Human Power Speed Record Week
For the 13th consecutive year, recumbent-cyclists from around the world have gathered in Battle Mountain (Nevada, USA) in order to break the human powered speed record. The 4,619ft (1,408m) altitude road (SR305) allows riders an acceleration zone of over 6 kilometers (4 miles), enabling them to reach their maximum velocity before being timed over a 200 meter distance.
Current WHPSC Records
Human powered world speed record men: Sam Whittingham in 2009; 133.255 km/h (82.819 m/h)
Human powered world speed record women:Barbara Buatois in 2010: 121.785 km/h (75.69 m/h)
TU Delft Team
BroxTech provided the TU Delft team with uBike so that they could test and meassure the performance of their human powered vehicle and their cyclists.
Last year Velox’s recumbent cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier came excruciatingly close with 129.6 km/ hour. If conditions during the race week are favourable, chances of that are good as the Velox2’s air resistance is even lower than that of its predecessor. Some changes are that the windshield is replaced by two minute cameras and the oval pedaling mechanism to further sharpen the nose. On the 2nd of September the team will depart from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to the small town of Battle Mountain in Nevade (USA). Between 10 and 15 September a long stretch of road will be available for teams to take a shot at the world record. In the VeloX2, the recumbent cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier and former world champion speed skating Jan Bos will have an attempt at it.
uBike used by TU Delft and ELAN teams
The teams that are more serious about the world speed record challenge, use SRM power sensors to optimize and analyse every record attempt.
The SRM head unit is difficult to read in the dark human powered vehicles because they haven’t got a backlight. uBike offers a solution for that. Also its a great test to see whether the data from SRM corresponds with the data of uBike. Fortunately that is the case. uBike gives the HPV-team direct feedback with graphs and averages and maximum speeds. In the end, the photo-cell speedtrap over 200 meters is the official time of every record attempt.
BroxTech weather data
A record attempt is only valid, when the wind speed in any direction is less than 6 kilometers per hour. In other words, a speedrecord is only officially recognized if the wind speed is less than 6k/h. Nevertheless, HPV teams test their bikes, even when the windspeed is too high for an official record.
BroxTech provided the TU Delft team with weather info. On the first day, the wind speed was too high. One of the characteristics of Battle Mountain (Nevada, US) is that the barometric pressure and humidity is extremely low. Definitely compared to the country where we live, the Netherlands Here is an overview of the values we meassured:
- Humidity 17% (average)
- Barometric pressure 850 mBar(average)
- Windspeed 7.2 km/hour (average), but with peaks of 17.8 km/h
- Temperature 28-30 Celcius
Wireless challenges in the dessert
Streaming live data in the middle of nowhere… According to the coverage maps of telecom providers (AT&T, Cingualar and T-mobile) there should be a reasonable network coverage around Battle Mountain. In reality, this was unfortunately not the case. We tried a number of different cell phone SIM-cards. We found out that a Cingular card only works with a certain type of Samsung. T-mobile sim cards worked with 2G/ Edge, very slow and eratic, but at least it worked.
We gave the ELAN bike and the VeloX2 a uBike with T-mobile card. The VeloX2 hasn’t got a window and uses television screens. Unfortunately this caused that uBike could not connect to the internet because of the radiation. The VeloXs of Elan, has got a window and was able to stream data to the web.
We also put a lot of effort in creating a Wifi network from a bus behind the VeloX2 and the VeloX2 bike. The test of the range of connection between the wifi-router with a uBike phone, was very positive. In a town, the wifi-router would have a wifi network of around 30/50 meters. In the middle of nowhere (305 highway, Battlemountain) we reached an increadable distance of over 250 meters. We thought that would do the trick and so we made an offline version of our website. We tested it and it worked well during the test.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get it to work in the record attempt situation. The VeloX2 with it’s LED screens produces to much radiation in combination with the carbon shield of the VeloX2 weakened the signal in such a way, that wireless communication over Wifi was impossible.
Next year, we’ll be back, with a directional Wifi-antenna and some other clever technical stuff, to make sure, that live following is possible.