Sunday, June 4, 2017

Grove City College HPV team to be at Michigan rally

     The Grove City College HPV racing team will be participating in this year's Michigan HPV Rally, June 24-25, for the first time. 
      The University of Toronto, which has competed at the Michigan rally every year since 2010, will be back, so at least two college teams will be participating.     
    Grove City College (, founded in 1876, is a Christian liberal arts college in Grove City in northwestern Pennsylvania.  The Department of Mechanical Engineering is part of its Hopeman School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics.   
      According to Dr. Mark Archibald, faculty adviser to the team, likely eight students will be coming to the rally. He said in an e-mail that the team usually builds a vehicle each year. However, this year was an exception, so they will be bringing some of their older bikes.

This is the Grove City College team at the 2015 American Society of Mechanical Engineers HPV competition in San Jose Calif. "Shark Bike" used a conventional rotary crank, driving the rear wheel.  The partial fairing was made from Ceconite aircraft covering fabric.  It  wasn't economical to ship SharkBike back to Grove City from California, so the frame was left with a team member’s mom, who lives in Washington state.  So "Shark Bike" won't be at the Michigan rally.

In addition to student team, members Prof. Archibald and his wife, Sally, expect to compete on this tandem he built.  He and son Max and the bike are shown during a tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2010.

     Earlier this year, the ASME presented its Prof. Archibald with its Dedicated Service Award.  From the GCC website:
     The award comes in recognition of Archibald’s volunteer efforts on behalf of the society, particularly his work in the field of human-powered vehicles, which is marked by “outstanding performance, demonstrated effective leadership, prolonged and committed service, devotion, enthusiasm, and faithfulness,” the society said.
    The award was formally presented to Archibald by Dr. Michelle Claus ’83, chair of the GCC Department of Mechanical Engineering. She called it an honor and hailed Archibald’s dedication to his discipline and his students. Archibald has advised many students as they worked on human-powered land and water vehicles and worked for many years with ASME’s Human-Powered Vehicle Challenge.
      “He has served as a student advisor, a competition host, a competition judge, a global chief judge, the chair of the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge Committee and as an expert in the field of human powered vehicles. The award is presented on behalf of the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) Committee members and ASME in appreciation for his contributions to the HPVC community and students,” Clauss said.
     Archibald has been a member of the GCC faculty since 1996. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

33rd annual Michigan HPV Rally - June 24-25, 2017

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. 

Schedule of events (subject to change):

Registration and tech inspection starts 8 am
1-hour time trial (faired classes) - 9:30 am
1-hour time trial (unfaired classes) - 11 am
Lunch and 1/4 mile hot laps (new event: ride as many laps as you want; your fastest lap counts), noon - 1:30 pm
Hill climb/coast down - 1:30-2:30 pm
Tricycle relay race, rally races (fun events, no points awarded) - 3 pm
Urban transportation contest - in afternoon.
6 p.m. (approximate) – eat at local restaurants.

200-foot sprints, flying start - 8:30-9:30 am
Tricycle race - 9:30 am
Road race (faster bikes, 50 laps, 12 miles) –10 am
Road race (fast bikes 50 laps, 12 miles) –11 am

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

Entry fees: $20 for one day, $35 for two days. For multi-rider college or high school or other teams, $20/$35 for first vehicle/rider; $10 for each additional vehicle/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 "camping andrecreation," then "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.
Ortonville Recreation Area, 5779 Hadley Road, Ortonville, 810-797-4439. Four miles northeast of Ortonville.
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.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A cycle trip to England


In 2011 I visited England, my second trip there.  My first visit was in 1980.
After my return, I wrote an article for this blog about cycle speedway (Aug. 7, 2011) and a brief story about joining the British Human Power Club (Feb/ 5, 2012), but until now, I didn't write about the rest of my trip.  (Two updates:  The one cycle speedway track in the U.S. as of when I wrote that article, in Edenton, N.C., apparently is no more. There no longer is a website.  BHPC dues remain £20, which includes its quarterly magazine, LaidBackCyclist, but now there's also an electronic membership for £6, which, I think, includes online access to the magazine.
   This story is headlined "A cycle trip," rather than a "A cycling trip," because although I saw LOTS of cycles there, I didn't ride them, for reasons I will explain.  
I flew from O'Hare International Airport near Chicago to Manchester (direct flight), arriving on Saturday, April 30.  I then took a train to  Newark on Trent, to visit long-time friends Martin and Alison Purser, who live in nearby Grassthorpe.
The Pursers, whom I visited in 1980, were active then and still are in the Tricycle Association (, which has about 500 (mostly British) members, most of whom ride lightweight upright tricycles with the two wheels in the rear.

