Saturday, August 28, 2021

36th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally

By Mike Eliasohn
Photos by Mike Eliasohn and Kevin Shaw

Rick Toler of Dayton, Ohio, on his Hooker TT pursues (or drafts?) Ron Thompson of Bel Air, Md., on his innovative G4 front-wheel-drive bike.  Not sure which race. (Kevin Shaw photo)

Complete results are posted on, along with all of Kevin Shaw's photos. Go to "recumbent racing," then "HPRA racing results and pictures."

After a year of no events for human powered vehicle racers and enthusiasts, HPV racing resumed Aug. 21-22, 2021, with the Michigan HPV Rally at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkston, the location since 1986.  

The rally drew 20 competitors and 23 vehicles (Dennis Grelk and Daryl Hanger were the multi-vehicle competitors). Checking turnout since 2007 (from all the rallies reported on this blog), it was the lowest count since then; the next lowest was 24 in 2019.

Jonathan Walters of Cincinnati on his Velokraft NoCom won the stock class. There were 13 competitors in the class. (Mike Eliasohn photo)

Was the low count because of continuing concern over COVID, the hot and humid weather during the weekend, a weekend with too many people having conflicts and/or  continuing declining interest in HPV racing?.  We will have to wait until the 37th annual Michigan HPV Rally in 2022 to find out

The announcement of the rally published on this blog in January said prize money would be awarded to the top finishers in each class. Unfortunately, because of the low turnout, there wasn't enough entry fee money collected to pay the track rental fee and for insurance and have money left over to pay prize money. That is, we lost money on renting the track and paying the insurance, so the organizers paid the difference.

After a year of no HPV events, racing resumed with the start of the one-hour time trial on Saturday morning,  Two one-hour time trials were scheduled, with streamliners, streetliners and  tricycles scheduled in the first one and stock, junior, women and tandem classes scheduled in there other. But due to the low turnout, only one time trial was held for all classes. (ME photo)

Special mention needs to be made of the Grove City College HPV team, which came from Grove City, Pa., with five students (four of whom raced) and faculty adviser Kevin Shaw. 

The Grove City College HPV team, standing with their only vehicle built by current students, were, from left, Shawn Cook, Gina Kim, Alex Heisey, Connor Sees and Nathaniel Stuyck, plus faculty adviser Kevin Shaw (chemistry professor and former BMX racer). Four are mechanical engineering students; the fifth started in m.e., but is now majoring in management.  (ME photo)

Due to a mechanical problem, the bicycle built by current Grove City College students was only used in the urban transportation contest, ridden by Alex Heisey.  Gina Kim welded the frame.  It used a Rohloff 14-speed hub, previously used on another vehicle. The GCC team also raced a recumbent tricycle built by prior students, a Tour Easy recumbent and two manufactured upright bikes.  (ME photo)

The reduced turnout also resulted in cancellation of the noontime hot laps and tricycle race on Saturday (it was hot enough without doing any "hot" laps) and the two no-hill road races scheduled Sunday morning (faired classes in one and unpaired in the other) were condensed into one race.

Special thanks to Mike Mowett and Dennis Grelk, who in addition to competing, handled most of the the scoring, timing and results.
Here's a note from Mike M., co-organizer of the rally along with Mike Eliasohn:

Thank you all for coming to this event, which we believe is the longest running human powered vehicle event in the world.

Special thanks to all who volunteered their time to help during the event, whether it was setting up something, taping something down, running the stopwatch, calling out stuff over the radio, flipping lap counter cards, waving a flag, or moving a table and chairs..  It takes a village.  
Thank you for your patience as we worked through some glitches with our timing system for the Saturday morning one-hour.  Special thanks to Dennis Grelk for getting it running with a little bit of phone help from Warren Beauchamp, our long-time recumbents webmaster.  We didn't have the usual suspects there to run it.  
All told, the one-hour will never be fully accurate. I did the best we could given our recollections, speedo distances, Strava GPS speeds, and "who was in front of whom" statements, etc.

