Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big Mo trikes again

THE KRAIT, built by Dave "Big Mo" Moeller has front wheel drive, with power from pedals and the electric hub motor. (Photos by Dave Moeller)

Here's the latest from Dave Moeller of Linden. Several of his previous projects can be seen on this blog.
The Krait has front wheel drive, powered by pedals and an electric hub motor. The toolbox holds four gel acid batteries providing 48 volts.
The frame comes apart behind the steering post and is held in place by two front wheel skewers running through a sleeve joint. The only connection between the halves is the battery cable. This allows for easier transport but is intended to allow modifications without having to do a total rebuild Possible conversions could be into a two wheeler or with different front ends.

The dual disc rear brakes are activated by a lever alongside the right side of the seat.
The fenders were purchased at Tractor Supply Co., sold as replacements for their trailers, and the seat is a motorcycle mechanic stool bought at Harbor Freight Tools. The rear wheels are from Schwinn Stingrays.

Dave started building the trike after the Ann Arbor Classic Bicycle Show April 25 and finished it in time for its public debut at a bicycle show in Owosso in August, where he rode it 10 miles on a trail ride.
"I decided to do something more sedentary for the winter, so I bought a couple of airbrushes and all the stuff," Dave wrote in an e-mail. "I haven't touched an airbrush in 30 years plus. My first project was the toolbox and fenders for thr Krait."
He's also been painting on muslin, with the intent of doing some painted quilts. (Dave and his wife are quilters, she does the
piecing and he does the quilting.) An example of his air brushing is shown below.

DAVE'S ARTWORK is shown on the rear box, which holds four gel acid batteries.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Morticia, from Terry Gerweck's "dark side"

TERRY GERWECK and Morticia at the Oct. 30, 2010, Tombstone Derby in Elmore, Ohio. (All photos by Terry, except for this one, obviously.)

The finished Morticia. Notice the background.

By TERRY GERWECK - Monroe, Mich.

2010 has been a very active building year for me. I finished my city 'bent early in the year; a successful build in
that it meets all the goals I intended. (See "Terry Gerweck's new recumbent" article below from June 24, 2010)
After the Waterford HPV rally in June, where I was re-introduced to my "dark side" roots, I set out to build an idea that
had fermented in my brain for far too long. Beyond my need for human powered speed, there is always the desire for human powered fun and Morticia is the incarnation of my adolescent wish to own a hearse.
Morticia's beginnings were quite humble. An old adult trike, cut in half and stretched. Two Orange County Choppers bicycles for the rear rims, tires, fenders and a few miscellaneous parts. (The 16-inch rims were laced to the original trike hubs, with some help at Jack's Bicycles in Monroe.) Some muffler tubing and conduit, bits and pieces from a child hauling bike trailer, a futon, and what ever else was lurking in my garage that seemed to fit. Fire up the welder, grind judiciously, shake a couple cans of paint at it and you've got a bike. (The two curved tubes running to the head tube originally formed the canopy supports on the bike trailer; tubing from the futon furnished the "truck bed.")

I found a couple pictures of horse-drawn hearses and scaled them down to trike size. The hearse coach body was made from quarter-inch plywood and wood moldings. Added details like lanterns came from the garden department, trim pieces from auto and motorcycle sources, a purple funeral flag (from an undisclosed source,) the biggest ape hanger handlebars from the local bike shop and miscellaneous skulls and other semi-scary stuff from the dollar store.
I guess my favorite piece of fabrication is the brake disc. It would be an OK piece if I had used a lathe (I don't have one), but for making it in a vise and a drill press with a hack saw and a couple of files, I'm really proud of it. I'd be even prouder if it worked worth a damn.

The brake disc hub came from a piece of aluminum bar and a chunk of aluminum plate was used for the disc itself. The axle is a single full width bar. The drive wheel bolts to one end and the other wheel freewheels on a set of bearings. The whole axle slides out of the frame and the brake disc, drive cog (and eventually, maybe a pulley for an electric drive) slide on to it in the middle of the axle frame work.
But the caliper brakes with stock bicycle brake pads don't develop a great deal of braking power. The 3,500 mm (137.8 inches) brake cable probably doesn't help much either. The brake cable was a stock item, also from Jack's, and is the longest stock cable I've ever found.
Morticia's public debut came Oct. 30 at the Tombstone Derby in Elmore, Ohio, southeast of Toledo. The mayor of Elmore welcomed Morticia and me, thanked me for coming out and sort of suggested he wouldn't be opposed to a human powered addition to his festival, so there could be a freak bike event as part of next year's Tombstone Derby.
Elmore is on the west end of the North Coast Inland Trail System (at least a 69-mile chunk of it, which is prime for a ride. The Tombstone Derby includes casket races and a parade. There's plenty of room and semi-demented spectators, perfect for a
pseudo bike show all contained within a loosely organized festival.
Opportunity abounds to do it right.
Morticia isn't done yet, there are so many details that can be added. I guess she'll be finished when I move on to the next build.

