Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Northbrook HPV races - July 28. 2018

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

Four HPVers from Michigan participated in the July 28 races on the velodrome in Northbrook, Ill., and the following day on the velodrome in Kenosha, Wis. They were  Mike Mowett of Detroit, Cyrus Furbush, Tecumseh, and Rob Lloyd, Whitmore Lake, who finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively in the stock class; and Rob's son, Cameron, 11, who was 2nd in the junior class.
I (Mike) only went to the Saturday races in Northbrook, hence no photos from Kenosha.
To see all the results and photos by others, go to, then under "recumbent racing," click on "HPRA racing results and pictures."

Rob Lloyd of Whitmore Lake first raced his homebuilt recumbent at the 2017 Michigan HPV Rally.  It was unpainted, which showed its beautifully smooth brazed joints.  (See blog article July 16, 2017).  He raced a modified Rans at the 2018 Michigan HPV Rally, but at Northbrook, he was on his now painted homebuilt, with a larger front wheel.  (Previous front wheel was 20-inch/451 mm).

Mike Mowett of Detroit raced his Morciglio M1 at Northbook and Kenosha.  He finished 4th  in the stock class for the weekend.  In the 200 meter flying start at Northbrook, one of four events during the weekend, he finished third with a speed of 35.37 mph.

Cyrus Furbush of Tecumseh, who came to the Illinois events with Mike Mowett, raced his M5 M-Racer to 5th in the stock class for the weekend. There were 13 stock class entries.  Cyrus' speed in the 200 meter sprint at Northbrook was 34.51 mph, good for 6th place.

The fourth competitor from Michigan was Cameron Lloyd, 11, who came with his father, Rob and raced a modified (by his father) Rans Enduro.  During the 20-lap juvenile class race at Northbrook, he passes Martina Kowalik of Deerfield, Ill., the youngest competitor at age 7.

The future of HPV racing:  Lining up for the start of the 20-lap race at Northbrook were, from left, Ishtey Amminger, 15, Memphis, Tenn., who won on his Cruzbike; Cameron Lloyd, 11;  AdrianA Kowalik, 9, Deerfield, Ill.; and Martina Kowalik, 7, being held by dad Fran Kowalik.

The start of the 50-lap race for unpaired vehicles at Northbrook.  The winner was Dennis Grelk of Donelson, Iowa, on the large black low racer in the center of the front row.  He rode the 50 laps (11.84 miles) at an average speed of 29.47 mph.

Warren Beauchamp of Elgin, Ill., had his not-yet-completed tricycle at the Jan. 20 HPVer gathering at the home of Bruce and Linda Gordon in Buchanan. Now finished (obviously), here he is racing it at Northbrook.  His complete construction diary can be seen on the home page of the website Warren edits,

Garrie Hill (left) and Fran Kowalik get Sean Costin ready for the start of the 100-lap streamliner race. Sean won over seven other streamliners, riding the 23.68 miles at an average speed of 36.89 mph.  (The Northbrook velodrome is 382 meters around.)  Second was Dennis Grelk, who finished four laps behind Sean.  (When the winner completes the race distance, everyone else finishes the lap they are on and are done.)  A view of Sean's streamliner – built around a Nocom low-racer is below.

Peter Amminger of Memphis, Tenn., works on the TriSled GeeBee, owned by Garrie Hill, in which Peter's son, Ishtey, 15, hopes to set the world multi-track speed record in the 15-17 age bracket at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge Sept. 10-15 at Battle Mountain, Nev.  The current record is 57.92 mph.  If it's not obvious, the GeeBee has two wheels in front.

