Sunday, October 6, 2019

Personal best and oh-so-close at Battle Mountain

My thanks to Prof. Jun Nogami of the University of Toronto Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering , adviser to its HPV team and head timer at the Battle Mountain event for allowing me to use photos and some information for this report from his blog, “Biking in a Big City.” To see his extensive reporting on and photos of the event, go to
There’s also a report there by Evan Bennewies, who was the back half of the University of Toronto’s Titan, which set a tandem record.

By Mike Eliasohn

The 20th annual World Human Powered Speed Challenge outside of Battle Mountain, Nev., held Sept. 8-14, drew a record number of entrants, with 17 vehicles, and 29 riders, compared to 13 vehicles and 20 riders last year.
Among them were Mike Mowett of Detroit, who shared (not at the same time) his Velox X-S streamliner with Ishtey Amminger of Memphis, Tenn., who has competed at the Michigan HPV Rally every year since 2015.

Ishtey Amminger in the Velox X-S gets closer to the junior record on this 63.7 mph run.

Mike bought the streamliner, constructed by Hans van Vugt of the Netherlands, in January 2018 from Garrie Hill of Granville, Ohio. Since then came many changes, improvements and modifications, which continued at the event. Peter Amminger (Ishtey's father) and Mike worked on average about six hours a day on the Velox – in between and after the two sessions of races in the morning and evening.  Mike said the amount of work, little sleep, and the long 2,000 mile drive to get to Battle Mountain in two days really sapped his energy from racing during the week.

The Velox X-S team consisted of, from left, brothers Willam and Ishtey Amminger, their father, Peter Amminger, and Mike Mowett.

Competitors have a 5-mile run-up on State Road 305 before entering the 200-meter timing zone. The elevation is 4,619 feet, so the resulting thin air reduces air resistance.
Mike’s goal, after competing at Battle Mountain three previous times, was to finally go 60 mph. He made four runs, finally hitting 60.53 mph on Saturday morning and earning a 60 mph hat.
Ishtey’s goal was to exceed the junior men’s (age 15-17) record of 65.93 mph/106.10kph, set by Florian Kowalik of Deerfield, Ill. (a past Michigan HPV Rally competitor) at Battle Mountain in 2016, riding the same Velox X-S (then owned by Garrie).
Ishtey made 11 runs during the week and exceeded Florian’s record on Friday evening at 66.67 mph and Saturday evening at 66.6 mph. but both were classified as wind "non-legal', so were not official. (Under International HPV Association rules, to be legal, the wind cannot exceed 6 kph/[1.67] meters per second in any direction.) And he’s 17, his last year of eligibility for the junior record.

Mike Mowett made one run without the top half of the fairing, which gives an idea of the interior layout. He and Ishtey are both about 5’10”, so both could ride the Velox X-S without seat or crank adjustments.

Incidentally, the fastest the Velox X-S has gone is 70.27 mph, piloted by Ellen van Vugt (Hans’ wife) at Battle Mountain in 2012.
That leads to the question, if the X-S “peaked” in 2012, why did Mike and Peter have to do so much work to prepare the bike for Battle Mountain this year. Here’s Mike’s much abbreviated (and edited) answer: When Ellen rode the Velox X-S, it was set up very well by Hans. Then it was stripped apart and sold to Garrie in 2013, with just basically then body, no wheels, no drivetrain and no seat.
Garrie requested it that way from Hans, so he could just get it cheap, and Garrie had this plan to change the bike from a rear-wheel-drive to front-wheel-drive with twisting chain.

Mike Mowett is inside, pedaling furiously, during this qualifying run.

Garrie did start making parts for the Velo X-S, but he got behind in his plans and Florian really wanted to ride it for the junior record. In 2016, as it was Florian’s last year as a Junior.
Garrie started putting the X-S back together as it was originally designed. Garrie had to cut and narrow the front and rear wheel. Unbeknownst to him, both of these wheels had major issues not discovered until this year by Pete, Hans and I. Hans pounded the heck out of Garrie’s wheel to shift it about 5 mm sideways to take care of the high speed shake we were having.
Garrie built a seat which put pur heads too high, wedged against the top to the point of being unsafe to ride. After I talked with Garrie he quickly sent me another seat with a more lower and laidback design that solved this.
Fran Kowalik (Florian’s father) and others at Battle Mountain made a huge effort in a very short time to get something together for Florian to make those runs and set the record in 2016. It was all cobbled together and only like four gears worked, when nine gears should have worked. 
All that got torn out and I started over in July and had something working after trying six different derailleurs, then grinding a derailleur, the body and the derailleur mount to finally get one derailleur to shift across 10 of 11 gears. At Battle Mountain we had to manually put the chain on the 11th gear (the lowest and easiest gear) before we started. This worked.
Beyond that, Pete and I, along with Hans, added a front wheel shroud that Hans originally designed, and his lower rolling resistance tires. BUT the biggest thing the bike still lacked was a set of $500 each super low rolling resistance Michelin radial tires that Ellen probably used to go 70 mph back in 2012.