Martin Purser has a large collection of tricycles and here I am on one of them. Unfortunately, I am very un-used to dropped handlebars, which for me require a very awkward position to reach the brake levers.  Plus the Pursers' driveway is unpaved, with quite a slope, so I was pedaling (sort-of) at an angle while trying to reach the brake levers.  So I staggered to reach the end of the driveway and back, which was the extent of my pedaling in England.  But I did a lot of walking.

On Sunday, Martin took me to see Eric Coles and his very large collection of cycles, in Dragonby, near Scunthorpe.  Eric owns/owned more than 110 bicycles and 12 tricycles.

Eric Coles bought this vintage recumbent in 1979.  It was built around 1933 by Charlie Thompson, who owned an auto repair shop in Scunthorpe.  It originally had 14-inch wheels and one speed.  In addition to restoring the bike, Eric converted it to 20-inch wheels (451mm) and three speeds.


This Peter Ross-manufactured bike which Eric owns dates to 1990.  He (Eric) made some modifications, including strengthening the frame where it was flexing, and had ridden it as much as 120 miles in a day.  He also owns/owned three other Ross-built cycles.  Peter Ross died in 2013; the company he started morphed into what is now ICE. (Inspired Cycle Engineering).

This bike – owned by Eric – was built by Guy Tigwell around 2006, who then raced it.  The frame comes apart in two pieces.  It's front-wheel-drive. Both wheels are 16-inch (I think).

There are two makers in the U.K. of quality upright tricycles with the two wheels in the rear (Trykit/Geoff Booker and Longstaff and one who builds them with the two wheels in front (Roman Road Cycles/Austin Shackles).  Eric Coles owns this one. For links to all three builders, go to the TA website.

Monday, May 2, was a bank holiday (Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday), which meant most people had the day off. And for TA members in the North Eastern Region, there was the 25th Mike Dixie Memorial 10-mile time trial near Newport.  Martin Purser was the organizer, so with Alison and two tricycles in or on their station wagon (one of them a tandem), off we went. (Alison competed on the tricycle with another rider.)

The course was along the edge of a four-lane divided limited access highway(!) Go 5 miles, then up the exit ramp to the turnaround, cross over to the other two lanes, down the entry ramp and then return.  BUT, the parking/gathering/registration area was at a town hall 5 miles from the start, so competitors actually had to pedal 20 miles.

With only one big turn, the turnaround, competitors in the Mike Dixie Memorial, didn't have to do much leaning.  But when making sharp turns, tricyclists trying to maintain their speed have to lean A LOT to stay upright.  (There are some TA members who ride recumbent tricycles, but this event was limited only to upright trikes.) Look close and you will see two rim brakes on the front wheel.  For reasons of simplicity and lightness, such British trikes traditionally have two rim brakes on the front wheel, but NO brakes on the rear wheels.

This is the axle of a traditional British trike – one-wheel-drive driving the left wheel.  The axle housing is part of the frame; it doesn't detach.  To transport them in a small car, all three wheels are removed.

Both Longstaff and Geoff Booker now make trikes with two-wheel-drive, such as this one.  Instead of a differential, their axles incorporate two freewheels.  When going in a straight line, both wheels are driving.  But going around a corner, the outer wheel is driving while the inner wheel is freewheeling.

One of the Mike Dixie 10 competitors brought this beautiful Reg Harris bike to show.  The rear hub is a rare Sturmey-Archer 3-speed fixed gear (no freewheel).  My notes say "1964," but I don't know if that's the year the bike or the hub was made, or both.  (Old S-A hubs have the year of manufacturing on them.)  Harris (1920-92) won the world sprint  (velodrome) championship four times. His bicycle manufacturing business lasted only three years.

Next on my list was to visit Brooklands, west of London, which when it opened in 1907 was the first purpose-built auto racing track in the world.  Before then, racing was done on roads and horse racing tracks.
But after leaving the Pursers, I would have an extra day or two to kill, so in planning my trip, I e-mailed British Human Power Club Chairman Richard Ballantine, who lived in London:  "Can I come visit?"  (
Ballantine was the author of several books about bicycles, including Richard's Bicycle Book, of which there were several editions (the first in 1972), which in total sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, and (with co-writer Richard Grant), Richards' Ultimate Bicycle Book (1992).
He also started two British cycling magazines and imported the first 20 mountain bikes into the U.K.
He not only was nice enough to agree to meet, he and his wife, Sherry (both Americans), invited me to dinner, at their home so I got to see his personal cycle collection – many of them built by Mike Burrows. That was on Tuesday evening.  (My bed and breakfast was within walking distance of their home.)
Then on Wednesday, Richard and I rode a bus to Bikefix, a shop in central London that sells many interesting bikes, including recumbents and folders.  There, we met Mike Burrows, who took the train from Norfolk just to meet  us.