Almost ready for painting. The two curved tubes running to the head tube originally formed the canopy supports on a bicycle trailer for transporting children.

One use for an old futon

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Michigan Recumbent Rally - West, Sept. 11, 2010

JOHN MATHIESON (standing at rear) of Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness brought a Sun EZ-1 and T3-AX trike and a Bacchetta Giro 20.

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

Rain during a cycle event usually means either cancellation or being miserable.
But rain all day during the Michigan Recumbent Rally - West Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Western Michigan University Parkview Campus wasn't a problem.
The usual location is the parking lot in front of the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences building. The building and parking lot are adjacent to a large parking garage, which is almost empty on a Saturday, so the lower level provided a nice, dry location for test rides and talking.
Unfortunately, the rain likely kept some people away who were unaware of the "indoor" location.
Among those attending were representatives of two west Michigan bicycle shops who brought several recumbents for people to test ride and hopefully buy.
John Mathieson of Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness brought a Sun EZ-1 compact long wheelbase, a Sun T3-AX two-wheels-in-front tricycle and a Bacchetta Giro 20 short wheelbase with 20-inch front wheel. Breakaway has stores in Portage, where John is based (269-324-5555), Muskegon and Grand Haven.

NATE SCHMOEKEL, of Village Bike & Fitness, a Rans dealer, shown here adjusting the seat on a Stratus XP for a test rider, also brought a Zenetik, V3 and F5.

Nate Schmoekel of Village Bike & Fitness, whose business card says "recumbent consultant," brought a Rans Zenetik crank forward, Stratus XP long wheelbase with 26-inch wheels and low bottom bracket, V3 long wheelbase with 26-inch wheels and high bottom bracket and an F5 short wheelbase with 26-inch wheels. Village Bike has stores in Jenison, where Nate is based ((616-457-1670;, Cascade, and two in Grand Rapids.
Other bikes at the rally (going by memory) were a Rans Wave, BikeE with rear suspension), Haluzak short wheelbase, Rans Rocket and an ICE tricycle.
Thanks to Paul Pancella of Kalamazoo for organizing the rally for the umteenth year, with assistance from Paul Bruneau of Portage.

DAVE MIDDLETON (left) of Kalamazoo and Joe McCormick of Troy discuss Joe's ICE trike, which has fold-under rear suspension. It's Joe's third trike and as of Sept. 11 he had ridden it about 8,700 miles in the four years he has owned it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Black Bear Bicycle Tour - July 25, 2010

DAVE JOHNSON of Olivet in "Great White" (the old paint scheme included shark teeth) finished first in the Avita Water Black Bear Bicycle Tour, finishing the 100 miles in a time of 3 hours, 42 minutes (26.9 mph). (Photos by Jane Rheaume)

At least 13 recumbent riders were among the 325 cyclists competing in the Avita Water Black Bear Bicycle Tour July 25, 2010, with laid-back racers finishing first and third overall.
The 100-mile ride runs from Grayling to Oscoda, in conjunction with the Weyerhaeuser Au Sable Canoe Marathon. The pedalers started 11 hours after the paddlers, with the goal of getting to Oscoda before the first canoe arrives, which didn't happen this year.
Dave Johnson, 53, of Olivet, in his Rick Wianecki-built Great White streamliner, finished first in a time of 3 hours, 42 minutes and 41 seconds, for an average speed of 26.9 mph. This was the fourth time Dave has ridden in the Black Bear and he's finished first all four times. The first time, which he recalls was in 2004, he arrived in Oscoda ahead of the canoes.
Second was Alex Vanais, 31, of LeRoy on an upright road bike in 3:54.11, an average of 25.6 mph. Third was Bill Hannon, 67, of Springfield, Ohio, in/on his Lightning F-40 recumbent with full fairing (solid nose and stretch fabric sides) at 3:56, an average of 25.4 mph.