There was one other competitor from Michigan, Andrew Sourk of Detroit in his homebuilt Triage three-wheeler (above).

After first competing with his machine in 2016 and completing only one run at 18.6 mph, Andrew made many improvements, his goal this year being to make it to the end of the course. He succeeded in one of three runs, reaching a speed of 28.72 mph. 
On the following run, his wheels developed an oscillation, which caused him to crash in the speed trap.  He finished the run by carrying his vehicle across the finish line. Jun Nogami reported Andrew "knows now that his trike has a tendency to shake itself to pieces around 30 mph," so hopefully he will keep working to improve it. 

Andrew Sourk (left) of Detroit, with his father, who helped him during the Speed Challenge, at the awards banquet.

During the week, three riders exceeded the women’s record of 75.69 mph, set by Barbara Buatois of France in 2010. Coming out on top, on Friday evening, was Ilona Peltier at 78.61 mph in Altair 6 from the Annecy University Institute of Technology in Annecy, France.

Mike Mowett, wearing his 60 mph hat and the 2019 World Human Powered Speed Challenge T-shirt (artwork by C. Michael Lewis).

Here’s some of Mike’s comments after he got home to Detroit, emailed to Mike Eliasohn:
Basically after the 2,000 mile drive for me and 1,800 miles for The Ammingers, Pete (Ishtey’s dad) and I spent the next six days and nights working on the Velo X-S. All told I think our days ran from about 6:30 a.m. wakeup to get out to the course until up to about 2:30 a.m. the next day, still working on the bike.
From the time we arrived, the Velo X-S got new tires (donated to us by Hans van Vugt), a front wheel alignment, also by Hans as he knows the bike so well, having built it. This he did with a hammer and screwdriver.
Side note: it took me four hours and having to cut off a tire to change it because our high performance tires were not compatible with the rear wheel rim. We added a speedometer, GPS, video camera, walkie talkie radio with headphones and push-to- talk button.
We added front wheel enclosure for improved aerodynamics, along with taping wheel openings closed with a flexible skirt made of neoprene. We visited the local NAPA, CarQuest and hardware store for fasteners, Bondo, paint, tape etc.
A big problem we had to overcome during the week was having our toes and heels hitting within the fairing. Pete brilliantly moved our cleats around well outside the normal for a cycling shoe by drilling new holes in the bottom of the shoes, Then finally we had to cut off the toes on my shoes.
Later in the week, on Friday, we upgraded the gearing, making it about 20 percent higher for more speed and that helped Ishtey and I go our fastest speeds.
Examples of the behind the scenes helpfulness and borrowing of parts: . Hans set this “deal” up. I got tires from Hans and he got one of the special $500 Michelin tires from the Italians and Ellen went her fastest ever 72 mph and was very very pleased. The team of the second fastest woman, from Italy, borrowed a 12 tooth gear cog off my cross bike to allow her to go that fast.

Ishtey Amminger during the awards banquet.  He's 17, so we will assume what's in the bottle is non-alcoholic.

