Sunday, July 21, 2013

HPV races - Northbrook, Ill., July 13, 2013

THE START of the 100-lap race for streamliners at the velodrome in Northbrook. Sean Costin, event organizer and competitor in this race, said the 13 streamliners was the most ever. (Photos and captions by Mike Eliasohn.)

TODD REICHERT in a University of Toronto streamliner gets/give a high-five after winning the streamliner race by three laps over second place Warren Beauchamp of Elgin, Ill., and four laps over third place Sean Costin, of Arlington Heights, Ill. Todd averaged 36.6 mph for the 100 laps - 23.68 miles. (The track is 382 meters/.237 mile.)  In the rear, getting out of his vehicle, is Rick Gritters of Pella, Iowa, who finished sixth.  Dave Johnson of Olivet finished ninth.

Congratulations to Todd and Cameron Robertson of AeroVelo in Toronto for winning the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize for designing/building the first human-powered helicopter to maintain a height of at least 9.8 feet (3 meters) for at least 60 seconds, while the center of the craft stays within 33 square feet.  Todd was the pilot/powerplant on the successful flight on June 13, 2013. You can see the flight and read more at Todd and Cameron have both competed at Michigan HPV Rallies as part of the Univ. of Toronto team, members of which assisted with the helicopter project.

MHPVA President Mike Mowett of St. Clair Shores on his Morciglio M1 won the 50-lap race for unfaired vehicles at an average speed of 28.35 mph, finishing about three-fourths of a lap over Dennis Grelk of Donnellson, Iowa, with Todd Reichert third.  On Sunday at the velodrome in Kenosha, Mike won the 30-lap race for unfaired vehicles at average speed of 28.7 mph. Results of both days' races, plus photos and videos, can be seen at

Sixteen vehicles line up for the start of the 50-lap race for non-faired vehicles. In addition to Mike Mowett, the winner, other Michigan competitors were Brian Stevens of Grand Rapids, 7th, and Tedd Wheeler of Reed City, 9th. Brian also won the 10-lap tricycle race over two other competitors.

Back in 2010, when I (Mike E.) last attended the Northbrook HPV races, Todd Beary of Oswego, Ill., raced this recumbent (above photo) that he built on his apartment patio, when living in California, using a MAPP gas torch to do the brazing. In 2011, he added a fairing he made from corrugated plastic. Todd raced a different bike last year, then returned this year with the streamliner, but with a new front half that he got from Steve Spencer (left, below). It was the original fairing from Warren Beauchamp's Barracuda. Since Todd was looking through the nose, not over it, he added the windows. He noticed other streamliners had a more upright head tube angle, so he switched from the original 20-inch (451mm) rear wheel to a 700c rear wheel. The original 451 front-drive wheel remains. Unfortunately for Todd, during the streamliner race, a loose drive chain derailed twice when he had to brake hard. The result was 13th (last) place with only 50 laps completed. In the flying start 200-meters, his speed was 26.64 mph; in 2010, it was 26.31 mph.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ken Stolpmann builds two interesting bikes

Ken Stolpmann of Charlevoix and his wood fixie Owen Bike.  My photos didn't do it justice, so the photo below comes from the site, which in turn got it from Ken. Do an internet search of his name and you'll find more photos, most taken before he added the wood handlebars and bottle cages.
 Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