Mike Burrows (left) and Richard Ballantine outside Bikefix in central London.  Mike took his 2D bicycle on the train from Norfolk, then rode it to the shop.  The 2D is made of carbon fiber and aluminum and has one speed, a fully-enclosed chain and dual hub brakes.  It weighs 22 pounds. Notice the single blade front fork, typical of many Burrows designs. 

A promotional flier for Burrows' newest book (co-written with Tony Hadland), From Bicycle to Superbike, describes him as "Britain's most innovative, most successful and most opinionated cycle designer."
We spent time talking to Bikefix owner Stuart Dennison, then enjoyed lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant. (There were bikes at Bikefix I would have liked to test ride, of course, but since I obviously wasn't going to buy anything, I didn't think it was polite to ask, so I didn't.)
Sadly, Richard Ballantine died of cancer in May 2013 at age 72.  Mike Burrows is now 73 or 74 and still designing and building bikes and racing his creations in BHPC events.

Spotted in London:  The Itera was a injection molded plastic bicycle manufactured in Sweden from 1983-85. About 30,000 were produced.

Then on Thursday, it was off (by train) to Brooklands, southwest of London. The last auto races were held there in 1939.  In addition to auto racing, Brooklands was the hub of early aviation in England – the first flight from there was in 1909 – and the site of airplane manufacturing from 1908-87.

The main circuit at Brooklands was an approximate oval shape about 2.75 miles around. The lap record of 143.44 mph was set in 1935.  The track was never rebuilt for racing after World War II, but this section was restored as part of the creation of the Brooklands Museum.  (

The buildings, track, etc., devoted to auto racing deteriorated, until a trust was created to restore the buildings and part of the track.  The Brooklands Museum opened in 1991.
In addition to old race cars and airplanes on display, bicycle racing took place there from 1907 into the 1980s, so there's also bicycles on display.

Alberto Santos-Dumont, from Brazil, was a pioneer in early aviation, flying dirigibles (steerable, powered airships) and then airplanes in Europe.  This is a 1999 recreation of Demoiselle, built by Santo-Dumont in 1909 of wood and bamboo.  Wingspan was under 17 feet. Various engines were used, including a 20 hp two-cylinder.   Look close and you can see where he sat, the seat spanning the two lower fuselage tubes, behind the wheels. 

At Brooklands:  The three-wheel Sinclair C5 was an effort by Clive Sinclair to bring efficient transportation to the masses.  Propulsion was by pedal power and an electric motor. He had visions of selling 100,000 C5, but only 12,000-14,000 were made in 1985 before the company went bust. And of those produced, according to Wikipedia, only about 5,000 were sold.

At Brooklands:  A record you didn't know existed.  Bruce Bursford pedaled this bicycle to a world record speed of 207.9 mph ON ROLLERS in 1988,  breaking the old record of 153 mph.  The obvious question:  Since the only part of Bursford that was moving was his legs, aerodynamics was not a factor, so why did he need such a bike.  Couldn't he have gone as fast on an old Raleigh fitted with a BIG chainring and aerodynamic wheels?

There will always be an England.  The Stockport Grammar School was near the bed-and-breakfast where I stayed in Stockport. Notice the founding date. I attended a cycle speedway race in Stockport on my final full day in England. and returned home on Sunday, May 8.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Recumbent Cycle-Con –Oct. 7-9, 2016

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 2017 rally will be the 33rd annual), as will this blog, website ( and Facebook page (
Articles for this blog are always welcome and needed.  E-mail me at