BILL HANNON of Springfield, Ohio, in his Lightning F-40 (red bike) waits for the start of the Black Bear. He finished third overall in a time of 3 hours and 56 minutes (25.4 mph).

Of the 325 riders who started, 274 finished. Here's the results for the other recumbent riders who started at 8:18 a.m. and completed the 100 mile. (At least one recumbent rider started at a different time, according to Mike Mowett.)

57th overall) Doug Jacobs, 58, Springfield, Ohio, NoCom carbon fiber lowracer, 4:22:31, 22.9 mph.
58) Thom Ollinger, 50, West Milton, Ohio, homebuilt Nirvana lowracer, 4:22:33, 22.9 mph.
59) Mike Mowett, 36, St. Clair Shores, Challenge lowracer, 4:22:34, 22.9 mph.
64) George Davis, 61, Westfield, Ind., Bacchetta highracer, 4:28:29, 22.3 mph.
68) Larry Graham, 51, Westerville, Ohio, Bacchetta highracer, 4:30:14, 22.2 mph.
91) Don Smith, 56, Chesterfield, NoCom low racer, 4:40:04, 21.4 mph. r
100) Dan Zolyniak, 20, University of Toronto streamliner, 4:45:14 21.0 mph.
103) Wally Kiehler, 58, Grosse Pointe Woods, Lighting F-40 with full fairing, 4:48:45, 20.8 mph.
162) Robert Palmer, 65, Walled Lake, Volae highracer, 5:14:45, 19.1 mph.
Charlie Ollinger (son of Thom), 19, wasn't on a recumbent, but rode a FIXED GEAR 1970 Peugeot road bike to 87th place in a time of 4:37:57, 21.6 mph. That's 100 miles with one gear and without coasting!
In what's called the McKinley class, Chris Evans, 40, of Flint, rode his NoCom lowracer the 56 miles to McKinley, then John Foltz, 54, of Haslett, rode his M5 carbon fiber highracer the rest of the way, for a combined time of 3:59:09, an average speed of 25.1 mph.
Doug Davis, 60, town unavailable, started at a different time and finished 134th on his Bacchetta with fabric fairing in a time of 5:05:42, 19.6 mph.

THE RECUMBENT RACERS and a few others await their 8:18 a.m. start in Grayling. In the yellow Lightning F-40 is Wally Kiehler, who finished in 4 hours and 48 minutes (20.8 mph.)


Here's Dave Johnson's account of his ride (slightly edited by Mike Eliasohn):
While hearing my name called for the next wave of riders, I was busy cutting the bottom of the fairing to get more front wheel clearance. I had slid the front wheel back in the fork so handling was better when turning. As old as Great White is, the tires still seem to find a way to rub on the fairing at the worst possible time.
When the gun sounded, I was hardly ready to ride. Water hoses not clipped to the front of my shirt. ear plugs not in, food bag not in place, and shoe strapping not tight. I spent too much time talking to other riders instead of preparing for my ride. The first few miles were slow while I was getting situated, warming up, and just watching the rough road.
I did have my laminated map folded correct and clipped to the handlebar, determined to stay on course for the whole ride. Then at precisely 34 miles and Red Oak Road, I turned south, just what my map shows but not what the corner marshals is insisting, that I go straight. My map showed south on Red Oak! Should I follow the map or take the marshal's advice and go
straight? I think it over and finally coast to a stop, get out, turn the bike around, climb back in, and continue straight on Miller
Road. I now know that routes change frequently due to road conditions. I should have used to map from the ride packet, rather than the one I got from the website.
At this point, I had not caught the pace truck and was just slowly passing other bikes. Finally at the edge of McKinley, I was behind the pace truck but only for a few miles... as I struggled with Heartbreak Hill. The approach was a gradual incline as I pedaled slower and slower -- 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, finally 5 mph.
My lowest gear was getting jumpy, better not break anything, needed to dismount and walk the 66-pound rig up the hill. With the streamliner, I find that the aerodynamic advantage disappears below 20 mph. Normally when going up a hill, at that time you wish you had a lightweight upright bike.
So finally after walking to the top of Heartbreak, at the corner, I get in and try to start. Oops, not happening. I tip over, half in the ditch. Bad timing as several upright riders easily roll by, saying, "Augh, that's too bad". I say to myself, "Nice job," as I rolled in the sand and gravel with sweaty skin. After unclipping and crawling out, I manage to get Great White upright
and pointed in the correct direction. Several guys at the corner helped me get rolling and on my way.
I easily make my way to the pace truck and try to gain some distance on the uprights before "Block and Tackle Hill". The rolling hills were a blast, flying along now, hitting my top speed for the day at 53 mph.
I knew the large hill would soon be here, so I kept my speed up as much as possible. Finally a large downhill began and I cranked it up; it's the AuSable bridge! I remember hitting 44 mph, cranking hard wanting to roll to the top. Still had to gear down, but did not need a block and tackle to reach the top. Along River Road, just before Monument State Park, my speed was easily increasing to about 40 mph because of a gradual downhill. Due to the many trucks, cars, campers, and confusion I had to back off to avoid risking a collision. Now rolling at about 27 mph and 10 miles from the end, I remember to do a goo. As I'm calculate in my head that I'll be just a few minutes off my best time, the goo kicks in and I'm rolling at 30 mph. Darn, should have had the goo before the hills.
The finish arrived quickly and I slowed for the timing strips, so as to not hit the canopy with my helmet. Final time 3:42:41 first place overall.
Thanks to all the volunteers for putting on such a fun race/ride.

