Saturday, October 21, 2006

ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPV)

An annual contest for mechanical engineering students features velomobile development, but it seems to exist in a separate universe from the velomobile manufacturing world. The word "velomobile" doesn't even appear in the announcement. (See the link in the header.)

"ASME sponsors the Human Powered Vehicle Competition in hopes of finding a design that can be used for everyday activities ranging from commuting to and from work to going to the grocery store. Senior engineering students can use this competition for their capstone project and with their efforts design and construct a fast, sleek, and safe vehicle capable of road use. "

"There are three different vehicle classes:

Single Rider - operated and powered by a single individual
Multi-rider - operated and powered by two or more individuals
Utility - vehicle designed for every-day transportation for such activities as commuting to work or school, shopping trips, and general transportation

The rider (or riders) can be in upright, prone or recumbent positions. The single and tandem vehicles compete in sprint and endurance events. The practical vehicle emphasizes the usefulness of the vehicle for daily activities such as shopping, transportation or recreation. The practical vehicles must negotiate a slalom course with the challenge of carrying packages, going over bumps, potholes or other obstacles while stopping at signs and obeying the rules of the road."

"All vehicles in all classes of competition are required to have a full or partial aerodynamic fairing. This fairing must cover 1/3 of the frontal area of the vehicle and be built such that it clearly shows the provided number assigned to the vehicle and ASME logo. "

Cycling enthusiasts should encourage more coverage of these events -- it's hard to find any information on past participants and their vehicles, and it would be nice to have more links between the engineering students and the actual users of existing velomobiles.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Short days and commuting

Minnesota winter sunlight lasts later into the evening than it does in northern Europe, but eventually commuters have to do something about visibillity. This "Down-Low Glow" light is what I gave my husband for his birthday this year. It would look good under a Cab-Bike, too.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Back to Velomobiles

Getting back to velomobiles, since that's the topic of this blog, I've been uploading some velomobile film clips to YouTube. Click on the header for a link to the playlist. More to come when I get to them...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cool things to do on a bike

On a snowy day, I just learned how to upload a video to YouTube and embed it in this blog. This one is of the Haarlem Marching and Cycling Band, which biked and played for an hour or two at the 2006 Cycle Vision bike show and races in Zandvoort, Netherlands. There's a link to the band's website in the header.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Retro Cycling

Back in about 1960, my dad bought this 1959 Raleigh for my mom, who had never owned a bike before. She decided recently that she was unlikely to ride it, and she gave it to me. This and my dad's Schwinn were the bikes I rode before buying my own Dunelt 3-speed in about 1962.

Last spring, we bought the panniers in the Netherlands, and then couldn't fit them onto any of our racks. European panniers are built for serious load-carrying. I had to buy a European rack that's about 5 centimeters longer than the U.S. standard -- but it's worth it. (The header links to Velox Europe, where we got these Clarijs panniers.)

So with a velomobile, a folding recumbent, a long-wheelbase recumbent and a Greenspeed trike, what on earth am I doing on a 1959 Raleigh? ...Biking! There aren't any bad bikes.