Mike Mowett (kneeling) brought what officially is his Norus streamliner to Northbrook, but didn't race it. He explains its inner workings to, from left, Cyrus Furbush and brothers David and Nathan Sommerfeld, from Iowa. David's homebuilt front-wheel-drive recumbent, which he raced at Northbrook and Kenosha, was shown in the Sept. 28, 2017 blog entry about the HPV races in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  He said he's now building a streamliner.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

34th annual Michigan HPV Rally - May 19-20, 2018

Jonathan Walters from Cincinnati, Ohio, on his Schlitter Encore, leads Rick Toler, of Dayton, Ohio, on his Fetish during the one-hour time trial for unfaired bikes on Saturday. It was the first time for both of them at the Michigan HPV Rally.  Rick finished 5th in the one-hour and 3rd in the stock class for the weekend.  Jonathan was 8th in the one-hour and 5th overall in the stock class.

Words and photos (except one) by Mike Eliasohn

Despite threatening weather, the 34th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally May 19-20 – the 31st at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkston – drew 31 competitors.
Saturday morning started wet, and depending on the forecast, there was the possibility of rain all day, which may have kept some competitors and spectators away. Because it was too wet to tape the timing tape to the pavement for the two one-hour time trials, which were the scheduled first events, competition started with the hill climb-coast down. By the time that was over, the track had dried enough to put down the timing tape, so the one-hour for mostly streamlners started at about 11:30 and the time trial for the other vehicles started at 1:05.
That was followed by the hot laps, but because everything was running late, the standing start kilometer, the final event scheduled Saturday, was cancelled.   Good thing, since it started raining as people were leaving and then it started pouring.
On Sunday, It was cloudy all morning, but no rain, so all events were held as scheduled, and ran quick enough that the awards ceremony was done by about 12:40.
Tedd and Donna Wheeler of Reed City organized and ran the rally for the second time. Other helpers included Bruce Gordon of Buchanan, who handled the online registration, ran the timing equipment and compiled and posted the results and Mike Mowett of Detroit, who did the technical inspections. (Note: Bruce plans to retire from his timing/compiling results duties, so someone needs to volunteer to take over, or there might not be a 35th Michigan HPV Rally.)
Apologies to any other helpers we missed.

Here's the University of Toronto's three streamliners. The tricycle (left) is the newest and was ridden by Bill Kong to 6th in the streamliner class.  Calvin Rieder in No. 68 finished 7th in the class.  Calvin Moes rode No. 66 (right) to second overall among the streamliners and  pedaled a very impressive 45.42 mph in the 200-foot flying sprint, though not a record.

The University of Toronto – the only college team competing – was back for the ninth year with three streamliners, two manufactured recumbents, five riders and some parents.
Special mention also should be made to Dennis Grelk, who once again made the long trek from Donnellson, Iowa, with his parents, and five HPVs, three of which he built. He competed with four of them.
And, Michael and Linnae Hinterseher of Novi and their three children – Elizabeth, 8, Amalie, 11, and Johannes, 12 – all participated. 
Following are the top three for each class. To see complete results, go to, click on “recumbent racing,” then “HPRA racing results and pictures,” then under “2018 HPV racing results and pictures,” “Michigan HPRA racing results.”   Photos by Tony Levand can be seen at

Michael Hinterseher of Novi won the streetliner class in his Milan SL three-wheel velomobile.  He's shown here in the 200-foot flying start sprint on Sunday, in which his speed was 41.15 mph – very impressive for a vehicle designed for riding on the street. He was faster than all but one of the strictly-for-speed streamliners.

Streamliners (7 entries) – 1) Dennis Grelk, Barracuda, built by Warren Beauchamp, 330 points; 2) Calvin Moes, University of Toronto, 322; 3) John Simon, Portland, Moby, 290.
Streetliner (3 entries) – 1) Michael Hinterseher, Novi, Milan SL velomobile, 355; 2) Tony Levand, Lemont, Ill., homebuilt two-wheeler, 340; 3) Tedd Wheeler, Reed City, Alleweder velomobile, 205.

Daryl Hanger, shown here during Saturday's one-hour time trial, cruised to first place in the stock class on his Cruzbike.  In the one-hour, he finished second, riding 18 laps at an average speed of 24.094 mph. 