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
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,

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

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Terry Gerweck visits the dark side

Photos by Terry Gerweck

THIS BEAUTIFUL wood stretch cruiser uses a hood ornament from a 1950s Chevrolet BelAire as the centerpiece on the handlebars.

Terry Gerweck's interest, or renewed interest, in freak bikes started with Dave Moeller, builder of the Dragonwood and other interesting cycles, inviting Jim "Chainsaw" Johnson of Holly, president of the Great Lakes chapter of the FreakBike Militia, to this year's Michigan HPV Rally.
Jim came Saturday, had such a good time that he returned on Sunday with his wife, Dora "Giggles," and his latest creation, which Paul Pancella rode as the pace bike for one of the Sunday morning road races.
That got the wheels in Terry's head turning -- what he could do with some of the junk bikes in his garage -- so he visited two freak bike gatherings.
Here's Terry's reports:
Made a road trip June 26 to Ionia for the FreakBike Palooza. I've messed with choppers before, so it wasn't any stretch to be interested.
For one reason or another I never seem to get involved with people with "normal" interests. Wonder why that is?

It was hotter than hell and mostly folks just sat around and discussed the finer points of building choppers and other weird and different kinds of bicycles. Other than the typical configuration (if there is a typical configuration), these bikes aren't that far removed from what we run at Waterford. The "freak bikes" may attract a few more younger participants.
These folks are just as serious about their bikes as the HPVers, but the focus is fun, not speed. Pedaling efficiency and aerodynamics don't even register on their priority lists and here there was nothing wrong with a 75-pound bicycle!
All that said, my new 'bent would not have been out of place here. I rode the motorcycle today and didn't want to haul the trailer 300 miles or I would have brought the 'bent along.
And yeah, if he doesn't reclaim it, the Huffy a guy from work gave me is destined to be "converted" into "all it can be."

Mary (Terry's wife) and I celebrated Independence Day on Saturday, July 3, by attending the Fourth of July Freak Out in Fowlerville. Yeah, I know that's two freak bike events in two weeks. Just think of it as research.
In reality, this isn't my first venture into the realm of custom bikes, but it may well be my deepest trip yet. It seems I now have dual citizenship, MHPVA and the "Freak Bike Nation."

DOING THE FREAKBIKE LIMBO at the Fowlerville event. A rider on a low racer from HPV circles could win this event easily, but maybe that would be considered cheating.

The "Freak Out" was a bit more involved than the event in Ionia. Activities included a bike show with more than 45 bikes shown, including my new 'bent and my old chopper that I dug out of the back of the garage and cleaned off two years of accumulated dirt and crud. There was a potluck barbecue, a freak bike ride in the Fowlerville Fourth of July parade and fireworks at dusk.

Dora "Giggles" Johnson built this bike, including the welding. The side away from the camera is painted red, hence the name of her bike, "Split Personality."

