Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recumbent Cycle-Con – Oct. 10-12, 2014

Fran Kowalik of Deerfield, Ill., well-known in HPV racing circles, on the new ICE Full Fat FS (full suspension), before pedaling it outside for a test ride. The Full Fat is the "civilian" version of the similar trike that Maria Leijerstam pedaled 396 miles from the edge of the Antarctic continent to the South Pole last December. The Full Fat will be available from the British trike maker for somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000. (

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

It was recumbent heaven for laid-back cycling enthusiasts who attended Recumbent Cycle-Con Oct. 12-14 in St. Charles, Ill., west of Chicago.
It was the third such event conducted by Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine ( The first two, in 2011 and 2013, were in Pomona, Calif.  The 2015 RC-C will be in (or near) Cincinnati, Ohio.
The event drew about 17 manufacturers, plus a few recumbent dealers (as exhibitors) and makers of accessories, such as car carrier racks. Human Powered Race - America also had a display of racing bikes and trikes, organized by Warren Beauchamp.
The first day (Friday) was limited to "those in the business," while Saturday and Sunday were open to the public. Admission was $10 for "looking only," while those wanting to look and ride bikes and trikes on the test track paid $20.
There also were workshops, with some sessions limited to dealers, such as ways to increase their business, while others were of general interest, such as touring on recumbents and racing.
TerraTrike in Grand Rapids showed its new Traveler folding trike, but I neglected to take photos.(  It goes on sale in January.
For more information about it and other bikes and trikes shown at Recumbent Cycle-Con, go to from which I got some of this information. (Bentrider editor Bryan Ball had a booth at the show.)
Recumbent and Tandem Rider publisher Charles Coyne and his wife, Janette Bijl, both said they found that Recumbent Cycle-Con draws people mostly within a 500-mile radius, which presumably precludes the event being held in the future on the East or West coasts. If you're shopping in the future for a recumbent, or simply want to see (and ride) what's available, the event is worth going to.

Sun Seeker had numerous bikes and trikes on display and available for test rides.  The blue trike is the new Eco Tad SX ($900) and behind it is the new Eco Delta SX ($830), with the two wheels in the rear. J and B Importers has rebranded its recumbents "Sun Seeker," to distinguish them from its "Sun" brand upright bikes and trikes. Most bike shops can order them. (

The very flat test ride area outside the DuPage Expo Center consisted of a short straight, turn right, another short straight, followed by a U-turn, another short straight, turn left, then go back to the start, seen here. Test riders could pedal "whatever" from inside the building through the large overhead door opening onto the track.  The young lady at left is riding (I believe) a hand-cranked Greenspeed Hand Magnum.

Linear Recumbents debuted its Minear, designed for shorter riders. The front wheel is 16-inch; the rear, 20-inch.  It also introduced folding versions of its Roadster short-wheelbase and Limo long-wheelbase. The frames are aluminum and the bikes are built in New York state. (

Tim Brummer (yellow shirt) has headed Lightning Cycle Dynamics for at least 30 years.  Among the bikes he had at the show was the new Phantom II ($1,795), with improved frame and seat. It's available with a 16-inch front wheel and 160mm cranks for shorter riders, as well as a 20-inch front wheel and 170mm cranks for non-short riders.  (

Fred Watner of Louisville, Ky., tries the BerkelBike, sold by Rad Innovations in Granville, Vt. (  The front wheel is driven by conventional foot cranks, as well as the handlebars, when "pedaled" forward. Braking is done by cranking the handlebars backwards. The handlebars also do the steering, of course. The BerkelBike is intended for people with disabilities, but also can be used by anyone who wants to strengthen their arm muscles, as well as their legs. There's a choice of 8- or 11-speed transmissions.

Another view of the Rad-Innovations display area. The Tri-Rad is in front, which would be ideal for anyone who wants a recumbent three-wheeler, but doesn't have much storage space. It sells for around $1,700.  Behind it is a tricycle, pedal-powered by the rider in the rear, with a platform in front for carrying a person in a wheelchair. In addition to cycles for people with disabilities, Rad-Innovations also is a distributor of Hase Bikes (which makes 2- and 3-wheelers, including some for people with disabilities) and Birdy folding bicycles.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Michigan Recumbent Rally - West, Sept. 6, 2014

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

The annual Michigan Recumbent Rally - West, organized by Paul Pancella, took place Saturday, Sept. 6, in the parking lot outside the College of Engineering building on the Western Michigan University Parkview Campus in Kalamazoo.
There was a good turnout of recumbent two- and three-wheelers, some of them for sale, and some non-recumbent cyclists who took advantage of the opportunity to try some laid-back cycles.

David Middleton of Kalamazoo has been at the past few rallies with a mountain bike converted into a front-wheel-drive recumbent with use of a Cruzbike conversion kit.  He's now taken the financial plunge and bought a Cruzbike Quest, which folds. Wheels are 26 in/559mm and gearing is a SRAM Dual Drive, which combines a 3-speed hub with nine deraileur sprockets.  Learning to ride a FWD with moving bottom bracket takes patience.