Stock (13 entries) – 1) Daryl Hanger, Greenwood, Ind., Cruzbike, 325; 2) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt low racer, 316; 3) Rick Toler, Dayton, Ohio, Fetish upright bike, 304.
Women – Amanda Zolyniak, Toronto, Ontario, was the lone female competitor on the Raptor carbon fiber low racer built by her and husband Dan, 180.
Tricycles (4 entries) – 1) Jonathan Walters, Cincinnati, Ohio, Catrike Speed, 345; 2) Daryl Hanger, Catrike 700, 340; 3) Jeff Hunn, North Manchester, Ind., BlackMax leaning trike built by Tim Hicks, 230.
Junior (5 entries) – 1) Ishtey Amminger, 15, Cruzbike, 350; 2) Johannes Hinterseher, Novi, Trident folding tricycle, 297; 3) Cameron Lloyd, 11, Whitmore Lake, Rans Enduro, 215.

Ishtey Amminger of Memphis, Tenn., on his Cruzbike won the junior class for the third straight year.  At 15, it's his last year in the junior class.  Next year, he competes with the adults.  (Tony Levand photo)

Following are the top two in each event:
Hill climb: Streamliner: 1) Dennis Grelk, 23.28 seconds, 2) Bill Kong, University of Toronto tricycle streamliner, 23.72. Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 22.97, 2) Tedd Wheeler. 26.56. Stock: 1) Rick Toler, 17.72 (quickest time ever), 2) Daryl Hanger, 18.23. Women: 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 25.09. Tricycle: 1) Daryl Hanger, 18.2, 2) Jonathan Walters, 19.84. Junior: 1) Ishtey Amminger, 23.21, 2) Johannes Hinterseher, 25.65.
Coast down: Streamliner: 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Dan Zolyniak, Toronto, Mistral built by him and his wife, Amanda. Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 2) Tony Levand. Stock: 1) Rick Toler, 2) Dennis Grelk. Women: 1) Amanda Zolyniak. Tricycle: 1) Daryl Hanger, 2) Jonathan Walters. Junior: 1) Elisabeth Hinterseher, Novi, 2) Ishtey Amminger.
One-hour time trial, faired classes and tricycles:
Streamliner: 1) Dennis Grelk, 22 laps, average speed 30.669 mph, 2) Dan Zolyniak. Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 18 laps, 24.1 mph, 2) Tony Levand, 1 lap, 20.846 mph. Tricycles: 1) Jonathan Walters, 15 laps, 19.727 mph, 2) Daryl Hanger, 14 laps, 18.412 mph.

Racers line up for the start of the one-hour time trial for unfaired vehicles on Saturday.  There's three classes represented here – stock, women and junior – of which the fastest was Dennis Grelk (front row, fourth from left) – 19 laps at an average speed of 26.659 mph. Prior to this event, Dennis won the one-hour time trial for streamliners.

One-hour time trial, unfaired classes:
Stock: 1) Dennis Grelk. 19 laps, 26.659 mph, 2) Daryl Hanger, 18 laps, 24.094 mph. Women: 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 14 laps, 19.292 mph. Junior: 1) Ishtey Amminger, 14 laps, 18.737 mph, 2) Cameron Lloyd, 9 laps, 12.278 mph.
Hot laps (time for fastest one lap of 1.4 mile track): Streamliner: 1) Calvin Moes, 50.029, 2) John Simon, 1:00.212. Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 1:00.220, 2) Tedd Wheeler, 1:15.079. Stock: 1) Daryl Hanger, 54.507, 2) Cyrus Furbush, Tecumseh, M5 M-Racer, 57.924. Women: 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 1:11.393. Tricycle: 1) Jonathan Walters, 1:11.162, 2) Jeff Hunn, 1:16.227. Junior: 1) Ishtey Amminger, 59.901, 2) Johannes Hinterseher, 1:36.56.

Dennis Grelk gets underway from a standing start in the hill climb on the front-wheel-drive bike he built earlier this year for riding/racing on gravel and for training. This was his entry in the urban transportation contest – he finished second – which required riding in the hill climb/coast down.  He also did the hill climb/coast down in his streamliner and on his stock class low racer, which he also built.