Charles Brown of Southfield completed his latest creation shortly before the rally.  In contrast to his previous wood frame bike, this one, made from steel tubing, had a higher bottom bracket and more laid-back seat for better aerodynamics. (ME photo)

Top finishers in each class were:

Streamliner (3 entries) – 1) Tony Levand, Lemond, Ill., homebuilt streamliner, 335 points, 2) Dan Glatch, Waterford, Wis., Milwaukee Flyer, 315, 3) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa, Barracuda. 240. 

Jeff Hunn of North Manchester, Ind., in a Quest velomobile, waits to start the hillclimb. Jeff was the lone competitor in the streetliner class, which requires riders to be able to start and stop without assistance.  (ME photo)

Superstreet (only entry) – Jeff Hunn, North Manchester, Ind., Quest velomobile, 360.
Stock (13 entries) – 1) Jonathan Walters, Cincinnati, Ohio, Velokraft NoCom, 345, 2) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa, homebuilt mid racer, 317, 3) Rob Lloyd, Whitmore Lake, homebuilt low racer, 282.
Junior (only entry) – Cameron Lloyd, age 14, Whitmore Lake, homebuilt by his father, 240.

Gina Kim competed on this Huffy mountain bike – with steel wheels and crank and off-road tires – because it was the only bike in the Grove City College stable small enough to fit her. Definitely not a bike made for racing, but she averaged 15.4 mph in the one-hour time trial (faster than two of her GCC classmates), reached 23.62 mph in the 200-foot sprint, averaged 15.5 mph in the 25-lap road race and won the women's class.  (KS photo)

Women (2 entries) – 1) Gina Kim, Grove City College, Huffy mountain bike, 335, 2) Peggy Thompson, Bel Air, Md., G4 front-wheel-drive recumbent, 300.
Tricycles (2 entries) – 1) Daryl Hanger, Greenwood, Ind., Catrike 700, 240, 2) Connor Seese, Grove City College, student-built tricycle, 60.

Despite the heat and humidity, Tony Levand of Lemont, Ill., kept the top on his homebuilt streamliner in all events.  He won the streamliner class. (KS photo)

Following are the class winners in each event:

One-hour time trial:  Stock – 1) Jonathan Walters, average 26.9 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 26.1 mph.  Streamliner – 1) Tony Levand, 24.0 mph, 2) Dan Glatch, 22.4 mph. Superstreet – 1) Jeff Hunn, 23.3 mph.  Women – 1) Peggy Thompson, 20.1 mph, 2) Gina Kim, 15.4 mph.  Tricycle – 1) Connor Seese, 11.2 mph.
Hill climb:  Stock – 1) Rick Toler, 18.861 sec., 2) Daryl Hanger, Velokraft NoCom, 20.381. Tricycles – 1) Daryl Hanger, 22.940. Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 27.795, 2) Dan Glatch, 32.301. Superstreet – 1) Jeff Hunn, 30.252.  Women – 1) Peggy Thompson, 34.793. Junior – 1) Cameron Lloyd, 37.201.
Competitors pedal to the top of the hill (that's the hill climb time), then stop pedaling and coast as far as they can go. For instance, Rick Toler was fastest overall in the hill climb, then in the coast-down was 11th overall and 7th in the stock class.

Dennis Grelk on this homebuilt bike finished second overall in the stock class. He also raced a streamliner and his homebuilt off-road recumbent. (KS photo)

Coast-down: Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Tony Levand.  Stock – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Jonathan Walters. Superstreet – 1) Jeff Hunn.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger. Women – 1) Peggy Thompson. Junior – 1) Cameron Lloyd.
Standing start kilometer: Stock – 1) Jonathan Walters, 77.061 sec., 2) Dennis Grelk, 79.416 sec.  Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 80.063 sec., 2) Tony Levand,, 85.973 sec. Superstreet – 1) Jeff Hunn, 93.623 sec.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 104.746 sec. Junior – 1) Cameron Lloyd, 107.786 sec.  Women – 1) Gina Kim, 136.719 sec.