Mike Eliasohn looking foolish sits on Jim "Chainsaw" Johnson's freakbike at the Michigan HPV Rally on June 13. Johnson, at right, cut up several bicycle frames, plus other stuff to build his creation . Paul Pancella, who took the photo, used this bike to pace one of the Sunday morning road races.

The bike show, while foreign to me, was run just like the local car shows I've seen. Bikes were displayed and judged, with the owners sitting around BS'ing with each other and spectators. I have little understanding of the judging or the different classes.
I found it interesting that my 'bent got little attention, but the chopper was deemed pretty cool. In a past post, we (Terry and Mike Eliasohn) talked about the use of gears and making these bike easier/more efficient to pedal. That does happen with some of the bikes. Derailleurs and internal-geared hubs are used by some, but aesthetics, simple clean chainlines, and artistic ideas and interpretation are more important on their bikes, which will seldom see everyday use (like the chopper I dug
out of the garage).
Along those lines, my next build/HPV will be more freak bike than efficient recumbent.
Oh yeah, my chopper won a best-in-class award. (No, I don't know what class and I'm not sure what they saw in it!!!)

The website for the FreakBike Militia - Great Lakes is

TERRY'S award winning chopper

OUCH! This bike was built for a bicycle build-off competition. The seatpost was made from an ax, a pitchfork became the seat, hedgeclippers became the handlebars and other "sharp pointy things" also were used in its construction.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

M. Jensen Didulo's tilting tricycle

M. JENSEN DIDULO on his tiling trike, Magic V2.0, during the Michigan HPV Rally.

M. Jensen Didulo of London, Ontario, had his not-quite-finished tilting tricycle, the Magic V2.0, at the Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge in July 2009, then had it at the Michigan HPV Rally June 12-13, 2010, in finished form. At home, he uses it as his around-town commuter.

Here's what Jensen wrote following the rally in an online discussion about tilting tricycles in the "homebuilders" section on the site. (Some editing was done by the blog editor.)
In it's current form, the Magic V2.0 has one advantage vs. a bicycle -- its cornering capability. For practical reasons, rather than theoretical), two rear wheels have a little better grip than one and that little extra is enough for the trike to out-corner everything except other tilting trikes.
That said, many tilting trike designers add some kind of zero-speed stability, either with some kind of self-righting mechanism or a tilt lock. I plan to do this also, but have been working on a much lighter mechanism than the typical disk-brake types, or one that engages in more positions than the locking pin type. (Editor: That is, the rider has to
balance as if he was riding a two-wheeler; there's no mechanism to keep it erect when moving, or when stopped. Jensen informed me later that rather than add such a mechanism to his existing trike, he may build a new trike.)
With a tilt lock, a tilting trike has all the static advantages of other three-wheelers, while keeping their cornering advantage over two-wheelers.
The main reason for the development of many more delta tilters (two wheels in the rear) vs. tadpole types (two wheels in the front) has to do with aerodynamics. No matter how sophisticated the design, a tadpole tilter will still have a larger frontal area, whereas a delta tilter can be designed to hide the rear wheels within the wind shadow of the rider.
The reason for all the parallelogram tilters is that they can be any rear track width. No matter the lean angle, the center of mass remains within the footprint area of the three tires and no rollover condition exists. In the case of a simple tilter like the Magic, the pivot height cannot exceed half the rear track width or you can have a rollover condition with high lateral G force. The only reason my tilter has such a narrow track is that the pivot is about 5 inches from the ground. Most single-pivot designs have the pivot at axle height, forcing a track width at least 20 inches.

THE LOW PIVOT POINT, only about 5 inches from the ground, enables the wheels to be only about 14 inches apart. The result, as Jensen demonstrates, is that he can lean to an extreme degree when cornering.

Some specifications:
Main frame: 1 ix 2 in. mild steel
Wheelbase: Approx 42 in.
Gear ratios: 60/52/42 x 7-speed 28-14.
Tilt mechanism: Modified horizontal single pivot based on Magic-type originally designed by Paul Smith. Pivot approximately 5 inches from ground.
Rear track: Approx 14 inches wide, fully adjustable
Rear toe: Parallel fully adjustable
Other: Self-equalizing rear brakes (no brake steer)

Jensen can be contacted at

For a view of two other tilting trikes, scroll down to "Bryant Tucker 100 - June 13, 2009."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

26th annual Michigan HPV Rally - June 12-13, 2010

In the Saturday morning one-hour time trial at the Michigan HPV Rally are, from left, Jeff Hunn on his titanium TiCuda, Bruce Gordon on his front-wheel-drive Zox and Mike Mowett on his Challenge Baron. (Dan Lonowski photo. All other photos by Mike Eliasohn.)