Urban transportation contest: There were four competitors. Scores were based on: 1) Evaluation for such features as lights, rearview mirrors, fenders and other “weather protection” features, cargo carrying capacity, carrying a lock and visibility; 2-3) finishing position in the hill climb and coast down and 4) time in the obstacle course, which tested maneuverability, speed and braking.
Darryl Hanger, Catrike 700 (with smaller rear wheel), 14 points; 2) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt front-wheel-drive recumbent built (mostly) for riding on gravel and for training, 13, 3) Johannes Hinterseher, age 12, Trident folding tricycle, 7, 4) Linnae Hinterseher (Johannes’ mother), Quattro Velo 4-wheel velomobile, 5.
Although Linnae finished fourth, it should be noted that she did not compete in the hill climb-coast down and in the evaluation, her Quattro Velo was far ahead of the other competitors. It scored points for every category except “convenience (size, getting on/in – off/out).” It’s only other negative was she had extreme difficulty making it around the tight turn in the obstacle course.
Mike Eliasohn ran the event, with assistance from Charles Brown.

200-foot flying start sprint: Streamliner: 1) Calvin Moes, 45.42 mph, 2) Dave Johnson, Olivet, Great White, 39.26 mph. Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 41.15 mph, 2) Tony Levand, 37.99 mph. Stock: 1) Dennis Grelk, 40.02 mph, 2) Daryl Hanger, 39.73 mph. Women: 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 31.57 mph. Tricycle: 1) Daryl Hanger, 32.99 mph, 2) Jonathan Walters, 32.93 mph. Junior: 1) Ishtey Amminger, 35.70 mph, 2) Cameron Lloyd, 21.82 mph.

The tricycle race on roads in the pit area, with many corners, was an exciting duel between Jonathan Walters and Daryl Hanger.  In this photo, Daryl is leading, but at the end, Jonathan was the winner.  He rode a Catrike Speed, while Daryl was on a Catrike 700 (with smaller rear wheel).  Five trikes were in the race.

Tricycle race (times not kept, course on roads in pits, length not recorded): 1) Jonathan Walters, 2) Daryl Hanger.

Amanda Zolyniak was, unfortunately, the lone competitor in the women's class, competing on the Raptor carbon fiber low racer built by her and husband Dan, 180. She's faster than many male competitors, for instance, 31.57 mph in the 200-foot flying start sprint.

Road races (.6 mile laps, course didn’t include hill):
Faired vehicles, 20 laps, 12 miles: Streamliner: 1) Calvin Moes, 20 laps, 19:10.746, 2) Dennis Grelk, 20 laps, 20:06.284. Streetliner: 1) Tony Levand, 4 laps, 20:07.036, 2) Michael Hinterseher, 3 laps, 3:25.647. (Tony started the race late because he first had to fix a flat tire; Michael dropped out after 3 laps because of a flat tire.)
Unfaired, 15 laps, 9 miles: Stock: 1) Dennis Grelk, 15 laps, 15:20.816, 2) Daryl Hanger, 15 laps, 16:08.722. Women: 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 13 laps, 16:30.385. Junior: 1) Ishtey Amminger, 13 laps, 16:25.621, 2) Cameron Lloyd, 9 laps, 16:20.596.


Rob Lloyd of Whitmore Lake and his son, Cameron, 11, both competed on Rans bikes, which Rob modified.  He replaced the 650 size wheels on his F5 Pro with larger 700c. which required slight frame and fork modification, plus he mounted a disk brake on the front.  Cameron's Enduro came with 26 inch wheels, which his father replaced with smaller 520 size (approximately 24-inch). Rob also had to make other modifications and added disk brakes front and rear. 

