell on behalf of the AIM94 team, who completely rebuilt the internals of their bike during the week and getting it down the road.
  • Andrew Sourk for running with his vehicle through the traps after a crash.


The top three collegiate teams, ranked by # world records broken, then by speed.

  1. IUT Annecy for breaking the women’s record (Ilona Peltier at 78.61 mph)
  2. U of Toronto for breaking the multi rider record (Titan at 74.73 mph)
  3. U. of Liverpool for breaking the women’s multi track record (Yasmin Tredell at 55.66 mph


Ishtey Amminger, Junior Men


Calvin and Evan, Multi-rider world record


Team Sprocket Rocket for the Multi rider multi track category


Yasmin Tredell, World Record for Women’s multi track.


Men’s multitrack podium:

  1. Bill Thorton, first wind legal run over 60 mph in a production velomobile, his Milan SL.
  2. Todd Reichert in Peter Borenstadt’s DF.
  3. Helge Hermann in the Milan SL.


I would be remiss if I did not mention that Ken Buckley in Arion 5 was faster than all of the above, but he didn’t have a single wind legal run all week.

Women’s podium; this was absolutely the tightest competition all week, with Delft/Amsterdam breaking the world record on Monday, and then having it broken twice later in the week by IUT Annecy. Just look at the small spread in speeds, all above the former WR  (75.69) that stood for many years.

  1. Ilona Peltier 78.61 mph (WR)
  2. Vittoria Spada 76.98 mph 

  3. Rosa Bas 75.88 mph


Men’s podium: the IUT Annecy riders look pretty happy.

  1. 1st Fabien Canal  84.99 mph

  2. Andrea Gallo 84.81 mph

  3. Prof. Guillaume de France 72.16 mph


All of the podium winners.


As always, a huge vote of thanks to Al and Alice who works tirelessly to bring this event to the global HPV community every year.


(Battle Mountain Gothic)


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BM2019: Saturday PM results

The wind was high as we were setting up timing.

Most riders scratched out of the first heat. The only ones to go were Jennifer Breet (who crashed Velox 9 with about 1 mile to go) and Russell Bridge, who reported that the new steering system made the bike easier to control, even in a massive headwind.

Heat 2: winds were still high, and so Fabien (fast man for the week) elected to scratch, and Andrea and Ellen ran.

Ken Buckley continued his horrible luck for the week with another DNF; this meant that he didn’t have a single wind legal run the whole week. There was an attempt to allow Rosa Bas to run, but the team was still fixing a flat, so they couldn’t be slotted in time.

Record number of spectators in the grandstands tonight.

Final heat, last heat of the competition. We decided to stretch things out a bit and ran an unprecedented six vehicles.

Ilona Peltier, the world record holder as of Thursday and Friday. The last time we will see this beautiful bike this year.

Vittoria and Rosa also ran slower than their fastest. We were really pushing for Ishtey, and he went fast but the wind did not cooperate.

Final bike: Yasmin with the only wind legal run of the evening, but slower than her own record run.

A somewhat anticlimactic end to a spectacular week of racing.

Photos of the awards ceremony to follow.

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