Gabe Lagina (tan shirt, gray cap) from Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage came with two TerraTrike three-wheelers and two Bacchetta two-wheelers. In addition to those brands, it also sells Sun recumbents – and lots of upright bikes. There's also Breakaway stores in Grand Haven and Muskegon. The orange TerraTrike Rambler by the van's rear wheel now belongs to the editor of this blog.

Richard Tool came from Dayton, Ohio, with his ICE Sprint FS. All three wheels are suspended, it folds, has 30 speeds (3x10 gearing) and weighs 43 pounds. He bought it in February 2014 due to equilibrium problems and is his first recumbent. He said it's only slow going up hills. The next day he rode it in the nearby Vineyard Classic Bicycle Tour, which starts and ends in Paw Paw.

Andy Knight of Cooper Township (Parchment area) brought his Day 6 Journey, which has a Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub gear.  Last year, he rode it 41 miles to South Haven. Day 6, which apparently is having business problems, is based in New Hudson in southeastern Michigan.

This bike was not at the recumbent rally, but I (Mike E.) thinks it's cool, hence the photo here. Builder/owner Joel Wiggins of Kalkaska brought it to the fourth annual Cycle-Re-Cycle bicycle show and ride Aug. 23 in Benton Harbor. (C-R-C is a all-volunteer non-profit bicycle shop.) Joel built the bike using an old Huffy tandem frame. It's what's called a burrito bike, described as long and low. Add a backrest and more than one gear and it becomes a recumbent.

Wally Kiehler's Coast-to-Coast Adventure

Wally Kiehler started his journey June 15 by dipping the rear wheel of his Lightning P-38 in the Pacific Ocean at Everett, Wash.

My Coast-2-Coast Tour with Cycle America
Over 1 Million Pedal Revolutions in 9 Weeks

By Wally Kiehler, Grosse Pointe Woods

More than 1 million pedal revolutions is what my fellow riders and I figured we pedaled when we rode coast to coast (C2C) from Seattle to Boston with Cycle America this summer (9 weeks / 4,200 miles).
We got this number by using the average number of hours on our bikes each day and our average cadence each day. 
Each day we cycled 60 to 100 miles.  My average cadence is 60.  Almost every day we climbed hills.  Some were steep hills for me.  A few times I decided to walk.  Some times I just couldn't pedal up 15 percent hills for a long distance.  A few times I decided to walk because I could only pedal 4 mph and it was much easier to walk 3 mph.
(Editor's note: The journey started June 15 in Everett, Wash., and ended 4,244 miles later on Aug. 16 in Gloucester, Mass.)
When we crossed through Michigan, I decided to exchange my heavy Lightning P-38 with both panniers for my lighter/more aero carbon fiber M5 with small cargo bag.  I found this increased my average speed by 15 percent. 
None of the riders on their 15-to-20-pound  diamond frame bikes had to walk any hills.  Many of their bikes only had two chainrings.  They were at an advantage at climbing – but a disadvantage in comfort.  I noticed some of the male riders using butt creams in the locker room.  I heard that it helps relieve their butt sores.
We started in the state of Washington in June.  The weather, as expected, was terrible.  Cold and rainy.  And hilly.  We had a few major climbs that required rain jackets and gloves.
I remember one 16-mile climb.  I was in my lowest gear all the way up.  Then we rode through the most scenic areas out west such as Yellowstone, Tetons, the Badlands, Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore. 
As we crossed the middle of the country we were blessed with moderate weather because it usually is 90 to 100 degrees there during the days in July.  As we rode to the eastern part of our tour we visited Niagara Falls and Lake Pacid.
For more descriptive entries (including photos) you can read my daily journal at:, then click on "journals," then search for "wallyk." ( also works.)
This adventure was a long range goal of mine for several years.  And now that it is over, I don't have another bike adventure to look forward to.  Nine weeks was a very long time to be on the road and away from home.  I think I will stay with much shorter touring adventures.

Wally ended his journey Aug. 16 by dipping the front wheel of his carbon fiber M5  in the Atlantic Ocean at Gloucester, Mass.

Following is Wally's last journal entry, which gives some additional information.

Aug. 21, 2014

It has been five days since this long tour ended. Five days without riding. Just trying to catch up on chores around my house. Lots of mail to open. My bike arrived byFedEx yesterday. I put it together today. I don't feel like riding this week, since I rode almost everyday for nine weeks.
As of today I rode 5,200 miles since last winter. My normal year is only 2,000 miles. This coast-2-coast tour has been my long range biking goal for several years.
I knew that the tour would take over two months and that I would be retired when I did it. Another bike club member, Bob Krzewinski of Ypsilanti, said he wanted to join me. At first we discussed riding either "supported" or "self supported." Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
We eventually agreed that "supported" was the best fit for us. We chose Cycle America because it was the least expensive, it toured the preferred northern route, and it started in June. We made the right decision.
Cycle America owner, Greg, does an amazing job on this tour. He was on the tour and in control of everything for all nine weeks. He has an experienced staff of 10 to 12 that knows how to make everything go smoothly. We crossed the country from town to town like an experienced traveling circus. Three passenger vans pulling three trailers, one router car, and around 50 riders each week. Cycle America has been running this northern route for 20 years. They know what destinations are worth riding to, the best roads and bike paths to take, and what towns to spend our Sundays off.
I rode a recumbent. So I was challenged almost every day with hills. Some were steep enough that I had to walk them. But all were fun to come down on. A few downhills were up to 10 miles long and fast.
Thirty-four riders started the coast-2-coast, 30 finished. Bob K had to drop out at the end of week No. 2 because of health issues. He since has had surgery and is doing fine. Around 15 riders rode every mile cross-country. I missed 1.5 days.
It was amazing to experience the bond between the 30 C2C riders. We all had the same goal. We got to know each other quite well. We rode from town to town in small groups determined by each biker's speed. Some of us tent camped. Some slept inside. We ate our breakfasts and dinners together. I already miss seeing and riding with the riders.
I would highly recommend Cycle America for your C2C tour. They also offer one-week tours that I'm sure would be just as fun.
But I would not recommend doing the hillier tours on a recumbent unless you can climb hills a lot easier than I can. I ended up changing recumbents when we crossed through Michigan to my lighter/faster recumbent. And that helped me a lot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Northbrook - Kenosha HPV races - July 2014