And here’s Peter Amminger’s report:
With Battle Mountain 2019, I think frustrating is the best summary I can offer.. Given the immense effort and sacrifice expended toward reaching a goal, and then not quite delivering, can be nothing, but frustration.
Even though Ishtey on numerous occasions reach above records speeds, and raced in every a.m. and p.m. session throughout the week, the goal was just not to be had; whether because of divine intervention or merely bad luck.
It is especially irksome that on at least two of his fastest runs he had by the end of the week, there was “legal” wind for the racers running in front and behind Ishtey .....what else can I say?
I guess I shouldn't be so hard on our efforts; it is rather remarkable that given the multiple modifications and untested state of the bike by Waterford 2019 (Aug. 10-11) and upon reaching Battle Mountain, and the real lack of seat time anyone had in the bike by the start, we had a over 95 percent launch success rate; no race “scratches,” no crashes; had 100 percent successful runs at each and every a.m. and p.m. racing session during the entire week; and finally that routinely we saw speeds up to 96 percent of what this bike ever achieved in its prime.
In fact during one of Ishtey's runs, the session was so windy that the officials initially wanted to, but could only technically recommend it be cancelled. A few brave ones, including Ishtey went on to race; here the little junior achieved by far the fastest run at 58 mph in that pm race session, over some of the adult heavy hitters also competing. Ishtey was literally being blown from one side of the road way to the other while going down the track; it was terrifying for me to watch from the following chase vehicle!
If nothing else, the racer, the team exhibited an extraordinary degree of determination, but alas the record was just not to be had: only the bitter fruit of frustration....
Just to clarify, by the time you include the short drive to and from getting Ishtey's brother Will back to school, our travels this year exceeded 2,000 miles each way to Battle Mountain.
This was by far the best year with respect to the drive, as Ishtey and Will together did at least half the driving combined, while I peacefully slept and rested, exhausted from my expenditure of energy during the week. We got home by 6 a.m. Monday morning, just in time for Ishtey to make his first class of the week.

Our friends at the University of Toronto weren't at this year's Michigan HPV Rally (after nine straight years) because they were busy creating the Titan tandem.  They arrived at Battle Mountain on the Wednesday prior to the start of the World Human Powered Speed Challenge with a lot of work to do yet, didn't get it running on its wheels until Saturday and made their first complete run on the course on Wednesday.  But their efforts succeeded.  On Friday evening, they set then tandem men's record at 74.73 mph, breaking the old mark set in 2012 of 73.08 mph. Calvin Moes (fourth from left) was the pilot; the stoker (facing backward) was Evan Bennewies (fifth from left).  At left is faculty team adviser Jun Nogami. (Thank you Jun for use of the photos and information from your blog.)

All the speeds recorded during the week and other information can be seen at, then at the upper right, click on "WHPSC."  
The 2020 World Human Powered Speed Challenge will be Sept. 13-19 at Battle Mountain.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

35th annual Michigan HPV Rally

In the 1-hour time trial Saturday morning, Mike Mowett of Detroit on his carbon fiber Morciglio M1  passes Charles Brown of Dearborn on the wood frame bike he built.  Mike finished 2nd in the 1-hour; Charles, 8th.

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

The 35th annual Michigan HPV Rally took place Aug. 10-11, 2019, at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkson, the location every year since 1986. 
There were only 24 entries, down from 31 last year.  Human Powered Race America events in North Manchester, Ind., and Northbrook-Kenosha also had lower turnouts than past years. (In comparison, at the 2016 rally, there were 37 competitors and 41 HPVs.)
Among the missing were the University of Toronto, which last year had three streamliners, two manufactured recumbents and five riders at the rally, and a few regulars, so hopefully next year we will have more competitors.
The consensus was there will be a 36th annual rally next year, despite the decision of Tedd and Donna Wheeler of Reed City that this would be their third and final year as rally organizers and Bruce Gordon of Buchanan that after several years of doing the timing and scoring, this would be his final time.
So thank you Tedd, Donna and Bruce.  Help will be needed to organize and run the 2020 rally. Hopefully there will be a date available on the Waterford Hills schedule so we can return the rally to May or June.
To celebrate our 35th, a barbecue was planned for Saturday evening at the track, but it had to be cancelled a couple of days prior. But thanks to competitor Dave Johnson of Olivet and his wife, Andrea Funk, owner of, for buying pizza and soft drinks for that evening. (Free plug = free food.)
Two scheduled events, standing start kilometer on Saturday and tricycle race on Sunday, were not held.
Here's the top three in each class:
Streamliner (4 entrants): 1) Dan Zolyniak, Toronto, Ontario, Mistral streamliner built by him and his wife, Amanda, 350 points; 2) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa, Barracuda streamliner built by Warren Beauchamp, 330; 3) John Simon, Portland, Moby streamliner built by Terry Hreno, 310.
Streetliner (4):  1) Tony Levand, Lemont, Ill., homebuilt two-wheeler, 340; 2) Jeff Hunn, North Manchester, Ind. velomobile, 315; 3) Eric Winn, Brighton, Blue Velo Strada velomobile, 290.

Great White was suffering from indigestion, so Dave Johnson left the streamliner's fairing at home in Olivet and raced the bare carbon fiber bike built by Rick Wianecki in the stock class. He finished third overall .

