Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Northbrook, Ill., HPV races - July 10, 2010
Brian Stevens of Grand Rapids, shown here on his Lightning M5, was one of three Michiganians competing in the HPV velodrome races July 10 in Northbrook, Ill., and July 11 in Kenosha, Wis. The others were Tedd Wheeler of Reed City and MHPVA President Mike Mowett of St. Clair Shores. (For results and lots of photos and videos, go to www.recumbents.com/wisil/racing2010.)
Brian started riding recumbents four years ago, beginning with a short wheelbase Vision, found about the HPR-A race series on online recumbent forums and competed for the first time in North Manchester, Ind., in August 2009, on his Easy Racers Gold Rush. He then participated in the HPV races in Florida in February and the Michigan HPV Rally in June.
"I saw how competitive the stock class was," he said, so he decided to buy the used M5 for racing, which he first raced in Florida.
Brian still uses his Gold Rush for commuting 18 miles to his job as a lab technician at Amway in Ada. He leaves home at 6 a.m. in order to be at work by 7:30. He commutes on his Gold Rush year-from early spring to late fall.
In the stock class at Northbrook, Brian was fifth in the 200 meter flying start at 32.97 mph and in the 50-lap race, he finished 11th, completing 42 laps at an average speed of 23.82 mph.
"I'm definitely having a lot of fun," he said about his HPV racing.
Steve Jacobson of Evanston, Ill., said he's hoping to turn making folding recumbent bicycles from a hobby into a business. Since building his first one in 1980, he has sold eight. "I'd like to be selling eight a month."
There's a hinge in front of the head tube, so the forward part of the frame folds back after the seat is removed. The rear triangle folds under after the pin is removed that connects it to the rear shock. With the wheels removed, the folded bike can be put inside a large suitcase.
The frame is made of stainless steel because Steve commutes to work at Northwestern University year-round, so doesn't want to worry about it rusting. (His job is teaching freshmen engineering students on how to build prototypes of whatever they design.) The high seating position is partly due to the suspension and partly so the rider easily can be seen in traffic.
Steve made the molds for 11 frame parts, including the hinge, dropouts and head tube, which are manufactured using a process called investment casting.
The wheels are 20-inch (406mm). The bike weighs about 31 pounds, but by re-doing the molds to result in lighter castings, "I think I can take four to five pounds out of it," he said.
Jacobson sold his last bike for $2,500, but a higher price is likely in the future because of the extensive amount of labor involved. For more information, go to his website, www.jacorecumbents.com.
Todd Beary of Naperville, Ill., starting building recumbents in 1987-88, when he was in high school. He built his latest, which he raced at Northbrook, when living in California. He built it on his apartment patio using a MAPP gas torch to do the brazing.
The frame is made of new chromoly tubing and some tubing from old bicycle frames, with a front fork supporting the undriven rear wheel.
The wheels are large-size 20-inch (451mm). A triple crank runs to four sprockets at the top of the front wheel for a total of 12 speeds The gearing will allow a potential 70 mph. Todd didn't know the weight or wheelbase. The wood bulkhead eventually will support a fairing.
Todd said he built the bike "to go as fast as I can." In the stock class at Northbrook, he finished 10th in the 200 meter flying start at 26.31 mph and in the 50-lap race, he finished 12th, completing 39 laps at an average speed of 22.28 mph. "Today is the fastest I have ever ridden it," he said.
MIKE MOWETT on his Cervelo (the upright bike) finished second in the superstreet class in the 100-lap at Northbrook, completing 71 laps at an average speed of 25.19 mph. (The race ends when the fastest vehicle, regardless of class, completes 100 laps.) In the flying start 200 meters, he finished first in class at 34.74 mph. The superstreet class allows added streamlining, but with some restrictions, such as the rider's head must be exposed.
Text and photos by Mike Eliasohn