Photos and captions by Mike Eliasohn

The annual human powered vehicle races at the velodromes in Northbrook, Ill., and Kenosha, Wis., on July 19 and 20 respectively drew the usual good turnout and lots of streamliners.
For the results, go to, then click on "forums," then "HPV racing." Results are listed separately for the two days.

On July 5, Dave Johnson was in Rick Wianecki's garage in Okemos, doing some patching with resin to Great White's fairing before a new paint job. On July 19 at Northbrook, Dave was racing the streamliner, which had been toothless in recent years, with its new paint job, which he did.  Dave, from Olivet, owns Great White, built by Rick in the late 1990s. At Northbrook, Dave finished second overall in the 200m flying start at 36.76 mph. In the 100-lap race, he finished sixth, 18 laps behind, at an average speed of 29.1 mph. At Kenosha, he was third overall in the standing start kilometer and in the 70-lap race, he finished fourth overall, 12 laps behind, at 27.71 mph.

MHPVA President Mike Mowett of St. Clair Shores on his Morciglio M1 leads Dennis Grelk of Donnellson, Iowa, at Northbrook. Mike won the 50-lap race for unfaired vehicles at an average speed of 27.94 mph, with Dennis second. Mike also was fastest of stock class vehicles in the 200 meter flying start at 36.57 mph. At Kenosha, Mike was first in the standing start kilometer at 31.14 mph and also won the 30-lap race for unfaired vehicles. Speed was unavailable.

Clifford Lofgren, age approximately 5-3/4, of Buchanan, raced his KMX trike at Northbrook. In the 200-meter flying start, he averaged 15.22 mph and he completed 11 of the 25 laps in the junior/multi-rider race, at and average speed of 8.74 mph.

Also in the junior/multi-rider race at Northbrook were Clifford's grandparents, Bruce and Linda Gordon of Buchanan on their Organic Engines Troika. Clifford can be seen in the distance behind them – or maybe he was almost a lap ahead of them, since he finished ahead of them in the race. In the 200-meter flying start, Bruce and Linda averaged 21.98 mph.

At the Michigan HPV Rally May 17-18, Genevieve Kowalik, 9, of Deerfield, Ill., raced an upright bike But at the Northbrook-Kenosha weekend, she was racing her new low-racer that her father, Fran, had Rick Gritters build for her. The seat can be moved back as she grows. At Kenosha, shown here, she averaged 20.27 mph in the standing start kilometer. In the 10-lap race for juniors, she finished second at 19.75 mph. Rick, from Pella, Iowa, has built several low-racers for HPRA competitors and also races his own creations.

In the 70-lap race at Kenosha, Arne Toman in his Blue Velo Quest duels with Marc Jutras in the University of Toronto Ace. Arne, from West Chicago, Ill., has pedaled the carbon fiber Quest as much as 225 miles in a day, to Indianapolis, and to Green Bay, Wis., which took him 12-1/2 hours. He finished fifth in this race, completing 56 laps at an average speed of 26.79 mph. Arne's Quest, which has lights front, rear and underneath, had the only streetliner, so was competing against streamliners intended only for racing. In the standing start kilometer, he was 10th overall, at an average speed of 26.5 mph. Marc finished third in the 70-lap race, completing 64 laps at an average speed of 30.67 mph.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Berrien Tricycle Rally - June 21, 2014

Daryl Hanger on his Catrike Trail leads Warren Beauchamp in one of the races. Daryl was the overall winner. Warren had the only leaning-trike at the rally – a front-wheel-drive low racer he built, fitted with a Dennis Grelk-built two-wheel attachment that bolts to the rear dropouts.

Words and photos (except one) by Mike Eliasohn; results by Bruce Gordon

The first Berrien Tricycle Rally took place Saturday, June 21, 2014, at Rolling Green Raceway, a quarter-mile kart racing track near Buchanan in Berrien County in the southwest corner of Michigan.
The rally was organized by, and was the idea of long-time HPV racer Bruce Gordon of Buchanan, with help with help from his wife, Linda. (Thank you, Linda, for the homemade muffins and sandwiches.)

Bruce Gordon, shown here on his Greenspeed SLR during the time trial – three laps of a short triangular section of the track – organized the first Berrien County Tricycle Rally.