Stock (9): 1) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt, 335; 2) Robert Lloyd, Whitmore Lake, homebuilt, 305; 3) David Johnson, Olivet, Great White streamliner minus fairing, 249.
Women (1) Amanda Zolyniak of Toronto, Raptor low racer built by her and her husband, Dan, was the lone competitor, 300.
Tricycle (2):  1) David Hull, Pepper Pike, Ohio, Holdsworth upright tricycle, 360, 2) Eric Penn, Detroit, Catrike Pocket, 225.
Junior (4): 1) Johannes Hinterseher, Novi, age 13, Trident folding tricycle (often on two wheels), 355; 2) Cameron Lloyd, age 12, Whitmore Lake, modified Rans Enduro, 320; 3) Amalie Hinterseher, upright bike, 155; 4) Elisabeth Hinterseher, upright bike, 145.  The Hintersehers are the children of Michael and Linnae Hinterseher. Michael finished fourth in the streetliner class.

Tony Levand of Lemont, Ill., won the streetliner class in his homebuilt machine.  Somehow the fairing has room for Tony, a 20-inch front wheel and 700c rear. It's front wheel drive.  (Photo from 2018.)

Here's the top two in each event:
One hour time trial:  Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 23 laps (1.4 mile laps), 31.53 mph average speed, 2) Dan Zolyniak, 22 laps, 29.966 mph. Streetliner – 1) Tony Levand, 20 laps,26.969 2) Michael Hinterseher, Novi, Milan SL velomobile, 18 laps, 23.845 mph. Stock – 1) Dennis Grelk, 19 laps, 26.358xx miles, 2) Mike Mowett, Detroit, Morciglio M1, 19 laps, 25.925 mph.  Women – 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 15 laps, 20.081mph.  Tricycle – 1) David Hull, 13 laps, 17.462 mph, 2) Eric Penn, 11 laps, 18.813 mph.  Junior – 1) Johannes Hinterseher, 11 laps, 14.615 mph, 2) Amalie Hinterseher, 8 laps, 10.547 mph.
Hot laps (time for fastest single lap of 1.4 mile track): Streamliner – 1) John Simon, 54.483 sec., 2) Dan Zolyniak, 56.856.  Streetliner – 1) Tony Levand, 53.833 sec., 2) Jeff Hunn, 1:06.152.  Stock – 1) Joseph Solecki, Royal Oak, Schlitter high racer, 56.011 sec., 2) Ishtey Amminger, Memphis, Tenn., Cruzbike 57.506.  Women – Amanda Zolyniak did not compete.  Tricycle – 1) David Hull, 1:23.137, 2) Eric Penn, 1:32.035.  Junior – 1) Cameron Lloyd, 1:30.872, 2) Johannes Hinterseher, 1:34.09.

For the second year in a row, Amanda Zolyniak of Toronto was the lone competitor in the women's class.  She's shown here during the Sunday morning road race. She completed 18 of the 20 laps at an average speed of 19.963 mph.  She and husband, Dan, built her carbon fiber Raptor low racer.

Hill climb: Streamliner – 1) Dan Zolyniak, 24.85 seconds, 2) John Simon, 26.34.  Streetliner – 1) Michael Hinterseher, 23.59, 2) Eric Winn, 27.25.  Stock – 1) Joseph Solecki, 18.5, 2) Eric Winn, 23.72.  Women – 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 27.94.  Tricycle – 1) David Hull, 23.10, 2) Eric Penn, 25.44.  Junior – 1) Johannes Hinterseher, 32.75, 2) Cameron Lloyd, 41.46.
Coast down:  Streamliner – 1) Dan Zolyniak, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Streetliner – 1) Jeff Hunn, 2) Tony Levand.  Stock – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Robert Lloyd, Whitmore Lake, homebuilt mid-racer. Women – 1) Amanda Zolyniak.  Tricycle – 1) Eric Winn, 2) David Hull.  Junior –  1) Johannes Hinterseher, 2) Cameron Lloyd.
Urban transportation contest: There were seven competitors. Scores were based on: 1) Evaluation for such features as lights, rearview mirrors, fenders and other “weather protection” features, cargo carrying capacity, carrying a lock and visibility; 2 and 3) finishing position in the hill climb and coast down and 4) time in the obstacle course, which tested maneuverability, speed and braking.

In the urban transportation contest, Dennis Grelk approaches the end of the obstacle course, where the goal was to stop quickly and smoothly.  With his Surly Pugsley fat bike, shown here, plus his streamliner and stock class low racer, Dennis was the only competitor taking part in every event. And after the rally was over, he and his mother, Mary, drove more than 500 miles home to Donnellson, Iowa.

