Wednesday, May 5, 2010

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

2008 rally photo by Jeff Hunn

The 26th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally will be June 12-13, 2010, at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track on the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club grounds in Clarkston, near Pontiac.
The oldest such event in North America is open to riders of all human powered vehicles -- recumbents, regular bicycles and tandems. There are classes for streamlined, unstreamlined cycles, tandems, women, youth and tricycles. The rally is conducted using Human Powered Race - America rules ( Note: HPRA rules require all vehicles to have mirror/mirrors enabling rear vision to both sides.
The track is 1.4 miles around, with nine turns and one hill.

ENTRY FEES: One day only, $30; both days, $40 (includes MHPVA membership). Test ride pass, $5. Spectators free. (Even if you have no interest in racing, come and see some unusual and some very fast bicycles and tricycles.)

SATURDAY, June 12, 2010

9 a.m. - One hour time trials.
Lunch break. (Bring your own food or eat at a nearby restaurant.)
After lunch - Hill climb/coast down, 1-kilometer standing start sprint, urban transportation contest (see article below).
6 p.m. - Steak and pasta dinner/barbeque at Oakland County Sportsmen's Club lodge, $12.


9 a.m. - Top speed runs, then short track road races (no hill).
Awards ceremony tentatively by 1 p.m.

The event address is 4770 Waterford Road, Clarkston, MI 48346. For a track map visit

Overnight camping at the track is allowed (no charge) with shower facilities available.

For additional information, contact: Mike Mowett, 586-863-3902 or, or Mike Eliasohn, 269-982-4058 or

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.

PLACES TO STAY ON YOUR WAY TO MICHIGAN HPV RALLY. Calling in advance to make a reservation is suggested.

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.

Hartland -- Best Western of Hartland, 10087 M-59 at US-23, 810-632-7177, 61 rooms. About 18 miles west.

Waterford -- Comfort Inn of Waterford, 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.


Free camping available overnight Friday and Saturday at the Waterford Hills track, starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Restrooms, showers available and possibly electrical hookups.

STATE CAMPGROUNDS (, then click on "outdoor recreation," then on "state parks and camping."

Highland Recreation Area, 5200 E. Highland Road (M-59), White Lake, 248-889-3750. Two miles east of Highland,

Holly Recreation Area, 8100 Grange Hall 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, 248-666-1020. Closest to Waterford Hills track, about 4 miles west.


Flint/Holly KOA, 7072 E. Grange Hall Road, 248-634-0803, About 12 miles northwest of Waterford (I-75, exit 101). RV and tent camping, cabins.