The rally attracted 11 competitors, from Michigan (Bruce, Brian Stevens, Douglas Dodd and Clifford Lofgren), Illinois (Warren Beauchamp, Chris and Dora Cortez), Indiana (Daryl Hanger and Jeff Hunn), Ohio (Garrie Hill) and Ontario (Jim Iwaskow).
Here's the results:

                  Best Tm Best Spd In Lap   Diff   2nd Best 2nd Spd 2nd Lap
1   Daryl Hanger     38.891    23.142     8         - -        39.608   22.723   2
2   Brian Stevens    43.302    20.784     6     +4.411    44.725   20.123   3
3   Jeff Hunn          43.351    20.761     9     +4.460    44.719   20.126    3
4   W. Beauchamp  44.112    20.403     4     +5.221    44.883   20.052    3
5   Chris Cortez       44.983    20.008     6     +6.092    48.215   18.666    2
6   Bruce Gordon     47.066    19.122     5     +8.175    48.335   18.62      6
7   Jim Iwaskow      50.719    17.745     1     +11.828  50.883   17.688    3
8   Douglas Dodd     51.308    17.541     3     +12.417  52.627   17.101    1
9   Garrie Hill           54.726    16.446     1     +15.835     -.---      -            0
10 Dora Cortez        56.806    15.843     1     +17.915  58.001   15.517    4
11 Jim Iwaskow       58.639    15.348     2     +19.748  1:05.2    13.793    1
12 Clifford Lofgren   1:37.782   9.204     4     +58.891  1:47.7    8.351      2

Separate races by fours, based on hot lap times, were won by Daryl Hanger, Chris Cortez and Dora Cortez. A race for non-prize winners was won by Jim Iwaskow. Daryl Hanger's team won the relay race, and Daryl was the quickest in the short track time trial. 

 Jim Iwaskow on the Mike Sova-built trike, which Mike gave to him. It may look crude – notice the "stadium seating" – but it has rear suspension. (The pivot is the small circle behind the handlebars.) Jim also rode the trike the following day in the Berrien County Cancer Service Bike Ride.

Jim, from Richmond Hill, is listed twice because he competed on two vehicles, an ICE Vortex (7th place) loaned to him by Garrie Hill, and an aluminum (welded and bolted) trike (11th place) built by Mike Sova of Toronto "some time ago," Jim said, possibly a couple of decades or more. Sova, who gave the trike to Jim, has gone on to building streamliners raced at Battle Mountain. Garrie, from Granville, Ohio, raced his Greenspeed SLR.
Daryl Hanger, from Greenwood, Ind., finished first on a Catrike Trail, which isn't built for racing. (In other words, if he had a racing trike, he would be even faster.)

Clifford Lofgren finished last, but he has a good excuse – he's only 5-1/2 years old. He's Bruce and Linda's grandson and the son of Eric and Charlotte Lofgren, who also live in Buchanan. He raced a kid-sized KMX trike and likely is the youngest-ever competitor in Human Powered Race America sanctioned competition. (Bruce Gordon photo)

Special thanks to Grand Rapids-based manufacturer TerraTrike ( Director of marketing Jeff Yonker, his son, Gabe, and marketing assistant Michelle Oswald brought several TerraTrikes for test rides, plus a display of accessories. Likely the most popular for test rides was the Rover Tandem.

Also present for a couple of hours to spectate was Jerome Hediger, Greenspeed USA distributor, who rode his BMW motorcycle (only two wheels) from Highland in southern Illinois. For the unknowing, Greenspeed is an Australia-based recumbent trike manufacturer (

Chris Cortez lifts a wheel during the time trial on a short triangular section of the Rolling Green Raceway. The kart racing track is twisty and isn't level.

In addition to the pure racing events, there were some "fun" events, including a relay race, with competitors passing a tire, instead of a baton. Here, Bruce Gordon passes the tire to Jim Iwaskow, who was riding Garrie Hill's ICE Vortex.

Mark Bannan of Owosso came to the rally to spectate, with this trike that he built in the 1980s. Back then, he also built several other two- and three-wheel HPVs, all from aluminum tubing.In addition, from 1990-98, he organized the Delta College Challenge HPV races on the Sunday following the Michigan HPV Rally, which back then was on Saturday only.rail

 leads Warren Beauchamp in one of 
Words and photos (except one) by Mike Eliasohn; results by Bruce Gordon

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Articles worth reading


If you missed these magazine articles when they were new, they're worth reading next time you're at your public or school library and maybe, like me, making photocopies.

"The Beastie Bike," Popular Science, January 2014 – Three pages and four photos of Graeme Obree, "The Flying Scotsman" (a movie worth renting), and the lever-drive, prone position two-wheel streamliner he built and raced at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nev. in 2013. Popular Science might be accused of celebrity journalism. Obree went 56.62 mph, the fastest speed ever for a prone-position bike, but Sebastiaan Bowler of the Netherlands setting a top speed record of 83.13 mph in the Velox 3 streamliner at the same event earned only one sentence in the article.

"The Improbabable Flying Machines of Sywell," Popular Mechanics, February 2014. Eight pages and five large photos of the second Icarus Cup competition for human powered airplanes at Sywell Aerodrome in the United Kingdom, conducted by the Royal Aeronautical Society Human Powered Aircraft Group. Which leads to the question, why doesn't someone organize a similar competition in the United States?