1) Joe Solecki, Royal Oak, Schlitter Encore high racer, 26 points, 2) Tim Potter, Okemos, 1983 Nishiki Seral upright bike, 23 points; and 3) Dennis Grelk, Surly Pugsley upright fat bike, 21 points.  
Although Joe's very laid back high racer is not the kind of bike one would think of for "practical" riding, of the seven UTC competitors, he scored first in the hill climb and coast down and second on the obstacle course. 
His bike lacked fenders and a horn or bell, but had lights front and rear, reflectors, bags big enough to carry two bags of groceries (he said he sometimes uses the bike for shopping runs), a lock, tools, tire pump and inner tube or patch kit.  
Tim uses his bike for his daily 6-mile commute to his job as manager of MSU Bikes, the on-campus bicycle shop.  The evaluation score for his bike was 18 points; Joe had 17, but outscored Tim in the hill climb, coast down and obstacle course.

In the one-hour time trial Saturday morning, Joe Solecki of Royal Oak on his Schlitter Encore leads Ishtey Amminger of Memphis, Tenn., on his Cruzbike. Joe finished 4th in the event; Ishtey was 5th.

Another view of Ishtey, on his front-wheel-drive, moving bottom bracket Cruzbike. Behind him during Sunday morning's 12-mile road race.  Behind him is Johannes Hinterseher on a Trident.  Ishtey finished second in the stock class in this event; Johannes was first in the junior class.

200-foot flying start sprint: Streamliner – Dan Zolyniak, 41.27 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 41.04 mph. Streetliner – 1) Tony Levand, 38.73 mph, 2) Michael Hinterseher, 38.61 mph. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 38.72 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 37.56 mph. Women – 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 30.68 mph. Tricycle – 1) David Hull, 26.61 mph. Junior – 1) Johannes Hinterseher, 23.07; 2) Amalie Hinterseher, 22.56 mph.
35 lap/21 mile road race (course does not include hill; each lap is .6 mile): Streamliner – 1) Dan Zolyniak, 36 laps, 27.192 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 26 laps, 26.217 mph. Streetliner – 1) Tony Levand, 35 laps, 27.402 mph, 2) Jeff Hunn, not recorded.
20 lap/12 mile road race: Stock – 1) Dennis Grelk, 21 laps, 24.188 mph, 2) Ishtey Amminger, 20 laps, 22.731 mph. Women – 1) Amanda Zolyniak, 18 laps, 19.963 mph. Tricycle – 1) David Hull, 16 laps, 18.127 mph. Junior – 1) Johannes H., 15 laps, 16.243 mph, 2) Cameron Lloyd, 13 laps, 14.589 mph.

Complete race results here:

Except for the hill climb/coast down.  Those results here:

Rob Lloyd's photos can be seen at:

Tedd (standing) and Donna Wheeler of Reed City decided the 35th Michigan HPV Rally would be their last as organizers and Bruce Gordon of Buchanan would be his last doing the scoring and timing.  Thank you Tedd, Donna and Bruce. But others will need to step up to keep our event going.

Charles Brown on his homebuilt wood frame bike.  He built the bike from poplar wood in 2002, when living in Florida. "I was trying to build something that was easy to live with – with good steering, ride, comfortable rider position, etc., but it wasn't build for speed," he said in an email. But now that's back in the Detroit area, he's thinking about building a long wheelbase wood bike, which would better cope with the area's bumpy streets.

Glenn Gehrke of Davisburg, who races a car at Waterford Hills, stopped by on Aug. 10 to see if anything was going on and discovered the Michigan HPV Rally.  Here, Linnae Hinterseher, who did not compete, shows Glenn her QuattroVelo four-wheel velomobile.  

These two sandhill cranes were observers of Sunday morning's top speed event until they decided to take off, literally.  Unfortunately, I (Mike E.) wasn't able to photograph both cranes in flight.  (Thank you, Donna Wheeler, for knowing these were sandhill cranes.)

If you find things in this report that need correcting, or want to help with the Michigan HPV Rally in 2020, please contact

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

High and low at the HPV Rally

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

Robert Lloyd of Whitmore Lake on his homebuilt mid-racer and David Hull of Pepper Pike, Ohio, on his Holdsworth tricycle, prior to the start of Sunday morning's 9-mile road race.

There's always some especially interesting vehicles at the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally. Here's a look at two of them at the 2019 rally, Rob Lloyd's homebuilt mid-racer and David Hull's upright Holdsworth tricycle.