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

Recumbent Cycle-Con, conducted by Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine, took place Oct. 7-9 at the Sharonville Convention Center, just north of Cincinnati.
With thoughts of finding a recumbent tricycle more suitable than my last one for getting it in and out of my apartment (which requires carrying it up and down stairs and through doorways), I set off on Friday, Oct. 7, to drive the 282 miles from St. Joseph.  I had a reservation for that night at the LivINN next to the Convention Center, with the goal of being at the show when it opened at 9 Saturday morning.
This was the fifth annual RC-C and the second at the Sharonville center. With most of the major recumbent manufacturers there, plus makers of many accessories, ranging from tires to car carrier racks, it's the ideal place for recumbent shopping (admission was $20), as well as talking to fellow enthusiasts and the manufacturers.  
For instance, there was Greenspeed founder Ian Sims, all the way from Australia; Lightning founder Tim Brummer; and Randy Schlitter, co-founder of Rans Bikes, though he no longer is the owner.
Conspicuous by its absence was Grand Rapids-based TerraTrike.
There's a test riding area outside the center, but it's uphill to the turn-around, then downhill (of course) back to the building. The only level area is just outside the overhead door into/out of the building.

In addition to its full line of recumbent bikes and trikes, SunSeeker/J&B Importers brought this experimental leaning trike to test rider interest and whether it should be put in production.  Most bicycle dealers can order recumbents from SunSeeker.  (Parent company J&B, based in Miami, Fla., distributes bicycle parts to shops nationwide.  It also sells upright Sun bicycles and tricycles.)

Before I entered the show, I knew that if I wanted to check out all the bikes/trikes I was interested in, I couldn't spend too much time talking.  Unfortunately, I ignored my own advice, so by the time I left at 2 p.m. (in order to drive home that day), there were too many cycles I had failed to check out, much less test ride.  I'm still kicking myself (figuratively speaking).

Rudy Van Es of Jouta ( came from the Netherlands to introduce its Blue Line modular system of recumbents, which he designed.  Available are the four-wheeler seen here, tricycles with the two wheels in front or rear, a tandem with the two wheels in front and a tandem with four wheels or the two wheels in front.  Prices range from $849 for a two-wheels-in-front solo trike to $1,699 for a folding tandem.  The modular part:  For instance, buy a two-wheels-in-front tricycle plus a kit to convert it into a 3- or 4-wheel tandem.  

Rudy Van Es (standing) shows the delta version of the Blue Line trike to a potential customer. In the U.S., the Jouta Blue Line is being distributed by Trident Trikes of Lincolnton, N.C., which also has its own line of trikes and a two-wheel recumbent (  In turn, Jouta is Trident's European distributor.

Upon entering, what was immediately noticeable was that most of the attendees were “old people” like me (age 71) and most were test riding tricycles.  That reflects what those who follow the recumbent business are saying, that the strong part of the market is tricycles, plus high end (that is, expensive) two wheelers purchased by serious cyclists.
If there were young adults at RC-C checking out recumbents because they’re cool, there weren’t many.

A.D. Carson operates Recycled Recumbent, building 30-50 recumbents a year in his garage in Milwaukee.  He makes the frames from parts of old lugged upright bike frames, plus new tubing.  Frames for his Mach 2 models, such as the one shown here, typically cost around $300; a frame plus seat and related parts, $450; and complete bikes for $800.  There's also a Mach 3 with dual 26-inch wheels; a complete bike is about $1,000.  Plans for building your own can be downloaded for free.  (

I didn't do a very good job of photographing many of the interesting cycles that were there.  So, if you want to see what I missed, check out and for an almost two-hour video report,
The 2017 Recumbent Cycle-Con will be Oct. 6-8 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, PA 19456. (Note:  This is a change: Originally the 2017 event was again going to be at the Sharonville Convention Center.)  If the same format is followed next year, Friday, Oct. 6, will be open only to those in the trade (manufacturers, bicycle shop owners, etc.), while Saturday and Sunday will be open to the public.  (

There's been a lot of interest in the recumbent world in the front-wheel-drive direct-drive KerVelo, which has 12 speeds in the front hub and no chain.  Project leader Marc Leborgne (right), came from Norway with prototype No. 4, a steel-frame leaning trike.  There's also a two-wheel version. (Notice the single-blade fork.) He's talking to former Rans Bikes owner Randy Schlitter. Marc said the next version will have an aluminum frame, weight about 35 pounds for the 3-wheeler (obviously less for the 2-wheeler) and 18 speeds (if my memory is correct). He said he hopes production will start by Christmas. Leborgne was seeking an American distributor.  Lots more information and videos at