Muskegon Chronicle, March 1, 1987. Jerry Mattson used  this article
as a source of information for his Michigan History article about the Bowden Spacelander.

"The Bowden Spacelander," Michigan History, January-February 2014. Five pages and seven photos (sort of).  The Bowden isn't a recumbent, but its molded fiberglass frame made it unique and it was manufactured in Michigan – hence the article in Michigan History. The bike is now highly prized by collectors. The author of the article is Jerry Mattson, who as a free-lance writer  working for the Romeo Observer newspaper, covered the Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge, conducted by the MHPVA, in 2009, .

"How to Build a Bicycle-Powered Generator," Popular Mechanics, April 2014. Three pages and six photos or illustrations. The author, Rachel Arndt, started her project because she got tired of riding her bicycle trainer in her apartment in bad weather and going nowhere. When she finished, she still went nowhere, but had a cycle-generator that could put enough charge into batteries to power small electronics during power outages. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Preview: Berrien County Tricycle Rally - June 21, 2014

Photo taken at Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally

The first Berrien County Tricycle Rally is on Saturday, June 21, at Rolling Green Raceway, a quarter-mile kart racing track with lots of turns. The track is at 2090 Miller Road, northwest of Buchanan, in southwest Michigan.

7:30 a.m. – Gates open.
7:30 - 9 – Registration, trike safety inspection 
9 - 11 – Solo racing.
11 – Group racing begins and will continue, with a lunch break, through the afternoon. How long it takes to give everyone their fill of racing will depend on how many show up to race.

Registration can be done online at until June 18. The cost is $20 if you register in advance online; $25 if you register at the rally.  

The rally will be conducted under the rules of Human Powered Race - America, which are posted at, then click on "rules and classes."

SPECIAL PRIZES: Azee Prize for the best performing team in the solo event. Team members must be separated in age by 58 years or by having one member of the team less than 12 years old and the other older than 50.
Ceepee Team Prize awarded in the solo event for best parent-child team using combined times. Stepchildren, foster children and grandchildren are eligible. Other relationships, such as niece, nephew, etc., will be considered at the race director's discretion.

Grand Rapids-based recumbent tricycle manufacturer TerraTrike plans to be at the rally from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with various models available for test rides.

DIRECTIONS: The track is located 2 miles west of Redbud Trail on Miller Road. 
From the north: Take US 31 south to Snow Road. Exit #13. Go (right) west for about a mile and turn (left) south on Redbud Trail (at stop sign.)  Go about 4 miles south and turn right on Miller Road (name is on yellow junction sign.)
From the south: Take US 31 north to US 12. Exit #3. Go (left) on US 12 west for about 2 miles and turn (right) north onto Redbud Trail at traffic light. Go through Buchanan (traffic light) and continue on Redbud Trail for about 4 miles and turn left on Miller Rd (name on yellow junction sign.) 
From the west: Take US 12 east Exit #4a off I-94 (4 miles from Indiana border). Go (right) east for about 16 miles and turn north (left) onto Redbud Trail (second traffic light.) Go through Buchanan (traffic light) and continue on Redbud trail for about 4 miles and turn left on Miller Road (name on yellow junction sign.) 

If you have questions or need to cancel or make changes to your registration, e-mail

Participants in the rally Saturday are encouraged to also participate in the Berrien County Cancer Service Bike Ride the following day, starting at its office at 7301 Red Arrow Hwy., Stevensville.
Riders can start between 7 and 11 a.m., but must finish by 2 p.m. Routes are 15, 25 and 42 miles and 100k (62 miles). The cost is $20 ($35 for families) until June 13, $25 ($40) after that. Registration/payment can be done online at Proceeds help the BBCS provide free nursing care and support services to Berrien County residents with cancer.

The nearest restaurants to Rolling Green Raceway are in Buchanan. From the track, go east to North Main Street, then south into town. Some restaurants are downtown and others, including fast food, are clustered up the hill east from downtown.
The best locations for finding hotels/motels are near the junction of Route 51 and the Indiana Toll Road
(exit #77) or along I-94 in Michigan.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

30th annual Michigan HPV Rally - May 17-18, 2014

By Mike Eliasohn

Note:  Some of these results are incomplete, due to either more than one college team member racing the same vehicle or information being incomplete on some entry forms. 
Complete rally results and more photos are posted at, then click on "race results and pictures," then "2014 Michigan HPRA race results" or "pictures."    Mike E.

"Old and cold" describes the 30th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally May 17-18, the oldest such event in North America and maybe the world.
How cold was it? The uniform of the day for those who had it, especially on Saturday, was a hoodie with the hood up, under a jacket – and gloves.  It was so cold that cars parked at the Waterford Hills track overnight Saturday "woke up" with frost on windshields and roofs.
There were 46 entries, but that doesn't translate into 46 riders or 46 vehicles. Some riders raced in more than one class and for the University of Toronto and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology teams, there was more than one rider per vehicle, which caused some confusion in scoring results.
The Univ. of Toronto team consisted of 12 people, including faculty adviser Jun Nogami, and five or six vehicles, he said.  Rose-Hulman, in Terre Haute, Ind., had five people, including faculty adviser Michael Moorhead, and three streamliners, plus three other vehicles.
The third "team" competing was Fran Kowalik of Deerfield, Ill., and four of his children, Florian, 15, Mathias, 13, Cecilia, 11, and Genevieve, 9. But all five each had their own cycle to race.