Here's Rob Lloyd with his homebuilt mid-racer on Sunday morning.  The frame may look like carbon fiber, but it's steel, painted flat black.

Rob first appeared at the Michigan HPV Rally in 2017 with his then-new homebuilt long wheelbase bike, which he later modified with a larger front wheel.  (See blog entries July 16, 2017, and Aug. 15, 2018.)
He first raced his new short wheelbase creation at the Northbrook/Kenosha weekend July 27-28, but had problems with the chain jumping off the idler wheel. But he had that problem resolved in time for the Michigan rally.
Rob said on a 12-mile loop in a state park that he often rides, he averages 2 mph faster on his new bike than he did on his old homebuilt and on a Rans he also rode.
The mid-racer weighs about 30 pounds; wheels are 700c rear/650c front.
Rob maintained a build diary with lots of in-progress photos on Go to "specialty discussions," then "homebuilders" and finally "midracer."
What's next, he said, is building a similar bike for son Cameron, 12, who finished second in the junior class on his modified Rans Endure. And if Rob gets that done in time, "I do want to put  on some bodywork for next year."  (As of early September, Rob started a build diary for his son's bike on, under the heading, "mid racer -- for a shorter rider.")

Rob Lloyd during the 1-hour time trial Saturday morning.  He finished third in the stock class, finishing 18 1.4-mile laps at an average speed of 24.063 mph.  For the weekend, he finished second overall in the stock class.

In the 35 years of the Michigan HPV Rally, two other upright English tricycles have made an appearance, but neither was raced. David Hull was the first to compete.
David is from the U.K., but has lived in the U.S. for about 30 years. He said he put the trike together about three years ago.
He later told me (Mike) in an email that he has a photo of his grandfather riding a trike in the 1950s, so "wanted to try one for myself. I quickly realized they are hard to come by over here, but found a guy in the U.K. who was willing to ship me the axle."
He then found the 1972 Holdsworth two-wheeler at Ohio City Bicycle Co-op in Cleveland, where he volunteers.  David did all the work himself to mate the axle with the frame, including building the rear wheels.
(Holdsworth started in 1922, selling cycling clothing by mail order, and began making bicycles apparently in 1933. It made conversion axles from 1935-75. Holdsworth bicycles are still being made – – but no tricycles.)
He mentioned that in the old days in the U.K., before indoor trainers and rollers were common, many cyclists fitted a conversion axle so they could ride safely on three wheels through the winter months, then when spring returned, remove the axle and reinstalled the single rear wheel. 
Some background:  Quality two-wheels-in-the rear tricycles currently are made in the U.K. by Longstaff Cycles and Trykit Conversions/Geoff Booker. They make them rom scratch as three-wheelers, which results in proper geometry and lighter weight.  For instance, there's two rear stays, which extend outward from the top of the seat tube to the outer ends of the rear axle. (Trykit also makes a conversion axle.)

In contrast, David's conversion keeps the rear stays of the original frame, plus two bolted-on stays extend from the seat tube to the outer ends of the axle.

Traditional British trikes, such as David's, only drive the left wheel and there's two brakes on the front wheel, but none in the rear.  The conversion axle fits within the rear stays in order to lower the bottom bracket, hence the center of gravity, plus it moves the rider's weight rearward, which increased stability.

To stay upright on corners, trike riders have to do a lot of leaning, often more than shown here, during the Sunday morning road race.

David did win the tricycle class, but there was only one other competitor, Eric Penn, on a recumbent Catrike Pocket and he only competed on Saturday. Sunday's scheduled tricycles-only race was cancelled.
But still, his performance was impressive.  In the one-hour time trial Saturday morning, he rode ten 1.4-mile laps at an average speed of 17.462 mph.  He had the second fastest time overall in the hill climb, 23.10 seconds (but was 20th in the coast down).  He averaged 18.127 mph in Sunday morning's 9-mile road race. And in the 200-foot flying start sprint, he did 26.61 mph.

To read more about upright British tricycles, go to and the March 9, 2017, entry on this blog. Roman Road Cycles, which built two-wheels-in-front upright trikes, one of which is shown in the blog article, is no longer in business. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Owosso Bike Fest 2019

For fans of "non-usual bicycles," there were two events in Michigan on the weekend of Aug. 10-11, forcing them to choose attending one or the other.
There was the 35th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally, of course, but also the 15th annual Owosso Bike Fest, for those interested in cruisers, stretch cruisers, vintage bikes and that sort of thing.
Michigan HPV Rally co-founder Terry Gerweck chose Owosso. 
The official Bike Fest was on Sunday and included showing and selling bikes.
Prior to that, Terry reports, on Friday evening was a peddlers pub crawl, then on Saturday afternoon, a 22+ mile ride from Owosso to Ovid and back on the Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail.  On Sunday was another ride, to Corunna and back, which included a visit to the bicycle museum iat the park in that community.
Terry took six used bikes from Jack's Bicycles in Monroe to the Bike Fest and sold three of them and one of his own, which he also sold.
Here's his photos.