Tony Levand, who finished second in the streamliner class, somehow squeezes himself and his cycle inside the small fairing.  It has a 48-inch wheelbase, 20x1.6 front wheel/tire and 700x38 rear.  It's front wheel drive. From April 16 to May 8 of this year, he rode his homebuilt creation 1,106 miles (1,780 km) on a tour.  To read about his adventures, and to see what the bike looks like without the fairing, go to

A record and not a record

Calvin Moes' 45.42 mph in the 200-foot flying start sprint led me (Mike E.) to ask Mike Mowett, who keeps track of such things, whether that was the fastest speed ever at Waterford Hills.  Here's Mike's reply:
Calvin's time was certainly very quick indeed, but Todd Reichert does still hold the track record with a 48.02 mph run in Vortex back in 2011. The year prior he had reached 47.0 mph in their first streamliner A.C.E,. breaking Rick Gritters track record of 45.91 mph set in 2006 in his Dacron liner. 
(Note from Mike E.:  Todd's fast times at Waterford Hills were in University of Toronto streamliners.  He now holds the world record, 89.54 mph/144.17 kph set at the World Human Power Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nev., in 2016,)
Calvin's run is likely in the top 10 of all time at Waterford Hills. Calvin is the ninth fastest human using pedal power,  based on his legal runs of 79.2 mph last year at Battle Mountain in Eta Prime, while winning the event.  
Note: Dennis Grelk expressed some disappointment to me that he couldn't get Frank Geyer's 27.66 mph stock record (in the one-hour time trial) set on his Challenge Jester way back in 2004. That still remains a formidable mark that Frank set in 20 laps of the track. 
Note: Rick Toler's 17 second hill climb on his upright bike is a new overall hill climb record, beating Sean Costin's 18 second mark. Rick rides a lot of time trials in Ohio with Thom Ollinger and this was at least his second HPRA race (but his first at Waterford Hills). I know he raced at Ohio in 2011, a race at which I fell and Warren Beauchamp had Rick drafting him the whole hour, which he recorded on film.

The complete history of the track records are here.  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Preview: 34th annual Michigan HPV Rally

The rally will be held at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track on the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club grounds in Clarkston, near Pontiac - the location since 1986. The oldest such event in North America is open to riders of all human powered vehicles — recumbents, streamliners, regular bicycles, tandems and handcycles.

There are classes for streamlined, unstreamlined cycles, tandems, women, youth and tricycles. The rally is conducted using Human Powered Race America rules (, then under "recumbent racing," click on "Human Powered Race America," then on "racing rules." Note: HPRA rules require all vehicles to have a mirror or mirrors enabling rear vision to both sides.
The track is 1.4 miles around, with nine turns and one hill. Sunday races use a shorter course without the hill.
Prize money will be awarded to top finishers in each class. Even if you don't want to compete, come and see some unusual and some very fast bicycles and tricycles. 
Concession stand will be open.

Schedule of events (subject to change):

Registration and tech inspection starts 8 am
1-hour time trial (streamliner, streetliner, tricycle classes) - 9:30 am
1-hour time trial (stock, junior, women, tandem classes) - 11 am
Lunch and hot laps, 12:15 p.m. (on short loop, all classes, ride as many laps as you want; your fastest lap counts)
Hill climb/coast down (all classes) - 1:30-2:30 pm
Standing start kilometer (all classes), 3 p.m.
Urban transportation contest - in afternoon.  Score/placing based on results of hill climb, coast down, time in running obstacle course and evaluation for lights, fenders, other weather protection, cargo carrying capacity, braking performance, rearview mirrors, security against theft, convenience (size, getting on/off or in/out), etc.
6 p.m. (approximate) – eat at local restaurants.

200-foot sprints, flying start (all classes) - 8:30-9:30 am
Tricycle race - 10 am
Road race (faired classes, short course, no hill, 12 miles) –10:30 am
Road race (unfaired classes, short course, no hill, 9 miles) 11 am

Awards ceremony follows the last race, expected by 1 p.m.

Entry fees: $20 for one day, $35 for two days. For multi-rider college or high school or other teams, $35 for first vehicle and rider; $10 for each additional vehicle or rider. Spectators free.
Register online at and save time when you arrive.