TODD REICHERT powered the University of Toronto's streamliner to the fastest speed ever in the 200-foot flying start sprints, 47.02 mph. A graduate engineering student, he was one of six members of the university's HPV team to make top-speed runs in the streamliner.

To see the charts showing complete results, go to

By MIKE ELIASOHN, MHPVA vice president

The 26th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally, June 12-13 at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track drew at least 40 competitors and several records were set.
Two university teams – a first for the rally – had several riders riding their vehicles over the two days and some riders who long since graduated from high school or college rode more than one vehicle over the two days.
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology HPV team came from Terre Haute, Ind., with three vehicles and seven people (three undergraduates, two graduate students, one alumni and one professor). One vehicle wasn't raced due to mechanical problems.
This was the fifth year Rose-Hulman has competed in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers HPV competition.
In contrast, this was the first year for the University of Toronto's team, which came to Waterford Hills with nine graduate and undergratuate students and two vehicles. Garrie Hill loaned the team a tricycle so more students would have the opportunity to race.
Dennis Grelk of Donnellson, Iowa, may have set a record by competing in/on four vehicles -- in one event, the hill climb/coast down. MHPVA President Mike Mowett of St. Clair Shores completed in/on three vehicles, including for the first time, the Norus streamliner that he bought three years ago.
A total of $200 in prize money was distributed to the top finishers in each class. First and second in each class were:
Streamliners (14 entries on Saturday, 12 on Sunday) - 1) John Simon, Moby streamliner, Portland, 120; 2) Dennis Grelk, Barracuda streamliner, 110.
Superstreet (five on Saturday, two on Sunday) - 1) Bill Hannon, Springfield, Ohio, Lightning F40, 120; 2) Tedd Wheeler, Reed City, Alleweder velomobile, 100.
Superstock (one both days) - 1) Bruce Gordon, Zox FWD low racer, Centralia, Ill.
Stock (16 entries on Saturday, 13 on Sunday) - 1) Sean Costin, NoCom low racer, Arlington Heights, Ill., 120; 2) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt lowracer, 110.
Junior (one entry both days) - 1) Jonathan Costin (son of Sean), upright bike, 120.
Women (three entries both days) - 1) Dora Cortez, Chicago, Chicago, Ill., low racer built by Rick Gritters, 120; 2) Ariel Young, Rose-Hulman team member, Dennis Grelk-built low racer, 110.
Tricycles (seven entries both days) - 1) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt low racer, 120; 2) Jeff Hunn, North Manchester, Ind., Catrike Expedition, 110. Dennis races the same homebuilt front-wheel-drive low racer in the stock and tricycle classes, swapping the single rear wheel for the tilting two-wheel setup he built for trike races.

MHPVA PRESIDENT Mike Mowett bought the used Norus streamliner in April 2007, then endured three years of ribbing from fellow HPVers for owning it, but not riding it. Finally, at this year's rally, he rode some practice laps on Saturday evening and then on Sunday morning, shown here, pedaled it to 41.45 mph in the 200-foot sprints. (Mike Eliasohn photo)

IN ADDITION to his Baron low racer and Norus streamliner, "Upright Mike" Mowett raced his carbon fiber Cervelo. He bought the frame off Craigslist for $700 from a fellow in New Orleans, mounted all the components the same week as the Michigan rally, then on the Tuesday before the rally raced it in a time trial at Waterford Hills. He's shown here during the one-hour time trial. In the hill climb, Mike finished first in the superstreet class and second overall with a time of 21.37 seconds.