Monday, April 15, 2019

ASME HPV teams compete at MSU

Michigan State University will again host the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge in 2020 as part of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers E-Fest North April 3-5.  For more information, go to
The competition is only open to engineering students, but for HPVers well past college age, it's great fun to watch and to talk to students.
As it says below, only ONE team from Michigan, from host MSU, competed in 2019 (but three teams came from Egypt!). If anyone reading this has any connections with other Michigan colleges and universities with mechanical engineering programs, please contact them and suggest they take part in 2020.  

By Mike Eliasohn

Fifty college and university teams competed in the  American Society of Mechanical Engineers Human Powered Vehicle Challenge - North April 5-7 at Michigan State University.  Teams came from as far as Egypt (three of them) and as near as MSU.  
Within the continental United States, competitors came from as far away as Oklahoma, Washington state, South Dakota and Florida (four of them).  There also were two teams from Puerto Rico.
But from within the state of Michigan, the only entry was from host MSU. (According to, 22 colleges and universities in Michigan have four-year mechanical engineering programs, plus nine community colleges have presumably associate degree ME programs.)

Here's the entry (front) from Alexandria University in Egypt, lining up for a drag race again the University of Akron entry. (The U.A. entry finished 4th overall for the three days.)  An example of clever engineering:  Since it had to go on an airplane, the fairing breaks down into eight pieces, to fit inside one suitcase.  If the author's memory of what he was told is correct, the three Egyptian teams endured a 13-hour flight to New York, then a 12-hour drive to East Lansing.  (Jun Nogami photo)

Here's four members of the Alexandria University team and their vehicle, minus the fairing (obviously). The tricycle comes apart in two pieces, also to ease transportation on the airplane.  There's a disk brake on each wheel, which for the front wheels required modification.  The 13-member team included three women.  They finished 13th overall. (Mike E. photo)

On Friday was the static judging, with each team's vehicle evaluated on factors including design, analysis, testing, safety and aesthetics.
On Saturday was the speed event, aka drag races, with two vehicles racing at a time. There were divisions for men and women, but both sexes from each team had to race the same vehicle.
Sunday was the 2-1/2 hour endurance race, on a Spartan Stadium parking lot. Points were awarded for laps completed, average speed, a weighted track bonus and penalties assessed for illegal start assistance, failure to stop at stop sign or completing the hairpin turn, etc., and safety violations.
Ultimately, there were overall scores from Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then teams were ranked.  Because of ties, the lowest scoring teams were ranked 44th.

      Photos by the author; Tim Potter, MSU sustainable transportation manager/manager of MSU Bikes, the on-campus bicycle shop; and Jun Nogami, faculty adviser to the University of Toronto team. and chairman of the UT Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Lining up for the start of one of the Saturday morning drag races is the entry from Ohio University (31), which finished first overall over the three days and South Dakota State University (1), which finished third overall.  The starter is Mark Archibald, faculty adviser to the Grove City (Penn.) College HPV team.  Most of the 50 entries were two-wheels-in-front recumbent tricycles. (Tim Potter photo)

After years of building streamliners for the ASME event, University of Toronto students this year built this "conventional" carbon fiber bike.  (Calvin Moes is shown in this photo.)  
 "... we had been thinking for several years that the way the ASME event (has) evolved away from speed and efficiency that an ordinary bike would do just fine," team adviser Jun Nogami said in an email.  "I think we proved it this year by winning all the dynamic events" and by finishing second overall..
Here's a brief description of the construction process from Prof. Nogami:  "Male forms for the frame halves were made in reshape, and then fibreglass molds were pulled from them. The layup was done in halves, and were a bit complicated as the inserts for the headset and bottom bracket were laid up in place. The chain stays and seat stays were done separately. We had molds, etc for the forks and the front wheel, but we ran out of time so we used stock parts."
Front and rear fairings were created for the bike, but they interfered with riding it, so they weren't used. (Jun Nogami photo; for more about the ASME competition and the UT bike, go to Jun's blog:

After about four hours at the ASME event, I (Mike E.) was headed for my car when I encountered Ali Ibrahim (on bike) and Hassan Ahmed from Cairo University in the parking lot. They said the team had previously built three-wheelers; this was their first two-wheeler, which finished 28th overall. "We like this kind of bike," Hassan said.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo of the  bike minus the rider, to show the details, nor did I cross paths with the third team from Egypt, from Assiut University, which finished 35th overall.