Jeremy Garnet of Montreal, Quebec, built a front-wheel-drive direct-drive recumbent in 2003, using a Schlumf Speed-Drive bottom bracket gear modified to become the front hub drive, but with only one speed.  He's been developing the concept since and at RC-C he was promoting his patented Velotegra 4-speed hub, which as shown here can be a direct-drive hub (no chain) for a FWD recumbent, or can fitted with a sprocket for conventional rear-wheel chain drive. 
The four gear ratios of the prototype hub are: First: 1:1; second: 1:1.89; third, 1:2.57; and fourth, or 27, 51, 69, and 88 gear inches with a 700C wheel. For direct-drive, the hub could be designed for other ratios. For FWD, the hub can be mounted on a single- or two-blade fork. Garnet is looking for a manufacturer. (

The HPV racing world was represented by Rich Myers (left) with his MinMoby built many years ago by Terry Hreno and Thom Ollinger, with the streamliner he built for Sean Costin to race at the World HP Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nev. Rich and Thom live in Ohio.

Thom also brought this recumbent tandem that he built about 10 years ago and later bought it back from the couple he built it for.

Ryan Olthouse, Wheel Department manager at Velocity in Grand Rapids, was one of two representatives of the bicycle wheel manufacturer at RC-C.  Velocity has been manufacturing its rims (from straight aluminum extrusions) in Jacksonville, Fla, and then shipping them to Grand Rapids, while wheel building for all types of bicycles, including for some recumbent manufacturers, takes place.  Ryan said rim manufacturing is being moved to Grand Rapids, so all operations will be under one roof. On the wall behind him is a photo of Eta (and the AeroVelo team), which Todd Reichert pedaled to a record 89.59 mph in September at Battle Mountain.  Velocity made the rims for Eta.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Michigan Recumbent Rally - West – Sept. 10, 2016

By Mike Eliasohn

Turnout at the annual Michigan Recumbent Rally - West in Kalamazoo on Saturday, Sept. 10, was disappointing.
Most of the people who came didn't bring recumbents to show and ride, rather they came hoping to ride a laid-back bike or trike, but choices were few.
The only three-wheelers there (both for sale) were a TerraTrike Rambler and a folding TerraTrike Traveler, brought by Gabe Lagina of Pedal Bicycles in Portage and downtown Kalamazoo.  
Rally organizer Paul Pancella brought three two-wheelers. There were, if my memory is correct, five other two-wheelers there, but four of those were there for only part of the day.
Rain may have kept people away, however, notices of the rally on the Wolverbents and site and seven area Craigslists all stated that in case of rain, the event would take place inside the parking structure next to the Western Michigan University College of Engineering building on the Parkview Campus. That's where we were and we were dry.
Normally the rally uses the College of Engineering parking lot.

Dave Wright (above) of Battle Creek brought the only non-manufactured bikes, two homebuilts.  He didn't build either one, having bought them from the builders, but did make some fixes, though more work is needed.
The long wheelbase (approximately 71 in.) was built from plans and is quite similar to an Easy Racer or similar design.  The frame of the short wheelbase (approximately 41 in.) looks like it might have been manufactured – the welding is neat and rear dropouts are thick –  but the rest looks homemade.
Both are for sale.  Dave is asking $350 for the LWB and $250 for the SWB.  You can e-mail him at

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Owosso Bike Fest - Aug. 14, 2016

The 12th annual Owosso Bike Fest, conducted by the House of Wheels bicycle shop took place Sunday, Aug. 14, preceded by two days of preliminary activities.  The emphasis is on antique, cruiser, custom and homebuilt bikes.

Here's Terry Gerweck's report and photos.

It’s a fun weekend that starts with a well attended (50 + riders) pub crawl ride on Friday night with the Peddlers. Saturday afternoon after The House Of Wheels closes, there is a  20-mile round trip ride to Ovid for dinner. Sunday is the Bikefest show / swap meet, which culminates with another bike ride.  

The first three photos are my newest bike (and a souvenir I picked up while riding).

This is what Terry's latest project looked like a week before the Owosso Bike Fest. This was originally a "girls" bike.  Terry cut out the upper horizontal frame tube, flipped it over so it became more convex, rather than concave, and welded it into place as the top tube, thus making it into a "boys" bike.  Notice the forks. The stem riser was intended for motorcycles.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

The next two are poor shots of the neatest freak bike there 
(and vaguely reminiscent of Joel Wiggins' style) 

The next three are the rear of a six-wheeled velo-car/something with a REAL TRAIN AIRHORN mounted (for the horniest bike trophy). It was very LOUD! Note the air tank in the cargo box.

Next was, arguably, the most ridden bike of the weekend. It’s a commercial trike / unicycle with training wheels kinda thing that one of the guys dug out of a dumpster. Was a hoot to ride. 