Here's the top two in each event:
One-hour time trials: Streamliner - 1) Dennis Grelk, 31.7 miles (first place overall; 2) John Simon, 29.0 miles. Superstreet - 1) Bill Hannon, 26.3 miles; 2) Jim Iwaskow, Richmond Hill, Ontario, WAW velomobile, 20.7 miles. Superstock - 1) Bruce Gordon, 19.9 miles. Stock - 1) Dennis Grelk, 26.7 miles; 2) Sean Costin, 25.8 miles. Junior - 1) Jonathan Costin, 11.5 miles. Women - 1) Ariel Young, 18.2 miles (class record); 2) Dora Cortez, 17.9 miles. Tricycles - 1) Amanda Chu, Univ. of Toronto, Catrike, 14.6 miles; 2) Marj Branch, Xenia, Ohio, Catrike, 10.3 miles.
Hill climb: Streamliner - 1) Todd Reichert, Univ. of Toronto, 22.7 sec., 2) Danny Sing, Univ. of Toronto, 24.1. Superstreet - 1) Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores, Cervelo upright with body sock fairing, 21.4; 2) Bill Hannon, 25.6. Superstock - 1) Bruce Gordon, 26.7. Stock - 1) Sean Costin, 20 sec. (first place overall); 2) Robert Palmer, Walled Lake, Volae high racer, 23.2. Junior - 1) Jonathan Costin, 44.3. Women - 1) Dora Cortez, 33.4; 2) Jane Hunn, North Manchester, Ind., Specialized Sequoia upright bike, 33.8. Tricycles - 1) Dennis Grelk, 24.6. 2) Jeff Hunn, 26.3. Dennis Grelk also had to make a run up the hill on his Surly Big Dummy cargo bike for the urban transportation contest, 27.1 sec.
Coast-down: Streamliners - 1) John Simon (first place overall); 2) Dennis Grelk. Superstreet - 1) Bill Hannon, 2) Jim Iwaskow. Superstock - 1) Bruce Gordon. Stock - 1) Sean Costin, 2) Dennis Grelk. Junior - 1) Jonathan Costin. Women - 1) Dora Cortez, 2) Ariel Young. Tricycles - 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) M. Jensen Didulo, London, Ont., homebuilt tilting trike.
Standing start kilometer: Streamliners - 1) Todd Reichert, 1:11.7 (first place overall), 2) Dennis Grelk, 1:14.9. Superstreet - 1) Bill Hannon, 1:24.8, 2) Mike Mowett, 1:32.1. Superstock - 1) Bruce Gordon, 1:44.7. Stock - 1) Sean Costin, 1:13 (class record), 2) Dennis Grelk, 1:19.9. Junior - 1) Jonathan Costin, 2:58.9. Women - 1) Dora Cortez, 1:45.03 (class record), 2) Ariel Young, 1:54.5. Tricycles - 1) Dennis Grelk, 1:24.97 (class record), 2) Jeff Hunn, 1:42.3.

SEAN COSTIN on his NoCom low racer won the stock class, which had the most entries (16). He also set the fastest time ever for the stock class (no streamlining added except for wheel covers) in the 200-foot sprints, 42.75 mph. Notice the lonnnnnnng chain.

Flying start 200-foot sprints: Streamliners - 1) Todd Reichert, 47.02 mph (class record; previous record held by Rick Gritters, 45.9 mph ); 2) Alex Rankin, Univ. of Toronto, 43.6 mph. Amanda Chu of the Univ. of Toronto rode its streamliner 41.57 mph to become the fastest-ever female rider at Waterford. Superstreet - 1) Bill Hanon, 37.1 mph, 2) Tedd Wheeler, Reed City, Alleweder velomobile, 34.9 mph. Superstock - 1) Bruce Gordon, 32.4. Stock - 1) Sean Costin, 42.75 mph (class record), 2) Thom Ollinger, West Milton, Ohio, homebuilt low racer, 40.6 mph. Junior - 1) Jonathan Costin, 17.8 mph. Women - Dora Cortez, 40.95 mph (class record), 2) Ariel Young, 26 mph. Tricycles - 1) Dennis Grelk, 36.76 mph (class record), 2) Jeff Hunn, 30.8 mph.
Road race (twenty 1 km laps): 1) Streamliner - 1) Dennis Grelk, 27.8 mph average, 2) John Simon, 27.5 mph. Superstreet - 1) Bill Hannon, 24.8 mph (18 laps completed). Superstock - 1) Bruce Gordon, 20.6 mph (13 laps completed).
Road race (fifteen 1 km laps): Stock - 1) Sean Costin, 25.7 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 24.9 mph. Women - 1) Dora Cortez, 20.2 mph (12 laps completed), 2) Ariel Young, 17.8 mph (11 laps completed).
Tricycle road race (ten 1/3rd mile laps): 1) Dennis Grelk, 27.6 mph, 2) Jeff Hunn, 26.4 mph.
Thanks to Luke Gilbert, Bill Frey and Garrie Hill for doing timing; Terry Gerweck and Ann Roeske for score keeping; Terry for doing vehicle inspections; Mike Mowett for compiling the results; Paul Pancella for running the urban transportation contest; and John Simon, Chris and Dora Cortez, Jeff and Jane Hunn, Tedd Wheeler, Brian Stevens, Dennis Grelk, Bruce Gordon, Jim Iwaskow, Wally Kiehler and many others for assisting in running the events.