Dennis Grelk made hill climb runs in/on his streamliner, stock class bike and this off-roader/gravel bike he built. He only made one run on this bike to get a required time for the urban transportation contest. It has a lot of adjustability (for instance, front fork angle), which adds weight, so his goal for the next gravel bike he builds is to make it lighter.  (ME photo)

"How much groceries can you carry in that backpack?" Mike Eliasohn, judge and jury of the urban transportation contest, evaluates the practicality of the bicycle ridden by Alex Heisey and built by Grove City College students. (KS photo)

Urban transportation contest – The five competitors were scored on their time and ranking in the hill climb, ranking in the coast down, obstacle course time (a simple test of acceleration, maneuverability and braking) and points and ranking in the evaluation of the practicality of their vehicle. Points were awarded for lights (front and rear), fenders (front and rear), reflectors, daytime visibility, cargo carrying (minimal, one grocery bag or two), horn or bell, brakes, rearview mirrors, security against theft, convenience (getting on or in and off or out), weather protection, and carrying tools and tire pump or inflator and spare inner tube or tube repair kit.
For instance, the fastest of the five on the hill climb received 1 point; next, 2 points, etc. The rider scoring the most "practicality points" for lights, cargo carrying, etc., received 1 point; second most practicality points, 2; etc.
When the points for hill climb, coast down, obstacles course and practicality evaluation were added up, low score won. The result was a tie between Rick Toler on his upright bikes and Ron Thompson on his G4 front-wheel-drive recumbent, each with 9 points. Rick's bike had fewer practical features, but he did better in the performance categories; with Ron, it was the opposite. Third was Daryl Hanger, 10 points, on his Catrike 700; fourth was Denis Grelk, 14 points, on his homemade recumbent gravel bike, and fifth was Alex Heisey, 18 points, on the Grove City College student built bike.

Ron Thompson and his wife, Peggy, drove more than 500 miles from Bel Air, Maryland, to show and race the innovative G4 bikes Ron designed and built. Others tried and complimented the bikes. Ron said his hope is to eventually find a manufacturer who will put his design into production.  For more information, see article below and go to (ME photo)

200-foot sprints (top speed event): Streamliners – 1) Dennis Grelk, 42.04 mph, 2) Tony Levand, 38.56 mph. Stock – 1) Jonathon Walters, 41.20 mph, 2) Mike Mowett, Morciglio M1 low racer, 40.45 mph. Superstreet – 1) Jeff Hunn, 36.71 mph. Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 30.87 mph.  Junior – 1) Cameron Lloyd, 29.16 mph.  Women – 1) Peggy Thompson, 29.05 mph, 2) Gina Kim, 23.62 mph.

25-lap road race (approximately 15 miles, no hill, race ends when first competitors complete 25 laps):  Stock – 1) Jonathan Walters, 25 laps, 27.14 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 24 laps, 25.57 mph.  Streamliner – 1) Tony Levand, 25 laps, 26.70 mph, 2) Dan Glatch, 19 laps, 20.05 mph. Superstreet – 1) Jeff Hunn, 21 laps, 22,79 mph.  Women – 1) Peggy Thompson, 19 laps, 20.43 mph, 2) Gina Kim, 15 laps, 15.50 mph.

If you see any errors in this report, or anything else that needs clarification or changing, please email Mike Eliasohn at

Mike Mowett of Detroit on his Morgiglio M1 finished 6th in the stock class, but he also was very busy organizing and running the rally, including compiling the results.  In the 200-foot sprint, he pedaled 40.45 mph, good for third place in the stock class. (ME photo)

Friday, August 27, 2021

An uncompleted recumbent needs new owner

 Doug Colby of Clarkston (where the Waterford Hills track is located) built this Easy Racer clone about 15 years ago, but never finished it, and finally decided it’s time to get it out of his house, so had it at the rally for sale.  No buyer then, so it’s still available.