Ken Stolpmann of Charlevoix came for the first time to the Michigan HPV Rally in 2013 with two bikes he built himself – one a work of art and the other a work-in-progress.
The work of art was an upright wood bike; the work-in-progress was a carbon fiber low racer, which he raced at Waterford.
By profession, Stolpmann is a builder of wood boats, a trade he learned in his native New Zealand as an apprentice to Owen Woolley, hence the name Owen Bikes. (Ken's now former wife is from Michigan, which is how he ended up living here.)
“At the moment, it's a hobby I enjoy,” he said at the rally, though he exhibited this bike at the the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver last February with the goal of creating and selling more bikes. He also showed it at the Detroit Bike City show at Cobo Hall in March.
The main beam of the bike (the dark wood) is mahogany around a honeycomb core; the seat beams and stays are hickory. The dropouts, head tube and seat post were machined from aluminum. The dropouts are glued and bolted to the frame.
He used mostly WEST SYSTEM expoxy (manufactured by Gougeon Brothers Inc. of Bay City) to glue the wood pieces together. The frame was finished with three coats of clear epoxy and then three coats of a clear automotive finish.
This was the second wood bike Stolpmann has built. “It was a fun bike to build,” he said. Despite it's “for show only” appearance, as of the rally, he had ridden it about 2,000 miles, using mostly the fixed gear side of the flip-flop hub. (Pull the wheel, turn it around and remount it and it's a single-speed freewheel.)
In addition to the wood frame, Stolpmann made the handlebars from Douglas fir and two water bottle cages from wood, which he is thinking of making and selling separately. They would make nice additions to some classic steel frame bikes.
He's also planning to make wood deep aero rims, which would lace to the hubs with conventional steel spokes, and four-spoke all wood wheels.
An article on the site quotes Stolpmann that having him build a similar wood bike ffor a customer would cost “around the $6,500 mark.”

Ken Stolpmann on his homebuilt carbon fiber low racer, waiting to begin the standing-start half-mile at the Michigan HPV Rally.

As for the carbon fiber low racer, he said, “I always wanted a recumbent. I built it to see if I could do it.”
He first started building a recumbent from wood, but it wasn't light enough, so he built the carbon fiber bike last winter.
Unfortunately, with its moving bottom bracket front-wheel-drive, handling was not what Stolpmann desired. Here's what he wrote in an e-mail to me (Mike E.) following the rally:
“The latest on the low racer. I had a lot of fun at the Waterford race and met a lot of interesting people with valuable input.
“I really went in the deep end learning to ride the bike during the one-hour time trial and crashed on the finish line. After talking to (recumbent builder) John Morciglio, I persevered with riding the bike, but had another good crash and lost a lot of skin and decided for a few reasons to not pursue the moving bottom bracket design.
“I want to be able to ride with just one hand if I so desire and be a bit more relaxed than what the current design allows. I talked to John Morciglio again and decided to sell the front subframe and build a more conventional low racer.
“At this stage I haven't touched the bike since Waterford as I have been working almost without a break since the start of summer. The plan is to cut the frame off behind the steering head and build a boom much like John's M1.”
Stolpmann can be contacted at or

Due to his experiences at the Michigan HPV Rally with the moving bottom bracket, Ken has given up on the design. He's planning to rebuild the bike by cutting off the frame behind the steering head and replacing it with a boom and stationary bottom bracket. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

29th annual Michigan HPV Rally

SEAN COSTIN completed the fairing last year, which fits over the NoCom carbon fiber low racer he raced previously. The forward holes provide clearance for his knees; one knee can be seen protruding in the above photo. The chainring that can be seen in the photo below is 104 teeth, which is "way too big a gear," Sean said.

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

The 29th annual Michigan HPV Rally May 18-19 attracted 38 riders and 29 vehicles (if my counting is correct) to the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkston.
Of those, five vehicles and seven riders came from the University of Toronto – back for the fourth straight year – and three vehicles and riders from “Team Kowalik.”
THE KOWALIK KIDS line up for the start of the 25-lap road race on Sunday morning. From left are Genevieve, 8 (held by Sean Costin), Cecilia, 10, and Florian, 14 (both held by their father, Fran). 

Fran Kowalik from Deerfield, Ill., brought three of his kids, who composed the entire junior class. Genevieve, 8, probably our youngest competitor ever, was riding a vintage upright Gitane 3-speed; Cecilia, 10, was on an Earth Cycles Sunset low racer; and Florian, 14, was on an M5 low racer.
DOUG GROSSJEAN, who does not own a car, pedaled his Lightning F40 from his home in Dearborn 35 miles to the track on Friday, camped overnight, competed Saturday and then pedaled home. 

As usual, the stock class drew the most entries, 13. The top three were Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa, on his homebuilt low racer, 330 points; 2) Warren Beauchamp, Elgin, Ill., NoCom low racer, 317; and 3) newcomer Eric Winn, Brighton, on his front-wheel drive, front-wheels steering (moving bottom bracket) Cruzbike Vendetta, 274.