ON SUNDAY MORNING, before the racing started, members of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and University of Toronto human powered vehicle teams were talking HPV technology, of course. This is the Rose-Hulman streamliner that's being dissected.

HERE'S THE Rose-Hulman streamliner. I (Mike E.) think the photo was taken during the one-hour time trial, which would mean the rider is Daniel Sing. He was one of four team members to race the streamliner during various events.

VICTOR RAGUSILA, University of Toronto HPV team leader, on the team's front-wheel-drive low racer.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Terry Gerweck's new recumbent

TERRY GERWECK intended his new recumbent as an around-town errand runner. He's shown here at the Michigan HPV Rally. He is a co-founder of the MHPVA.

Terry Gerweck of Monroe built his first recumbent about 30 years ago and several since then, but hadn't built anything in recent years, but has now made up for the deficit. He had his latest recumbent in unfinished form at the MHPVA winter meeting in February. Except for a few refinements, it's now done. He had it at the Michigan HPV Rally June 12-13, where these photos were taken.
Here's Terry's description:
The bike was designed (I dislike that term) as a 'round town errand runner with a reasonably upright seating position and as short a wheelbase as possible on a long wheelbase recumbent with a 20-inch front and 26-inch rear wheel.

I wanted to get away from tiller steering to simplify mounting of a small fairing eventually. Besides, I like the way remote steering feels.
The bike should accommodate inseams from 28 to 32 inches. Seat height is 23 inches and wheelbase is 64 inches.
It is truly a recycled bike, with frame parts from five or six bikes, home furniture, and commercial store fixtures. Seat parts include used seat parts and assorted wheelchair parts. (Editor: The seat bottom is from a used Sun EZ-1 recumbent. Terry made the seat back.) Drive and other components are from the assorted collection of accumulated parts in my garage.
The crankset, a Campagnolo Record triple, is worth more than the rest of bike. Pedals also are Campagnolo.
Paintings was done using rattle/spray cans. The color scheme just happened. The stem I used was already green, so I picked out a can of matching gloss engine enamel from AutoZone for the accents. The rest of the frame was covered with satin black Rustoleum. Satin covers a whole host of "less than perfect" preparations and still has a serviceable finish that a flat paint lacks.

TERRY PREFERS this remote steering, using universal joints, over a conventional handlebars/stem arrangement, which can result in a "tiller" effect.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dan Lonowski's Quadster HPV

DAN AND BRENDA LONOWSKI on their Quadster top the hill during the hill climb-coast down portion of the Urban Transportation Contest on June 12. (Mike Eliasohn photos)

Dan and Brenda Lonowski of Novi participated in the Urban Transportation Contest on their Quadster HPV, which Dan designed and built. Construction started in July 2009 and he finished in December. "I've had the idea for probably 10 years," he said.
There are two separate 21-speed (3x7) drivetrains, one for each rider. The rider on the left does the steering and braking. Both pedal independently at their own cadence.

Dan welded the frame from 1- by 1-1/2 inch 16 gauge mild steel tubing. With its long wheelbase, the frame flexes slightly to provide passive suspension. Front wheels are 20x1-3/4; rears are 700c. There's an Avid disk brake for each rear wheel.
Dan also made the rear wheel hubs. Each short rear axle is supported by two pillow bearings.
He plans to replace the seats shown with mesh seats. Position of each seat is adjustable to accomodate various sized riders.
Some dimensions: Weight, 73 lbs. (33.2kg) ; wheelbase, 68 in. (1725mm); width, 47.2 in. (1200mm); length, 92 in. (2330mm).
Dan and Brenda have undertaken 10- to 20-mile rides on the Quadster, including some on unpaved trails.
Dan says the Quadster is another aspect of human-powered vehicles -- for utility and recreation, rather than speed. He said some day there might be a market for such vehicles, starting with bicycle rentals in tourism areas and pedestrian communities.