For additional information, contact:

Location: Oakland County Sportsmen's Club: 4770 Waterford Road, Clarkston MI 48346. For a map of the track, visit or 

TO GET TO THE RALLY:  From I-75, get off at exit 91. Take M-15 south to Dixie Hwy. (US-24). Turn left, continuing south about 1 mile and turn left onto Waterford Road, then proceed to track.If coming from the west, take U.S. 23 north (or south) to M-59 (Highland Road). Go east on M-59 to Airport Road, then left (north) to US-24. Turn left, then immediately right onto Waterford Road. Go about a half-mile to track.


Free camping available overnight Friday and Saturday at the Waterford Hills Sportsman Club, site of the HPV rally, starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Restrooms, showers available and possibly electrical hookups.

STATE CAMPGROUNDS (, then click on "make a reservation.
Highland Recreation Area, 5200 E. Highland Road (M-59), White Lake, 248-889-3750. Two miles east of Highland.
Holly Recreation Area, 8100 Grand Road, Holly, 248-634-8811. Five miles east of Holly.
Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, 7800 Gale Road, Waterford, 248-666-1020. Closest to Waterford Hills track, about 4 miles west.
OAKLAND COUNTY:  Groveland Oaks County Park, 14555 Dixie Hwy., Holly, northeast of Holly, 248-634-9811.
PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS ( Detroit Sportsmen's Congress Horseshoe Lake Campground, 1050 E. Oakwood Road, Oxford, 248-628-3859, e-mail

MOTELS (with approximate distances/direction from Waterford Hills track)
Clarkston - Clarkston Motor Inn, 6853 Dixie Hwy. (US-10), 248-625-1522, 12 rooms, 2 miles northeast.
Clarkston - Olde Mill Inn of Clarkston, 5835 Dixie Hwy., 248-623-0300. Across Dixie Highway from Waterford Road leading to track. This is the closest motel to the track.
Hartland - Best Western of Hartland, 10087 M-59 at US-23, 810-632-7177, 61 rooms. About 18 miles west.
Waterford – Quality Inn and Suites, 7076 Highland Road (M-59), 248-666-8555, 111 rooms. About 3 miles southwest.
Waterford – Waterford Motel, 2201 Dixie Hwy. at Telegraph Road, 248-338-4061, 50 rooms. About 6 miles southeast.
Waterford – Holiday Inn Express, 4350 Pontiac Lake Road, 248-674-3434, 83 rooms. About 7 miles southwest.
Whitmore Lake - Best Western of Whitmore Lake, 9897 Main St. (off US-23, exit 53), 734-449-2058, 61 rooms. About 33 miles southwest.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Annual HPVer gathering – Jan. 20, 2018

Saturday, Jan. 20, was the fifth annual gathering at the home of Bruce and Linda Gordon in Buchanan in southwest Michigan for the HPV community.
The "official" reason for the gathering is to review  the upcoming Human Powered Race America schedule and discuss possible rule changes and insurance matters.
Here's the possible schedule, of which only the Michigan and Nashville, Tenn., events are "for certain" as to being held and the dates.

May 19-20 – 34th annual Michigan HPV Rally, Clarkston.
Tentative:  July 14-15 – Northbrook, Ill. (usually Saturday) and Kenosha, Wis. (usually Sunday).
Tentative:  Aug. 18-19 – North Manchester, Ind.
Tentative:  Sept. 15-16 – Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Oct. 13-14 – Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with Recumbent Cycle-Con, both events on the state fairgrounds.  The racing will be on the half-mile oval track.  More information and tentative schedule of events can be seen on, then click on "calendar."

In addition to HPRA matters, there also was lots of conversation, some of it about human powered vehicles, some "show and tell" and lots of food.  Thank you, Bruce and Linda.

Warren Beauchamp of Elgin, Ill., brought his still-in-progress tricycle.  Warren is webmaster.

Another view of Warren's project. It will be rear-wheel-drive.  All three wheels are 20-inches.
 The steering setup is temporary and will be replaced by levers on each side of the rider.