Mike Mowett on his Morciglio M1 carbon fiber low racer recovers after winning Sunday morning's road race, 15 laps/9 miles on the short course (0.6 mile).  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

As usual, the stock class had the most entries, 20.  The top three were: 1) MHPVA President Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores, on his Morciglio M1, 340 points; 2) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa,homebuilt low racer, 307; and Warren Beauchamp, NoCom low racer, Elgin, Ill., 279. As usual, Dennis was the only person to compete in every event.
The top three in the other classes were:
Streamliner (8 entries): 1) Dennis Grelk in his Warren Beauchamp-built Barracuda, 312; 2) rider?, Rose-Hulman Celeritas, 310; and 3) Warren Beauchamp, homebuilt Barracuda, 283.
Wally Kiehler in/on his Lightning F-40, leads Richard Myers during the Sunday morning 20 lap/12-mile road race. They finished second and third respectively. On June 14, Wally and Bob Krzewinski, both riding similar bikes, but minus the fairings, depart on a 4,200-mile trip from Seattle to Boston, ending Aug. 16. Wally will blog about their journey, with hoped-for daily updates. Go to www.crazyguyonabike, then click on "journal," then "wallyk." (John Heiam photo)

Streetliner (6 entries): 1) Wally Kiehler, Gross Pointe Woods, Lightning F-40; 340; 2) Rich Myers, Xenia, Ohio, "Chiquita Banana" (it's yellow), 297; and John Simon, Portland, Lightning P-38 with fairing, 205. John only competed on Saturday. At a "young" 77, Rich was the oldest competitor.
Women: Dora Cortez of Chicago, riding a Gritters low racer or Bacchetta Corsa 24, was the lone competitor, 360,
Tricycle  (4 entries):  1) Daryl Hanger, Greenwood, Ind., Catrike Trail, 325; 2) Bruce Gordon, Buchanan, Greenspeed SLR, 300; and 3) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt low racer with his two-wheels-in-the-rear conversion, 295.
Junior (4 entries):  1) Florian Kowalik, M5 low racer, 360; 2) Cecelia Kowalik, Earth Cycles Sunset, 320; Genevieve Kowalik, upright bike, 295.
Tandem (3 entries):  Tedd and Donna Wheeler, Reed City, BikeE, 275. There was a tie for second place, 180 points, with the same Trek tandem from Rose-Hulman. R-H HPV team faculty adviser Mike Moorhead and Calvin Moes from the Univ. of  Toronto formed one team and students Louis Vaught, Chapel Hill, N.C., and Matt Skoria, Walla Walla, Wash., both R-H students, were the other.

Dan Zolyniak of Toronto, in the streamliner built by him and his wife, Amanda, leads the tandem team of Matt Skorian (front) and Louis Vaught from Rose-Hulman. In the rear, Rose-Hulman HPV team faculty adviser Michael Moorhead gets the R-H streamliner, ridden by ??, back on its wheels. This was during the 20-lap/12-mile road race Sunday morning.  (John Heiam photo)
    Here's the top two from each event:


One-hour time trial:  Streamliner – 1) Warren Beauchamp, 22 laps of the 1.4 mile track at average speed of 30.794 mph, 2) tie: Dennis Grelk and ???, riding U-T Ace.  Streetliner – 1) Bill Hannon, Springfield, Ohio, Milan velomobile. 18 laps/24.375 mph; 2) Chris Evans, Flint, Quest velomobile. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 18 laps, 25.077 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 12 laps, 15.485 mph.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 14 laps/18.141 mph, 2) Bruce Gordon.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 17 laps, 22.313 mph, 2) Cecelia Kowalik. Tandem – 1) Michael Moorhead and Calvin Moes,  15 laps, 20.442 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler. 
Hill climb:  Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, U-T, 2) rider?  R-H Celeritas.  Streetliner – 1) Wally Kiehler, 2) John Simon.  Stock – 1) Trefor Evans, 2) Peter Wen, Univ. of Toronto???  Women – 1) Dora Cortez.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecelia Kowalik.  Tandem – Matt Skorian and Louis Vaught, R-H, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler.
Coast down ((combined with the hill climb; when riders reach the top of the hill, they stop pedaling and then coast):  Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, U-T) Dennis Grelk.  Streetliner – 1) Wally Kiehler, 2) Rich Myers. Stock – 1) Fran Kowalik, M5 M-Racer, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Women – 1) Dora Cortez. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Chris Cortez, xxxx.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecelia Kowalik, 3) Genevieve Kowalik. Tandem – 1) Matt Skorian and Louis Vaught, R-H, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler.
Standing start 1-kilometer:  Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 1 minute, 22.78 sec./27.02 mph, 2) rider?  R-H Celeritas, 1:24.63, 26.43 mph. Streetliner – Wally Kiehler, 1:37.13/23.03 mph, 2) John Simon, 1:51.91/15.99 mph. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 1:29.29/25.05 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 1:30.72/24.66. Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 1:48.59/20.60 mph. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 1:37.38/22.97 mph, 2) Daryl Hanger, 1:49.05/20.51 mph. Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 1:27.25/25.64 mph, 2) Genevieve Kowalik, 2:51.53/13.04 mph.  Tandem – 1) Mike Moorhead and Calvin Moes, 1:49.44/20.44 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 2:12.91, 16.83 mph.