This is the vehicle from Michigan State University, with Emily Oswald of Grand Rapids on board.  The first-year entry from MSU finished 21st overall.  The team started with a TerraTrike (based in Grand Rapids), then "added on," including the ASME required roll bar and the Windwrap fairing.  Emily and the other student I (Mike E.) talked to were enthusiastic, so hopefully we will see the Spartans at the Michigan HPV Rally in August and future ASME events.  (Mike E. photo) 

 This is the entry from the other MSU at the ASME event – Mississippi State University in Starkville.  Horizontal  is Nick Hopkins; vertical is Reed McNeal.  The team finished 36th overall.    (Mike E. photo)

Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. presumably had the lone prone bike competition (I didn't see another one, but I didn't see all the entries.).  It had a 100 tooth chainring, driving a 3-speed hub.It finished 27th overall.  (Mike E. photo)

This is the interesting front-wheel-drive leaning tricycle from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. The team persuaded CruzBike to donate the moving bottom bracket front end, then built the rest.  The two trailing arms were machined using a water jet.  If I remember correctly, suspension is via torsion bar.  The 20-inch rear wheels are 18 inches apart. There's a switch to lock the trailing arms so the trike doesn't lean (for instance, when stopped at a stoplight); unlocked, it leans like – well, a two-wheel CruzBike.  UW-M finished 16th overall.  (Mike E. photo)

Here's the UW - Milwaukee "leaner" during the Sunday morning endurance race.  The rider is Anthony Pierson, who is president of the university's HPV group.  (Jun Nogami photo)

This is the other "leaner" at the ASME competition, from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.  Shown here during the Sunday morning endurance race, it finished 10th overall for the weekend.  (Jun Nogami photo)

Had there been a Pontiac Wide-Track award (if you know that reference, you're as old as the author), it would have gone to Southern Illinois University – Edwardsburg. In the photo are Holly Liebel and Tinna Sherman. (Apologies for my not writing down whom was whom.) The frame is aluminum tubing  the fairing is carbon fiber.  They said the very wide track added stability. Fortunately for the team, which finished 11th overall, the course for Sunday's endurance race didn't include a narrow gate for vehicles to pass through.  (As an apartment dweller and owner of a recumbent tricycle, a pet peeve of mine is that many manufactured recumbent trikes are too wide to go through doorways.  Not everyone owns a garage. Mike E. photo)

A rider staredown preceded the start of this drag race between the University of Vermont (front) and the Missouri University of Science and Technology "leaner."  ASME rules require roll bars, rider safety harnesses,, and, of course, helmets.  Vehicles without roll bars and safety harnesses are penalized. (Tim Potter photo)

Hers the entry from the University of Vermont in Burlington, the second year for the team. Their first-year effort used mountain bike forks to hold the two front wheels.  This year, they used Catrike spindles. A water jet was used to form the rear dropouts and part of the chain tensioner.  The team finished 19th overall.   (Mike E. photo)

This is the front-wheel-drive, front-wheel-steering entry from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., which finished 25th overall.  Rose-Hulman has participated in the Michigan HPV Rally, so hopefully we will see them again in August. (Jun Nogami photo)

At least one member of the Ohio University team was cruising around on this bike, which uses two belts (not chains) for the drive system.  (Mike E. photo) The frame is aluminum tubing, mostly bolted together.  It was built by Israel Urieli who retired from the OU mechanical engineering faculty in 2012. I emailed Izzi, who sent me this description (slightly edited):

"This was my electric assist bicyclewhich I built around 20 years ago with the help of Dan Sodomsky, who introduced me to belt drives for bicycles. After retiring and downsizing, I donated the bike to OU, but I had no idea that it would be used at the ASME event. I used to travel every morning on the bike path from my home to OU, and had a charge meter. Whenever I saw the battery discharging I would always be in shock, and pedal hard to charge the batteries. Also, I would hardly ever use brakes - going on a steep downhill I would simply use the motor as a generator and charge the batteries, so I would always come to OU with the batteries charged higher than when I left home."
To see his other recumbent creations, do an online search for "Israel Urieli," then click on "Izzi's home page," then "human powered vehicles."