ERIC WINN of Brighton competed for the first time at the Michigan HPV Rally with his new CruzBike Vendetta and finished third in the stock class.

The top three in the remaining classes were:
Streamliners (7 vehicles)– 1) Dennis Grelk, Barracuda (built by Warren Beauchamp), 304 points; 2) Cameron Robertson, U-T Vortex, 285; and 3) Dan Glatch, Franklin, Wis., Milwaukee Flyer (built by Wimpe van der Merwe of South Africa, who brought it to the U.S. in 1993), 220.
Streetliner (4) – 1) Rich Myers, Xenia, Ohio, "Chiquita Banana" (it's yellow), 335; 2) Bob Krezewinski, Ypsilanti, F40, 170; and 3) newcomer Doug Grossjean, 165. Doug, who doesn't own a car, rode his F40 35 miles from Dearborn on Friday, camped overnight at the track, and then pedaled it home Saturday afternoon, The 35 miles Friday took him about two hours. Bob K. also competed only on Saturday. Mention should also be made of fourth place finisher Andrew Gierz, who brought the Ferris State University HPV team's enclosed tricycle, which competed a few weeks earlier in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers student HPV competition, which Ferris hosted. (See article below). He also only competed on Saturday, and left with 140 points.
Women – Dora Cortez of Chicago, on her Rick Gritters-built low racer, was the only competitor, 300 points.
Tricycles (7 vehicles) – 1) Brian Stevens, Grand Rapids, Catrike 700; 330; 2) Jeff Hunn, North Manchester, Ind., Black Max leaning trike built by Tim Hicks of Barrie, Ont., 315 points, and 3) Dennis Grelk on his front-wheel-drive low racer, fitted with his tilting two-wheels-in-the-rear conversion, 295.
Junior – 1) Cecilia Kowalik, 340; 2) Genevieve Kowaki, 310; and 3) Florian Kowalik, who experienced two flat tires during the competition, 290.
Tandem – Three teams competed, all married couples: 1) Chris and Dora Cortez, Chicago, on an upright Cannondale, 360; 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, Reed City, BikeE E2 they bought from Bruce Gordon, 320; and 3) Bruce and Linda Gordon, Organic Engines Troika tricycle, 310.
CHRIS AND DORA CORTEZ from Chicago, shown here getting underway in the standing start half-mile on Saturday won the tandem class over two other married couples. Chris also competed in the stock and tricycle classes and Dora was the lone entrant in the women's class.

There was no urban transportation contest this year because Paul Pancella, who runs it, was unable to attend.
Following are the top two in each class in each event. Complete results are available at, then click on "racing results and pictures."


One-hour time trial: Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 23 laps at average speed of 31.56 mph; 2) Dave Johnson, Olivet, Great White, 20 laps at 27.24 mph. Streetliner – 1) Doug Grossjean, 16 laps at 21.27 mph; 2) Bob Krezewinski , 15 laps at 20.21 mph. Stock – 1) Warren Beauchamp, 18 laps at 25.12 mph; 2) Dennis Grelk, 18 laps at 23.80 mph. Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 11 laps at 13.85 mph. Tricycle – Jeff Hunn, 15 laps at 19.85 mph; 2) Brian Stevens, 13 laps at 17.90 mph. Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 15 laps at 20.301 mph; 2) Cecilia Kowalik, 11 laps at 14.92 mph. Tandem – 1) Chris and Dora Cortez, 13 laps at 16.71 mph; 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 11 laps at 14.95 mph.

DENNIS GRELK of Donnellson, Iowa, won the streamliner class in his Barracuda, built many years ago by Warren Beauchamp. He also won the stock class on the low racer he built and, fitted with his two-wheels-in-the-rear conversion, finished third in the tricycle class.