Among those waiting for the start of the hill climb / coast down are Fran Kowalik on his M-5 M-Racer and daughters Cecelia, 11, (green jersey) on an Earth Cycles Sunset and Genevieve, 9, (orange jersey) on an upright bike.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

Urban vehicle competition: Points were awarded for time in the hill climb; finishing position in the coast down; time around two loops of an oval in the parking area, with braking performance evaluated at the finish; and points for each feature during an evaluation of the vehicle. Points were awarded for lights and fenders, front and rear; reflectors; daytime visibility; cargo carrying capacity; brakes; rearview mirrors; security against theft; convenience (getting on and off or in and out of the vehicle); weather protection; horn; bell; tools; tire pump; spare inner tube or tube repair kit; and "anything else."
Daryl Hanger on his Catrike Trail and Wally Kiehler on his Lightning F-40 tied for first with 32 points,  while John Simon with his Lightning P-38 with fairing was third. Tied for fourth were Univ. of Toronto HPV team adviser Jun Nogami on his Rock Lobster upright bike, which he uses for daily commuting and Dennis Grelk with his Barracuda streamliner, 25 points. Sixth was Tedd and Donna Wheeler on their BikeE tandem, 17 points.

         Our thanks go to Mark Berend, a friend of Mike Mowett, who brought his grill to the track, bought the food (for which he was reimbursed) and cooked the chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. There were perhaps 50 people eating. With so much time spent next to the grill, Mark may have been the only person there who was warm (albeit smoky). Making his long day longer, his vehicle ran out of gas while he and his family were going home.
         Thanks also to Mike Mowett, who ordered the 30th anniversary cake from the nearby Kroger's.
         A special guest was former International HPV Association President Marti Daily, who drove with  her friend from Indianapolis, in time for the barbecue and reminiscing with old friends. Because Marti had to work Sunday at Home Depot, she and her friend left after dinner and drove home.

Fran Kowalik and three of his kids (left) apply the condiments during the barbecue following Saturday's events. Mark Berend did the cooking on the grill he brought to the track, as well as buying the food.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

After dinner, Donna Wheeler, who handled everything involving the 30th anniversary T-shirts, presented special yellow shirts to Mike Eliasohn of St. Joseph and Terry Gerweck of Monroe, who started the first Michigan rally in 1983 in Monroe and have been involved ever since.  (For those doing the math, instead of the Michigan HPV Rally, in 1989, the Michigan HPV Association conducted the International HP Speed Championships in 1989 and the Michigan HP Speed Challenge in 2009.)

Michael Hinterseher moved last August from Germany to Farmington Hills with his family and his Milan SL velomobile. He commutes in it to work at Bosch. He spectated and took photos at the rally on Saturday, then competed on Sunday. He finished first in the streetliner class in the 200-foot sprints (39.77 mph) and in the 20 lap/12-mile road race.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)


Flying start 200-foot sprint: Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, U-T, 45.74 mph, 2) rider?, R-H Celeritas, 42.17 mph.  Streetliner – 1) Michael Hinterseher, Farmington Hills, Milan SL velomobile, 39.77 mph, 2) Wally Kiehler, 34.71 mph.  Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 38.73 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 35.97 mph. Women – 1) Dora Cortez (29.84 mph). Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 31.06 mph, 2) Bruce Gordon, 27.77 mph.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 36.09 mph, 2) Cecelia Kowalik, 20.86 mph. Tandem – Mike Moorhead and Calvin Moes, 33.45 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 27.27 mph.

On the short six-tenths of a mile course used Sunday morning, there was plenty of close racing. From left, Mike Moorhead, Mike Mowett, Jim Iwaskow, Dennis Grelk and ???.  Mike Mowett on his Morciglio M1 won the 15 lap/9 mile race.  (Bill Frey photo)

20 lap/12-mile road race for faster vehicles:  Streamliners – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) rider?, R-H Celeritas.  Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 2) Wally Kiehler.
15 lap/9 mile road race for slower vehicles:  Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Women – 1) Dora Cortez. Tricycles – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Daryl Hanger.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecila Kowalik.  Tandem – 1) Matt Skorian and Louis Vaught, R-H (only competitors).