By Paul Pancella, coordinator

Starting in 2001, the Michigan HPV Rally has included the Urban Transportation Contest (UTC), which again this year will be conducted on Saturday afternoon.
The UTC is designed to test vehicles, de-emphasizing rider skills and athleticism. The intent is to judge the best human-powered vehicles for moving people around town on their errands and commutes, on paved roads, in all weather conditions, mixing it up with other kinds of traffic, and carrying light cargo.
This contest is open to all competitors entered at the rally, at no extra charge. The results will not be included in the HPRA points series, but there will be prizes for the top finishers. Vehicles will have to pass the same technical requirements as for the rest of the rally, with the exception that rearview mirrors will earn points, but are not a requirement for UTC participation. UTC vehicles must have more than one wheel. (Editor: A requirement after a rider finished second in 2006 on a unicycle.)
The UTC will run at the same time as the hill climb/coast down event. Since only a few vehicles can be judged at a time, you may do the hill before or after your turn in the UTC. The score from the coast-down will be part of the UTC scoring, as a way to judge aerodynamics. You can use the same vehicle that you race during the rest of the rally or you can enter a different vehicle, since scoring will be independent of the rest of the rally. Some vehicles that people race are appropriate for street riding, others are not.
     To compete in the UTC, register on Saturday morning like everyone else. There will be additional paperwork to fill out for the UTC. If you enter a separate vehicle in the UTC, get a vehicle number from me, then be sure to run it in the hill climb/coast down, in addition to your racing vehicle. I need to have your UTC forms by about 11 a.m. The contest will start when I get back from lunch.
Points will be awarded more or less equally in three areas:
Utility -- The basic ability to do the job, and do it efficiently.
Safety -- Mostly of the operator, but including security against theft.
Convenience -- The ideal urban vehicle is fun and easy to use. Here I will include items that affect operator comfort, as well as vehicle storage capacity.
On the UTC form, you must record your largest and smallest useable gear ratios, preferably in gear-inches. If you don’t know these, you will have to count sprocket teeth. If you have a standard derailleur system, I need the number of teeth on the largest and smallest chainrings on the front and sprockets on the back, along with your drive wheel diameter, and any step-ups or step-downs in gearing in between.
The rest of the judging occurs at three stations, which can be done in any order. Contestants should keep their own scoring sheets with them until all tasks are completed, then turn them in to me.
  One station, as mentioned, is the hill-climb/coast-down. If using the same vehicle for the UTC as for the rest of the events, you only need to run this once. You can then make changes to your vehicle if necessary for the UTC. I will only use the coast-down distance for the UTC score, not the hill climb time.
     The second station will be static testing. The vehicle and operator will be weighed and measured. We will evaluate daytime visibility and lighting system. Reflectors and bright colors are good and bright lights will earn points. Weather protection and rider comfort will be evaluated. We will check for tools, spares and anti-theft devices.
     The third station will consist of some dynamic tests. The turning radius --the smaller the better -- will be measured by operator demonstration. Each contestant will be allowed up to three attempts to make the tightest possible turn without a foot touching down, at any speed, but in a reasonable overall time.
     This will be followed by a short, timed slalom course in the parking lot, where the timing starts with the operator at some distance from the vehicle, choosing zero, one, or two bags of dummy groceries. The groceries are loaded, the driver mounts, and starts the course. Groceries can't be hung from handlebars; they must be secured to the vehicle or rider.
     The clock stops at the finish line, but the rider must then apply the brakes, attempting to stop as quickly as possible while maintaining control. Points are awarded for faster times completing the course and for shorter braking distances. Fifteen seconds of time is subtracted for each bag carried. Penalties will be assessed for dropping or abusing groceries, hitting cones, falling off the bike, etc.
Here is a more specific account of how points are awarded:
     1) Coast-down -- Ten points to the vehicle which coasts the farthest, fewer points for the rest.
     2) Weight -- vehicle weight divided by rider weight. 10% or less gets 10 points, one fewer point for every 4% greater than 10%.
     3) Rider vision -- one point awarded for every 6 inches of eyeball height starting with zero at 24 inches off the ground. Subtract one or two points for minor or major obstructions/restrictions to forward vision. Add a point for a functional rear-view mirror, another if there is more than one.
     4) Daytime visibility-- measure highest point on vehicle/rider (may include helmet or flag). Award a point for every 8 inches above 30 inches. Bonus point for substantial area of bright color (vehicle, not clothing), another for kinetic device such as flag or spinner in clear view.
     5) Nighttime visibility -- one point for any headlight, two if it is brighter than my flashlight. One additional point for basic taillight, another if it is large and/or bright. One point for rear-facing reflector(s) of sufficient size, another for good reflectors facing all sides.
     6) Size -- smaller is better. Multiply overall length by width at widest point (may be the operator) in inches. Six points for 1,000 or less, subtract a point for every 500 square inches larger than 1,000.
     7) Weather protection -- if rider is protected from wheel splash, one point for front, another for the rear. Another one, two or three points for fairings; partial front, full top with head out, fully enclosed respectively.
     8) Other comfort factors -- start with three points. Deduct one if seat lacks a back rest or two points if the seat is small and hard. Subtract another point if weight is borne by hands/arms, or if seat is extremely laid back with no head rest. Add a point for single wheel suspension or two for full suspension. (Front and rear Pantour suspension hubs earn only one point combined.)
     9) Gear ratio for hauling and hills -- determine lowest useable gear ratio in gear-inches. Five points if less than or equal to 10 gear-inches. One fewer point for every 5 gear-inches greater.
     10) Tools/spares/lock -- one point for spare inner tubes (all required sizes) if accompanied by a means to inflate. Another point for a patch kit. One point if carrying a few tools, another for complete kit. One point for some kind of lock, another for excellent lock or clever anti-theft device.
     11) Turning radius -- one point for every 30 inches less than 350-inch diameter turning circle
     12) Grocery slalom run. Total elapsed time from accepting groceries some distance from parked bike to crossing finish line (thus including packing and securing cargo, mounting vehicle and starting). Subtract 15 seconds for each bag carried. Add 10 seconds for each course violation or abuse of groceries. A point is earned for every 5 seconds that the adjusted time is below 110 seconds.
     13) Braking distance -- measure from finish line to farthest point on vehicle when stopped. Award one point for every 3 feet less than 32 feet. Penalties for lack of control may be assessed.
Passenger Bonus: 5 extra points for each adult after one, 3 for each child which can be carried safely.
Judges reserve the right to make adjustments as deemed necessary due to unforeseen circumstances, but we will try to keep the contest fair and fun. This has worked pretty well in the past, so I hope you will give it a try.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dave Moller's latest wood wonder