For $100, you get everything you see in the photos, however, Doug says, the wheels aren't useable, so will need to be replaced.  

It appears the only fabrication and welding still needed would be to make and attach bridges or mounts for the front and rear brakes. Then some sanding and paint, assembly and go riding.

Doug MIG welded the frame from mild steel tubing. Wheelbase is 66 inches.

Over the years, Doug said he has built “probably six or seven” recumbents.
If interested, contact him at 248-462-9065 or The buyer will need to pick up the bike at Doug’s house.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Owosso Bike Fest – Aug. 7, 2021


By Mike Eliasohn 

Photos by Mike Eliasohn and Julie Turner

Having missed the first 15 Owosso Bike Fests, I wasn't about to miss the 16th, so on Sunday, Aug. 7, I was in downtown Owosso.

Actually, Bike Fest starts the day before, with a late afternoon/evening via the rail trail to nearby Ovid and return. Then from 9 to 3 on Sunday is the show and "swap meet," that is, people selling bikes and parts, which takes place in the block-long alley and parking area behind the sponsoring House of Wheels bicycle shop.

The event is, of course, a great opportunity for cycle nuts, as opposed to cycling nuts, to sit or stand around and talk about bikes.

I couldn't go to Owosso Bike Fest without a bike, so I created/assembled this rat rod Roadmaster. It and parts were scrounged from Cycle-Re-Cycle, the community bicycle shop in Benton Harbor, where I volunteer. The frame, fork, chainring, chain and front wheel are from the 1970s? Roadmaster, but there's parts from at least nine other bikes.  Here I'm attaching the information sign/price tag, for $25. I received some compliments, but no buyer. (JT photo)

A view of the alley/parking area behind the House of Wheels, where Owosso Bike Fest takes place. Bikes and parts for sale are intermixed with bikes entered in the people's choice judging. (JT photo)

My personal favorite, created by Randy Cates of nearby Chesaning. His son, Rod (if my notes are correct), seated in rear, said the frame, built by someone else, was found in Tawas Bay! and given to Randy, who turned it into the Rat Bastard.  Stand on your head and you can see that part  of the frame consists of an upside-down diamond frame. But that puts what was originally the head tube very close to the ground, making it a bike for very smooth pavement only. (ME photo)

Another homebuilt stretch cruiser, with a western theme. Ride 'em cowboy! (JT photo)

Terry Gerweck of Monroe on his 1959 Cushman scooter, which is in the process of restoration, though it obviously runs. "I had one when I was a kid," said Terry, which was his obvious rationale for buying this one.  It will be a resto-mod restoration, not intended to look like it was new from the factory. He also has bicycles at Bike Fest for sale. (ME photo)

A close-up view of Terry's 1959 Cushman. Behind it is one of the bicycles he brought to sell.  (JT photo)

Bikes with green tags, like this one at left, were entered in the judging. (ME photo)

Next to this delivery bike (notice the size of the basket!) was a Good Humor tricycle. On what turned out to be a hot, humid day, ice cream would have been perfect, but I never saw any being sold, so presumably the tricycle was there for show.  (JT photo)

This bike would be perfect for Friday night football games where the host team name is the "Tigers" (for instance, Benton Harbor High School). If my memory is correct, the tiger was created on flexible foam, so it doesn't interfere (too much) with the steering. (JT photo)

Another view, with a nice manufactured stretch cruiser behind the tricycle. (JT photo)

The 1960s Raleigh RSW 16 on the right was an interesting bike.  The seller was willing to negotiate, but the starting price was $400. The RSW 16 had 16-inch wheels and a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub. A folding version came later.  (JT photo)

A better view of the RSW 16, next to this Schwinn Racer.  (JT photo)

Your blog editor examines the head tube badge of this made-in-Pakistan 3-speed. (JT photo)

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Coming attraction to the Michigan HPV Rally

Information about the 36th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally, Aug. 21-22, 2021, is the next entry down.