Hill climb: Streamliner – 1) Cameron Robertson, 25.06 sec., 2) Alfie Tham, Univ. of Toronto Celero tricycle, 25.68 sec. Streetliner – 1) Bob Krezewinski, 24.81 sec., 2) Doug Grossjean, 27.46 sec. Stock – 1) Warren Beauchamp, 21.89 sec. 2) Jim Iwaskow, Richmond Hill, Ont., Challenge Jester, 23.50 sec. Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 33.59 sec. Tricycle – 1) Brian Stevens, 24.31 sec., 2) Dennis Grelk, 26.59 sec. Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 21.87 sec. (quickest time of all competitors), 2) Cecelia Kowalik, 37.12 sec. Tandem – 1) Chris and Dora Cortez, 29.72 sec., 2) Bruce and Linda Gordon, 35.72 sec.

DAN GLATCH of Franklin, Wis., finished third in the streamliner class in the Milwaukee Flyer. The front-wheel-driver liner was built by Wimpe van der Merwe of South Africa, who brought it to the U.S. in 1993 to compete in the International Human Powered Speed Championships.

Coast down (combined with the hill climb; when riders reach the top of the hill, they stop pedaling and then coast): Streamliners – 1) Cameron Robertson, 2) Sean Costin, Arlington Heights, Ill., The Swift. Streetliner – 1) Rich Myers, 2) Bob Krezewinki. Stock – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Warren Beauchamp. Women – 1) Dora Cortez. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Brian Stevens. Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecilia Kowalik. Tandem – 1) Chris and Dora Cortez, 2) Bruce and Linda Gordon.
Standing start half-mile time trial: Streamliner – 1) Cameron Robertson, 1:01.5 min., 2) Trefor Evans, Unv. of Toronto Vortex, 1:07.3 min. Streetliner – 1) Rich Myers (only competitor), 1:26.4 min. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores, Morciglio M1 low racer, 1:07.2 min., 2) Dennis Grelk, 1:10.4 min. Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 1:28.5 min. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 1:15.7 min.; 2) Jeff Hunn, 1:21.0 min. Junior – 1) Cecelia Kowalik, 1:39.4 min., 2) Genevieve Kowalki, 2:02.1 min. Tandem – Chris and Dora Cortez, 1:29.7 min., 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 1:40.3 min.

FIVE UNIVERSITY of TORONTO students took turns racing their sleek new Celero trike during the weekend.  Interior view, showing the monocoque construction, is below.


200 foot sprints: Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, Univ. of Toronto Vortex, 46.97 mph; 2) Cameron Robertson, Vortex, 46.46 mph. Streetliner – 1) Rich Myers (only competitor), 32.94 mph. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 39.73 mph; 2) Dennis Grelk, 33.37 mph. Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 28.46 mph. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 31.92 mph, 2) Brian Stevens, 31.12 mph. Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 33.50 mph; 2) Cecelia Kowalik, 20.48 mph. Tandem – 1) Chris and Dora Cortez, 27.83 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 27.19 mph.
Tricycle race: After the sprints and before the start of the road races, the four tricyclists conducted their own race in the parking/pit area. Times were not recorded, only finishing order: 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Brian Stevens, 3) Jeff Hunn, 4) Chris Cortez.
25-lap road races (two races were conducted around the .431 mile course, which did not include the hill): Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 24.41 min., 26.19 mph average speed, 2) Sean Costin, 24.85 mph. Streetliner – 1) Rich Myers , 19.86 mph. Stock – 1) Dennis Grelk, 24.91 mph, 2) Mike Mowett, 24.57 mph. Women – no competitors. Tricycle – 1) Trefor Evans, 23.99 mph, 2) Jeff Hunn, 19.90 mph. Junior – 1) Cecilia Kowalik, 14.80 mph, 2) Genevieve Kowalik, 13.81 mph. Tandem – Chris and Dora Cortez, 16.56 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 14.88 mph.
JEFF HUNN, waiting for the start of the standing-start half-mile, raced a Black Max front-wheel drive leaning tricycle built by Tim Hicks of Barrie, Ont. Jeff, from North Manchester, Ind., finished second in the tricycle class. The leaning mechanism is show below. For more on Black Max and other HPVs built by Tim, go to

TEDD and DONNA WHEELER of Reed City finished second in the tandem class on their BikeE E2 they bought from Bruce Gordon. Tedd also competed in the stock class on his Rick Gritters-built low racer, finishing ninth.

BRUCE and LINDA GORDON of Buchanan finished third in the tandem class on their Organic Engines Troika trike.