The last shot is the new bicycle museum in the Corunna historical village / park, a small but honorable start that features bicycle history from the area.

In searching the Internet for more Owosso Bike Fest info, blog editor Mike Eliasohn found this photo from the Owosso Argus-Press, dated Aug. 9, 2015:

TERRY “GIZMO” GERWECK of Monroe shows off a custom bicycle design inspired by the famous penny-farthing model popularized in the late 1800s at Owosso Bike Fest Sunday.  (Tim Rath photo)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

32nd annual Michigan HPV Rally - June 18-19, 2016

Cyrus Furbush, 19, of Tecumseh, said he discovered recumbents online, bought his M5 M-Racer last October, didn't ride it from January through March, "then I got back into it."  At Waterford Hills, he was "into it' in a big way, winning the stock class over 20 other competitors.  He placed 2nd in the one-hour time trial, 2nd in the hill climb, 7th in the coast-down, won the standing start kilometer and was 4th in the Sunday morning road race.

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

     The 32nd annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally – the 29th at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkston – was a success in terms of turnout, some new competitors and the competition.
    There were about 37 competitors and 41 vehicles (some people competed on/in more than one vehicle), coming from Michigan (of course), Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Ontario.  
     As usual, the two biggest "chunks" of competitors were from the University of Toronto – eight people, three streamliners and three manufactured bikes – and Team Kowalik from Deerfield, Ill.  – father Fran and kids Adrian, 7, Anna, 9, Genna, 11, Ceci, 13, Mathias, 15, and Florian, 17. Each had their own bike.

Making a return to the rally after last competing in 2012 was Rick Gritters of Pella, Iowa, in his homebuilt streamliner.  He won the streetliner class over three other competitors.  The fairing is aircraft fabric over a tubular framework.  (What's the difference between a streamliner and a streetliner? Go to, then under "Recumbent racing," click on "Human Powered Race America.)

      The rally couldn't happen without a lot of helpers, some of who also were competitors.  Here's what rally organizer Mike Mowett wrote (with some editing):  Bill Frey decided to be up north this year instead of planning his time downstate around Waterford. His handwritten sheets about how to set up the hill climb, kilo and sprints were invaluable. 
     Terry Gerweck's help in timing all of those same three events was invaluable as well. Wally Koehler assisted him too. That's what I like how everyone just shows up and does invaluable jobs.
     Bruce Gordon helped with the results from afar (from his home in Buchanan). Warren Beauchamp with the timing system. Brenda Gritters assisted him. 
     Donna Wheeler and Mary Grelk and Tedd Wheeler  decided the cash distribution for the prizes. Donna did the registration and Tedd did the tech inspection.
     About $645 in prize money was distributed, which is about double the prize fund of past years, as part of the effort to get the Michigan HPV Association's treasury down to zero, so the MHPVA can cease to exist.  The Michigan HPV Rally will continue, however, as long as there are people willing to organize and run the event.
     And thank you Mike Mowett for organizing/running the rally.

Ishtey Amminger, 13, of Memphis, Tenn., won the junior class over five Kowaliks – Mathias, Genevieve, Cecilia, Anastasia and Adrian.  Ishtey was riding a Rotator Tiger.

      Following are the top three competitors in each class.  Complete results can be seen at If that doesn't work, go to, then click on "forums," then "HPV racing," then "Waterford 2016 race results"
      Streamliner (9 entrants, 6 vehicles) – 1) Dan Zolyniak, Toronto, Ont., homebuilt Mistral streamliner, 360 points; 2) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa, Barracuda streamliner, 325; 3) John Simon, Portland, Moby streamliner, 295.
     Streetliner (4 entrants) – 1) Rick Gritters, Pella, Iowa, homebuilt, 345; 2) Isaac Chung, University of Toronto, upright triathlon road bike, 320; 3) Michael Hinterseher, Farmington Hills, Milan SL velomobile, 170 (only competed Saturday). 
     Stock (21 entrants, 17 vehicles) – 1) Cyrus Forbush, Tecumseh, M5 M-Racer, 311; 2) Mike Mowett, Detroit, Morciglio M1 low racer, 291; 3) Dennis Greek, Donnellson, Iowa, homebuilt low racer, 289.
     Women (2)  – 1) Amanda Zolyniak, Toronto, Ont., homebuilt Raptor low racer, 360; 2) Andrea Hanger, Greenwood, Ind., Cruzbike Vendetta, 330. 
      Tricycle (3) – 1) Daryl Hanger, Greenwood, Ind., Catrike, 360; 2) Warren Beauchamp, Elgin, Ill., ICE Vortex, 215; 3) Garrie Hill, Granville, Ohio, Greenspeed SLR (custom built by Greenspeed), 160.
      Junior (6) – 1) Ishtey Amminger, Memphis, Tenn., Rotator Tiger, 335; 2) Mathias Kowalik, Deerfield, Ill., M5 Low Racer, 332; 3) Genevieve Kowalik, Deerfield, Ill., Rick Gritters-built low racer, 310.