A front view shows Warren's beautifully smoothed brazed joints.  The carbon fiber boom tube holding the bottom bracket will fit over the stub in the center of the axle.  

Mike Mowett drove from Detroit in his empty van and went home with the Velox XS streamliner he's buying from Garrie Hill, who brought it from his home in Granville, Ohio.

Mike first saw – and sat in – the Velox XS at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nevada, in 2012.  Notice the carbon fiber frame. The chain drives the rear wheel.  The streamliner was built by Hans van Vugt of the Netherlands and ridden in 2012 by his wife, Ellen, to 70.27 mph/113.08 kph. In 2016, when Garrie Hill was the owner, Florian Kowalik of Deerfield, Ill., pedaled 65.93 mph/106.10 kph at Battle Mountain to set the International HPV Association junior class record (ages 15-17). 

Mike took this photo of the Velox XS in 2012.  Hans then built another streamliner for his wife, so sold this one to Garrie Hill in 2013 and Mike transported it from Battle Mountain to Garrie's home.  Some work is needed before it's ready for Mike to race.  "This is a much more aerodynamic bike that the Norus (Mike's old streamliner, which he still owns)," he said. Mike's top speed on the Norus at Battle Mountain was 59 mph, so his goal in the Velox is to "definitely" go faster.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Michigan HPV Rally May 19-20, 2018

The 34th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally will be May 19-20 at at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track on the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club grounds in Clarkston, near Pontiac – the location since 1986. 
This is the oldest such event in North America and is open to riders of all human powered vehicles — recumbents, streamliners, regular bicycles, tandems and hand cycles.
For those who remember the frost-on-car-windshields temperatures at the 2014 rally – the last time it was held in May – and wonder why we couldn't do it again in June, the answer, according to rally organizers Tedd and Donna Wheeler, is the only dates available at the track that month were June 1-2.  They thought that weekend might present a conflict with graduation-related activities for too many potential competitors.
The schedule of events and other information for May 18-19 will be posted here once it's all determined. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Iowa HPV races - Sept. 16-17, 2017

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

Dennis Grelk has been conducting HPV races at Hawkdown Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, every year since 2006. 
That also apparently is the first year he raced at the Michigan HPV Rally. He's made the long drive every year since from Donnellson, Iowa, to Waterford Hills, first with his parents and then with his wife.
For too long, I (Mike) have been saying, "One of these years I should go to Cedar Rapids," and then finding excuses not to.  This year, I ignored everything else I could have/should have done and at 6:15 on Saturday morning, Sept. 16, I was on the road.  334.5 miles later, I arrived at the speedway about noon Iowa time (1 p.m. in Michigan), in time for the start of the first race.
There were at most 20 HPVs racing, but I quickly noticed that most of them were homebuilt, though not necessarily raced by the builder, as opposed to manufactured.
Many of the homebuilts have been seen at the Michigan HPV Rally, so for this report, I'm focusing on the ones I hadn't seen. 
Among those in the "previously seen" category were Dan and Amanda Zolyniak, who made the long drive from Toronto, Ontario – about 1,200km (746 miles), Amanda said.  Amanda raced the carbon fiber low-racer she and her husband built, while Dan was in the streamliner they also built.
Hawkeye Downs consists of a quarter-mile oval inside a half-mile oval, with the front strraightaway serving both tracks.  Some of the HPV events used both ovals, with vehicles making a sharp turn off the big oval onto the quarter-mile track and another sharp turn back onto the half-mile.
Wanting to get an early start back to St. Joseph, Mich., I skipped the Sunday events.
My one regret is that, instead of doing it all in a weekend, I didn't take an extra day or two to do some sightseeing along the way to or from Cedar Rapids.  Maybe next year.

       Results of some events at Hawkeye Downs can be seen at, then click on "2017 results."

The South Dakota State University HPV racing team came from Brookings with two vehicles, faculty adviser Greg Michna, six students and one alumnus. They've competed in American Society of Mechanical Engineers competitions for three years, but this was their first time at Cedar Rapids.  Students took turns racing this streamliner – the fairing is carbon fiber – and an unfaired trike.  