DAVE MOELLER stands with his latest creation, Dragonwood, at the Michigan FreakBike Militia exhibit at the Ann Arbor Bicycle Show April 25, 2010. (Mike Eliasohn photo)

David Moeller and his creations have been shown in this blog previously. Here's his latest and his description:

I call it Dragonwood and it's made of laminated ash and walnut, including the seat, handlebars and grips. It's 8-1/2 feet long. A four-speed hub "transmission" is under the seat. There's dual disk brakes in the rear; no front brake. The front wheel is 20-inch. The rear wheels use handmade rear hub, with the axle running in four pillow block bearings.
I will mount an electric hub motor on the front. There is room behind the seat for batteries. From start to finish, building Dragonwood took about 6 months.
(Editor's note: Dave wrote an article about the construction of Dragonwood for the Atomic Zombie June newsletter. There's also several construction photos. Go to, click on "news and blog," then under "Atomic Zombie news" click on "June 2010.")

The other articles by/about Dave on this blog are dated March 5, 2008; Dec. 14, 2008; and March 30, 2009.
Dave, who lives in Linden, near Flint, was the "Meet an AZ Krew member" featured in the April issue of the Atomic Zombie online newsletter (
He's hoping to bring Dragonwood to the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally June 12-13, to show, not to race. The other Dragonwood photos were taken by Dave.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ann Arbor Bicycle Show

LOOKING FOR A BIKE? Except for recumbents, there's lots to choose from at the Ann Arbor Bicycle Show. Some vendors, especially those with lots of bikes to sell, set up outdoors. Others rent an inside space.

Article and photos by Mike Eliasohn

If the only kind of bicycles you're interested in are recumbents, then the Ann Arbor Bicycle Show and Swap Meet, held on the final Sunday each April on the Washtenaw County fairgrounds between Ann Arbor and Saline, probably isn't for you.
But if you like bicycles in general, then the show is a fun time. You can spend hours looking at the thousands of bikes. I did at the April 25 show.
There is a judging for bikes, held in one building, but most of the event consists of vendors selling used bikes and parts and collectors looking for that "certain something" to add to their collection or parts so they can finish their latest project. Most of the bikes being sold are in need of restoration, but some are in rideable condition and some have been restored.
Most of the bikes for sale are old balloon tire bombers from the 1930s-60s, because those are most collectible, but there's also Schwinn Stingrays (also very collectible) and similar bikes, plus some nice 10-speeds, older mountain bike, and a few 3-speeds. (For some reason, it doesn't seem like many people collect 3-speeds, mostly British.)
There are bargains to be had. A collector I know bought a 1939 Dayton balloon tire bomber for $300. He had seen another such Dayton on eBay for $900. And I crossed paths with a fellow carrying a made-in-Britain Bob Jackson frame and fork, made of Reynolds 531 tubing, for $50. There were some slight dents in the top tube, but the frame was still useable as-is. He was planning to build it into a commuter bike.

THIS 1937 ELGIN originally sold for $36.95. At the Ann Arbor Bicycle Show, the price was $2,500, which is in line with current price guides.

If a recumbent builder is looking for diamond frames to cut up to use in building a recumbent, there's lot of raw material available. Not all the bikes for sale are too valuable to cut up to make into something else. (But please don't cut up a Bob Jackson frame.)
I did see 2-1/2 recumbents at this year's show, a short wheelbase ATP Vision with under-the-seat steering, for sale for $450; a long wheelbase Rans Stratus, waiting to be sold at the noon auction; and a tandem, I think made in Europe, with the front rider in a recumbent position and the rear rider upright.
The Ann Arbor show is one of the largest, and maybe the largest, such event in the country. In addition to being a show and sale, of course, it's also a gathering for people interested in old bikes. (Birds of a feather flock together.)
The 2011 show, the 31st annual, will be on April 24. Hours, unless they change, are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Web site is

THIS CICLI AQUILA was made in Italy about 1969, according to the owner. It has a deraileur and a four-sprocket freewheel. If it was for sale, I forgot to write that down and the price. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I thought it was gorgeous bike.