In posting the information on this blog about each year’s upcoming Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally, I include this sentence:

Even if you don’t want to compete, come and see some unusual  and very fast cycles.

If you come to this year’s rally, Aug. 21-22 – if all goes as planned – you will see two very interesting front-wheel-drive recumbents, with the pedal cranks and front wheel sharing a common axle. 

The creator, Ronald Thompson, and his wife, Peggy, will be coming with his creations all the way from Bel Air, Maryland, and plan to be there from Friday afternoon until Sunday, “As much to meet the people and talk bikes as for the racing,” he said in his email to me.

At my request, he wrote the following, with some editing by me, and sent me the photos. 

                                                                     – Mike Eliasohn

     My current bikes are of a “road tour” disposition, so I am not optimistic about competing against the pure racers.  I don’t think I can get my “road race” configuration done by August.  

     Yes, I was at the Michigan HPV Rally, but without a bike, and then rode at the Chicago velodrome event maybe the next year (editor: he was at the HPV races in Northbrook, Ill., in 2016) and saw my photos posted from that event. 

Finally, I expect to be on the Laidback Bike Report on 11 July.  Gary Solomon has asked, and I’ve agreed to provide a pretty good overview of my bikes.  Lots of photos and short video and concluding with a short new historical perspective – Included as I can’t help believing this is a historic change in bike capability.  Hoping people will enjoy it.  

 I have attached an article about the “Prototype 2” version of my bike that I wrote, mostly for my own documentation, back in 2016.  It describes the bike I rode in Chicago (Northbrook).  UK bicycle historian and author Tony Hadland published it on his blog (, with introductory remarks as below.   

Ron Thompson’s G4 Recumbent Bicycle

Posted on 05/05/2021 by Tony Hadland

Ron Thompson, based in Maryland, USA, has created a recumbent bicycle concept which he calls the G4. The reason for this name is explained in the article he has written about his second prototype, P2. Prototypes P3, P4 and P5 have since followed, and development continues.

Ron and his wife have ridden the prototypes more than 20,000 miles. He thinks many people would enjoy them – both current riders and those not comfortable with conventional upright bikes. He is now looking for ways to make the G4 bike configuration available. A US patent based on the P3 configuration is pending. The focus of the patent is effective input of supplemental hand power, a matter which in the past has been contentious.

You can download Ron’s article in the PDF file “g4-bike” below. He would welcome your comments and questions, so his email address is at the end of the article.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Michigan HPV Rally Aug. 21-22, 2021

Rick Gritters of Pella, Iowa, in his homebuilt streamliner at a previous Michigan HPV Rally. The 36th annual rally was to have been in May 2020, but was cancelled for obvious reasons. 

     The 36th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally will be Aug. 21-22,  2021, at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkston, the location since 1986. 
    The oldest such event in North America is open to riders of all human powered vehicles – recumbents, streamliners, regular bicycles, tandems  and handcycles. There are classes for streamlined, unstreamlined cycles, tandems, women,  youth and tricycles. 
    The rally is conducted using Human Powered Race America rules (go to, then under “recumbent racing,” click on “Human Powered Race America,” then on “racing rules.” Note:  HPRA rules require all vehicles to have a mirroror mirrors enabling rear  vision to both sides. 
    The track, on the grounds of the Oakland County Sportsmen’s Club, is  1.4 miles around, with nine turns and one hill. Sunday races use a shorter  course without the hill.

     Entry fees: $20 for one day, $35 for two days. College and high school teams registering in advance, $35 for first vehicle and rider; $10 for each additional  vehicle or rider competing; maximum $100. Spectators free.   Prize money will be awarded to top finishers in each class.  Free camping available at track Friday and Saturday nights, with indoor  showers.
     Registration (that is, filling out entry forms) and payment of entry fees will take place when racers arrive. 

   Even if you don’t want to compete, come and see some unusual  and very fast cycles.