Here's the SDSU unfaired trike. With the streamliner, the Jackrabbits were the only college to compete this year in the ASME western states competition March 17-20 in Las Vegas, where they finished third overall and eastern states competition April 21-23 in Cookeville, Tenn., where they finished second. A new vehicle will be designed and built for 2018.

(To read more about the team, go to, then under "University News" on the home page, find the article dated April 27, 2017, "Fast Wheels/SDSU engineering students pedal to victory.")

David Sommerfeld of Orange City, Iowa, designed and built his bike with inspiration from a Cruzbike. He used the same head tube angle to achieve proper handling, but designed the rest of the bike himself using CAD (computer aided design).  "It's designed to fit me," that is, neither the seat or bottom bracket position is adjustable to fit various size riders. The frame is made of 4130 aircraft grade chromoly.  David even made the rear triangle.  Wheels are 700c.  Weight is about 26 pounds.

David started construction of the YellowJacket in April, rode it for the first time June 2 and as of Sept. 16, had ridden it about 1,500 miles – including RAGBRAI (402.7 miles), the annual seven-day cross Iowa ride in July. At Cedar Rapids, he finished second in the one-hour race for unfaired vehicles, at an average speed of 23.133 mph, and second in the "big horseshoe" race for unfaired vehicles.  This was the 13th HPV he's built, including ones he built and then radically altered.  (Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see another of David's creations.)

Three low-racers built by Rick Gritters of Pella, Iowa.  The red one is his latest and the one he raced.  He also raced his streamliner, with the fairing made of aircraft fabric over a tubing framework.

Aaron Stiles, who lives near Waterloo, Iowa, built this partially-faired/superstock bike in the early 2000s and has raced previously at Hawkeye Downs and ridden it in RAGBRAI.  The frame tubing is mostly stainless steel; the fairing is made of corrugated plastic, plus tape.  The rear wheel is 650c; front is 20-inch.

In addition to this low racer, Aaron also has built other recumbents, upright bikes for racing time trials, propellors for human-powered boats and fiberglass boats.

Bruce Gordon (above) of Buchanan, on his TerraTrike Zoomer, and Tedd Wheeler of Reed City, on his Rick Gritters-built low racer were the only Michiganians competing at Hawkeye Downs.

Entrants line up for the start of the 1-hour race for unfaired vehicles, on Saturday afternoon.  Event organizer Dennis Grelk of Donnellson, Iowa, on a bike he built, is on the front row, second from left.  He won, riding 58 laps at an average speed of 27.061 mph.

Lining up Saturday for the start of the 25-lap race on the half-mile oval for faired vehicles. Dennis Grelk, second from left in his Warren Beauchamp-built Barracuda, did the 12.5 miles in a time of 20:09.311, at an average speed of 34.979 mph.

What do HPVers do when they're not racing?  Stand around or sit and talk about HPVs, of course.  The bike is one of Rick Gritters' low racers.

David Sommerfeld's low racer

During our conversation at Hawkeye Downs, David mentioned that among the other bikes he has built is a low racer.  At my request, he sent me photos and a description.

The lowracer is a fairly conventional design.The main chassis is carbon fiber tape wrapped around a pink insulation foam core. It rides on a 700c rear, and 20" front wheel. The rear wheel is driven by 13 feet of chain, which runs over four idlers (two on the drive side and two on the return side), with a 60 tooth chainring providing the gearing.
I would have raced it at Hawkeye Downs, but the lowracer has a front brake only, rather than the two brakes required by HPRA rules. The front end is still a bit flexible, too. (I suspect the YellowJacket with wheel covers would have been faster, anyway.)

Note:  The Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Association was formed in July 1984 and officially came to an end Sept. 30, 2016, due to a lack of active members willing to run the organization. However, for the foreseeable future, the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally will continue (the 2018 rally will be the 34th annual), as will this blog, website ( and Facebook page (
Articles for this blog are always welcome and needed.  E-mail me at             Mike Eliasohn, editor