Amanda Zolyniak is held by her husband, Dan, before the start of the hillclimb. The Zolyniaks, from Toronto, built Amanda's carbon fiber Raptor low racer and the Mistral streamliner Dan races.  Amanda won the women's class.

Following are the top two from each event:

One-hour time trial: Streamliner – 1) Dan Zolyniak, 21 laps, average speed, 29.457 mph; 2) Dennis Grelk, 21 laps, 29.440 mph.  Streetliner – 1) Rick Gritters, 20 laps, 26.912 mph; 2) Michael Hinterseher, 17 laps, 22.778 mph.  Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 17 laps, 24.017 mph; 2) Cyrus Furbush, 17 laps, 23.971 mph.  Women – 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 15 laps, 20.442 mph; 2) Andrea Hanger, 12 laps, 16.204 mph.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 14 laps, 19.127 mph; 2) Garrie Hill, 8 laps, 12.103 mph.  Junior – 1) Ishtey Amminger, 13 laps, 17.067 mph; 2) Genevieve Kowalik, 12 laps, 16.298 mph.  
Hill climb:  Streamliner – 1) D. Zolyniak, 2) D. Greek.  Streetliner – Isaac Chung, Univ. of Toronto, upright triathlon racing bike; 2) M. Hinterseher.  Stock – 1) Florian Kowalik, Deerfield, Ill., M5 M-Racer; 2) C. Furbush.  Women – 1) A. Zolyniak, 2) A. Hanger.  Tricycle – 1) D. Hanger, 2) W. Beauchamp.  Junior – 1) I. Amminger, 2) G. Kowalik.
Coast down – Streamliner – 1) D. Zolyniak, 2) D. Grelk.  Streetliner – 1) M. Hinterseher, 2) R. Gritters. Stock – 1) D. Grelk, 2) W. Beauchamp, Elgin, Ill., homebuilt D7CLR front-wheel-drive quasi-low racer.  Women – 1) A. Zolyniak, 2) A. Hanger.  Tricycle – 1) D. Hanger, 2) G. Hill.  Junior – 1) Mathias Kowalik, 2) I. Amminger.

Here's Dan Zolyniak, winner of the streamliner class, in the Mistral streamliner built by him and his wife, Amanda.  Photo was taken at the start of the hill climb.  Behind hm is Michael Hinterseher in his Milan SL three-wheel velomobile.

Standing start kilometer (listed speed is the average over the entire kilometer from a standing start):  Streamliner  1) D. Zolyniak, 28.73 mph, 2) D. Grelk, 26.67.  Streamliner – 1) R. Gritters, 28.45, 2) Isaac Chung, 25.22.  Stock – 1) C. Furbush, 29.48, 2) Calvin Moes, Univ. of Toronto, Baron Optima, 27.51. Women – 1) A. Zolyniak, 22.58, 2) 18.82.  Tricycle – 1) D. Hanger (only competitor), 22.33.  Junior – 1) M. Kowalik, 23.24, 2) I. Amminger, 20.91.
Urban transportation contest – There were six competitors.  Each bike or trike was evaluated, with 1 point awarded for each feature, such as front light, rear light, cargo carrying capacity (being able to carry two grocery bags would score 2 points), rearview mirrors, fenders, horn, and carrying tools.  Points also were awarded for performance in the hill climb, coast down and obstacle course. For instance, the fastest in the hill climb received 6 points; second, 5; etc.  The obstacle course including making one stop and rounding a tight turn.  1) Daryl Hanger, Catrike 700, 21 points, 2) Wally Kiehler, Grosse Pointe Woods, Bachetta CA 2.0, 17; 3 - tie) Chris Williams, Toronto, HP Velotechnik Speed Machine, and Terry Gerweck, Monroe, homebuilt long wheelbase recumbent, 15; 5) Fran Kowalik, Deerfield, Ill., Earthcycle Sunset, 11; 6) Cecilia Kowalik, Deerfield, Earthcycle Sunset, 7.