Tentative schedule:
8 a.m. – Registration and technical inspection starts.
9:30 – One-hour time trial (streamliner, streetliner, tricycle classes). 
11 – One-hour time trial (stock, junior, women, tandem classes). 
Noon – Concession stand open for lunch. 
12:15 p.m. – Hot laps on short loop, all classes, ride as many laps as  you want; your fastest lap counts, electronic timing.
1:30-2:30 – Hill climb/coast down. Race up the hill from a standing start, then when you get to the top, start coasting. Coast as far as you can go,  then mark your stopping point with chalk (provided). Separate scores/points  for time up the hill and distance coasted. 
After 2:30 – Tricycle race (no hill) and urban transportation contest. 
6 p.m. (approximate) – Trackside barbecue: Burgers, hot dogs and pasta salad, soft drinks, with paper plates and plastic utensils, $10.

8:30-9:30 a.m. – Flying start 200-foot sprints (all classes). 
10 – Short course (no hill) road race (faired classes), about 12 miles.
11 – Short course (no hill) road race (unfaired classes), about 9 miles. 
Awards ceremony after last race, expected by 12:30 p.m. Concession stand open for lunch.

Questions: Contact Mike Eliasohn (,  269-281-0797) or Mike Mowett (, 586-863-3902) 

TO GET TO THE RALLY:  From I-75, get off at exit 91. Take M-15 south to Dixie Hwy. (US-24). Turn left, continuing south about 1 mile and turn  left onto Waterford Road, then proceed to track.
     If coming from the west,  take U.S. 23 north (or south) to M-59 (Highland Road). Go east on M-59  to Airport Road, then left (north) to US-24. Turn left, then immediately right onto Waterford Road. Go about a half-mile to track.

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

STATE CAMPGROUNDS ( Highland Recreation Area, 5200 E. Highland Road (M-59), White Lake,  248-889-3750. Two miles east of Highland. Holly Recreation Area, 8100 Grange Hall Road, Holly, 248-634-8811. Five miles  east of Holly. Ortonville Recreation Area, 5779 Hadley Road, Ortonville, 810-797-4439. Four miles northeast of Ortonville. Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, 7800 Gale Road, Waterford, 248-666-1020.  Closest to Waterford Hills track, about 4 miles west. 

OAKLAND COUNTY:  Groveland Oaks County Park, 14555 Dixie Hwy., Holly,  northeast of Holly, 248-634-9811.

PRIVATE CAMPGROUND: Detroit Sportsmen’s Congress Horseshoe Lake Campground, 1050 E. Oakwood Road, Oxford, 248-628-3859, e-mail, 

Clarkston - Clarkston Motor Inn, 6853 Dixie Hwy. (US-10), 248-625-1522,  12 rooms, 2 miles northeast. 
Clarkston - Olde Mill Inn of Clarkston, 5835 Dixie Hwy., 248-623-0300.  Across Dixie Highway from Waterford Road leading to track. This is the  closest motel to the track. (Note: Has been operating as long-term stay only during pandemic, so may not be accepting reservations/guests for one- or two-night stays.) 
Hartland - Best Western of Hartland, 10087 M-59 at US-23, 810-632-7177, 61 rooms. About 18 miles west. 
Waterford – Quality Inn and Suites, 7076 Highland Road (M-59),  248-666-8555, 111 rooms. About 3 miles southwest. 
Waterford – Waterford Motel, 2201 Dixie Hwy. at Telegraph Road,  248-338-4061, 50 rooms. About 6 miles southeast. 
Waterford – Holiday Inn Express, 4350 Pontiac Lake Road,  248-674-3434, 83 rooms. About 7 miles southwest. 
Whitmore Lake – Days Inn of Whitemore Lake, 9897 Main St. (off US-23, exit 53), 734-449-2058, 61 rooms. About 33 miles southwest. 

  Note: The Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Association was formed in  July 1984 and officially came to an end Sept. 30, 2016, due to a lack of  active members willing to continue to run the organization. However, the  Michigan HPV Rally continues this year and hopefully in future years. 
   This blog, website ( and Facebook page  ( continue.