Prior to the start of the Sunday morning (I think) 20 lap/12 mile road race are, from rear, Wally Kiehler, Dennis Grelk, Amanda (standing) Zolyniak and her husband, Dan, from Toronto. The Zolyniaks were members of the University of Toronto HPV team. Now graduated, they built their own streamliner. Other than using a U-T mold for the fairing, the streamliner is their own design. They took turns racing it at Waterford Hills. On Sunday, Dan rode in the first race and Amanda in the second. In the 200-foot sprints, both had the same speed, 33.48 mph.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

George Cooney of Royal Oak demonstrated his monocycle on Saturday. It's propelled like a scooter, that is, standing on one foot and pushing with the other. Pulling down on the handlebars provides added "thrust."  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30th Michigan HPV Rally T-shirt, jersey

We can't have a 30th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally  without a T-shirt and thanks to Donna Wheeler of Reed City, we do. We also will have cycling jerseys. 
The white short sleeve shirt will have the full-color design on the front.  The cost is $12.  To order, e-mail Donna at State how many shirts you want and the sizes. Payment can be made at the rally (cash or make out check to Donna Wheeler) and shirts can be picked up then. Orders need to be placed no later than Monday, May 5.
Donna will take orders for jerseys at the rally or send her an e-mail beforehand. The jerseys will be available about 3-4 weeks after the event. The jerseys will be fitted shirts, white with black lower sleeves, with a zip-up front and pockets in the backThe design will be on the front, with sponsors on the back.  Jerseys will cost $55, plus $6 shipping, if necessary.
Donna  would like to have at least 10 orders for the jerseys. Here's a sizing chart, though it may not be readable even with a magnifying glass.

Information about the Michigan HPV Rally is below the entry about the MHPVA annual meeting.

Monday, April 7, 2014

MHPVA annual meeting - March 22, 2014


JOHN WILLIAMS of Harrison Township showed the wood bike he built about four years ago, using plans sold by James Robinson of San Angelo, Texas. The frame is made mostly of 2x4s, glued together with WEST SYSTEM epoxy (made by Gougeon Brothers Inc. in Bay City). He said it rides rough. "I call it my park bike," he said, meaning he mostly rides it for short distances in area parks. "It's mostly for fun."

Report by Mike Eliasohn

     About 20 people attended the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Association annual meeting Saturday, March 22, at the TechShop in Allen Park.
     Prior to the meeting, TechShop event coordinator Ashley Kratzke led attendees on a tour of the facility, which for anyone who likes to build anything, was/is terrific!  Among the equipment available for members to use are computers with modeling software; 3D printers; milling machines; laser cutters that can cut wood, plastic and glass; welders; English wheels for forming parts from sheet metal (one part seen looked very much like a fender for a classic fat-tire cruiser); and a powder coater.
     During the tour, one man was building a prototype of a four-engine aerial drone. A man and a woman were building a Greenland kayak, which has a frame of wood ribs, lashed together with nylon cord (no glue, nails or screws).  There was a casket converted into an outdoor grill, mounted on a trailer. Half of the space normally occupied by the deceased housed a grill; the other half was a sink. Picnic anyone?

Two more views of John Williams' beautifully constructed wood bike.  The bottom bracket axle fits through a slot in the 2x4 boom tube, thus allowing  the BB position to be adjustable forward and backward (photo below).

      During the meeting, officers and board members elected were: President, Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores; vice president, Mike Eliasohn, St. Joseph; secretary, Paul Pancella, Kalamazoo, who was absent; treasurer, Bruce Gordon, Buchanan; and members at-large, Wally Kiehler, Grosse Pointe Woods, and Bob Krzewinski, Ypsilanti.
      Bruce replaces Bill Frey, treasurer since 2002 and long active in the MHPVA before then, who chose not to seek reelection. Bruce had been a board member at-large and the other at-large member, Rick Wianecki of Okemo, who also did not want to be reelected. Wally was MHPVA president from 1998-2008 and Bob runs the Wolver-Bents website ( and edits the MHPVA site.

TechShop event coordinator Ashley Kratzke shows the MHPVA group the wood shop during a tour of the facility in Allen Park.  There are eight TechShops around the country. For more information, go to

      With Bill Frey absent, Mike Mowett presented Bill's final financial report.  It showed 2013 Michigan HPV Rally expenses of $985 and the MHPVA ending 2013 with $1,517 in the bank.
      Wally and Bob also talked about their forthcoming 4,200 mile, nine-week trip which starts June 14 in  Seattle and ends Aug. 16 in Boston. They wanted to ride their Lightning F-40 streamline bikes (Doug Grossjean's F-40 can be seen behind John Williams in the top photo), but the tour organizers, Cycle America, insisted on bikes that will fit on a motor vehicle bike rack, so they will be riding unfaired Lightning P-38s. 
      The Cycle America tour includes three meals a day, camping and showers.
      During the tour, Wally will be blogging about his journey, with hoped-for daily updates. Go to www.crazyguyonbike, then click on "journal," then "wallyk." This will be a one-stop deal for me," Wally said. "I'm not going to do it again."
     He and Bob will be newly retired from their jobs, which will give them the time to undertake their trip. The Cycle America route will go through Michigan. The participants will cross Lake Michigan on the Badger ferry, which docks in Ludington, then have overnight stops in Farwell, Frankenmuth and Memphis.
     Mike Mowett reviewed the proposed schedule of events for the 30th annual Michigan HPV Rally May 17-18. The concensus of those attending was to keep the events and schedule as-is, rather than making any changes.
     Mike M. also talked about a proposed 100-mile tour through Detroit and the Detroit area and showed various satellite phones of various oval test and race tracks in Michigan and nearby that could be used for future HPV events.

This four-wheel creation seen at the TechShop was built for some type of Star Wars building competition. Look past the outrigger wheel  and you can see a short-wheelbase recumbent.