Lining up for the start of the one-hour time trial Saturday morning for the streamliner and streetliner classes. Daryl Hanger, yet to arrive, also competed in this race on his no-streamlining-added Catrike 700 because he ran in the second one-hour on his Cruzbike Vendetta two-wheeler.

Lining up for the start of the second one-hour time trial Saturday morning for all the other classes – stock, women, tricycle (except for Daryl Hanger) and junior.  There were 23 vehicles in this event.

ON SUNDAY were the flying start sprints (speed timed through the 200-foot timing trap) and two 25-lap races on the .433 mile course that did not include the hill, that is, 10.825 miles.  The scheduled tricycle race was cancelled due to too few entrants and to save time.

Sprints:  Streamliner – 1) D. Zolyniak, 44.52 mph (not a record), 2) Calvin Moes, 43.07. Streetliner – 1) R. Gritters, 38.51 mph, 2) Tedd Wheeler, Reed City, Alleweder velomobile, 31.77.  Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 38.20 mph, 2) Florian Kowalik, Deerfield, Ill., 37.46.  Women – 1) A. Zolyniak, 32.15, 2) A. Hanger, 27.74.  Tricycle – 1) D. Hanger, 29.38 mph, 2) W. Beauchamp, ICE Vortex, 25.16.  Junior – 1) M. Kowalik, 31.29 mph. 2) G. Kowalik, 27.38.
First road race (for faster vehicles). Times listed in official results are kph, converted here to mph:  Overall – 1) D. Zolyniak, 23.36 mph, 2) R. Gritters, 23.18, 3) D. Grelk, Barracuda streamliner, 22.42 (24 lap).
Second road race, overall – 1) D. Grelk, homebuilt low racer, 21.369 mph, 2) Florian Kowalik, 21.367, 3) M. Mowett, 19.04 (23 laps).
Road race results by class:  Streamliner – 1) D. Zolyniak, 2) D. Grelk.  Streetliner – 1) R. Gritters, 2) I. Chung.  Stock – 1) C. Furbush, 2) Randy Barnes, Pierpont, Ohio, Schlitter Encore.  Women – 1) A. Zolyniak, 2) A. Hanger.  Tricycle – 1) D. Hanger, 2) W. Beauchamp.  Junior – 1) M. Kowalik, 2) I. Amminger.

Randy Barnes of Pierpont, Ohio, was one of two competitors Sunday riding carbon fiber Schlitter Encores. The other was Joe Solecki of Royal Oak.  (Both were elsewhere on Saturday.) Randy "won" the Schlitter class, finishing sixth in the sprints ( 35.31 mph) and second in the stock class in the road race.

NOTES:  Mike Mowett has two "nice" blue padded plastic folding chairs someone left behind.  If they're yours, e-mail me at and I'll pass the information onto Mike.
On Saturday, I talked briefly to a man from Maryland who was there with his wife to spectate.  He showed me a photo of a very interesting front-wheel-drive recumbent he built, with the cranks attached to the wheel hub and a hub gear above the wheel as a crossover drive.  Unfortunately, he disappeared before I could get his full name and contact information, with the goal of asking him to write an article about his creation.  If you're reading this, or know who it was, please contact me.        
                                                                                       Mike Eliasohn

7-year-old Adrian Kowalik was the youngest competitor at the rally, riding a vintage 6-speed Gitane.  Among his accomplishments was finishing the one-hour time trial, riding 10 laps of the 1.4 mile track.  His speed in the sprints, shown here, was 13.06 mph.

Brian Davis came from Etna, Pa. (near Pittsburgh) to race his not-yet-painted homebuilt high-racer.  He only raced on Saturday.  In the one-hour time trial, shown here, he finished fifth in the stock class, completing 15 laps (22.4 miles) at an average speed of 21.286 mph.

Michael Reynolds of Decatur, Ind., raced his classic lugged steel-frame Gitane.  He competed in and completed all the events, finishing 10th in the stock class.  (Gitane has been making bicycles in France since 1926.)

Sherry Shi is about to be "enclosed" in the University of Toronto Ace streamliner during the one-hour time trial Saturday morning.  She was one of three Univ. Toronto riders to take turns riding Ace during the one-hour.

After several years of "only" helping at the Michigan HPV Rally, Terry Gerweck of Monroe, the event's co-founder, chose to compete on his homebuilt recumbent, as well as helping. 
For added cargo carrying capacity, a trailer (also made by Terry) easily attaches.