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Urban Transport

World MegaMarathon record – 5000 kilometres in 41 days

If you figured that Greg Kolodziejzyk’s 24 hour Human Powered Vehicle record was about as exhausting as it gets, you’ll need to have to lie down after this article. There are more dangerous events, but surely none tougher than the New York Megamarathon of 3100 miles (4989 kilometres) which has just been run and won for a second time by German Wolfgang Schwerk. Schwerk set out on June 11 with 14 other runners aiming to win the race and break his own world record of 42 days and 13 hours for the distance. Leaving his nearest competitor more than 100 miles behind him, he ran the distance in 41 days, 8 hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds, breaking the record by 29 hours. Just to put all that in perspective, Wolfgang ran an average three marathons every day without a rest day, and averaged only three hours sleep each night. If it had not have been for the permanent heatwave in New York during the event, Schwerk believes he would have run a further 600 miles inside the race time.Read More

New 24 hour Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) record

July 23, 2006 Greg Kolodziejzyk has officially broken the world Human Powered Vehicle record (HPV) record, setting a new mark of 1046.94 km (650.538 miles), beating the previous mark of 1021.36 km (634.644 miles) set in 1995. “We celebrated with hugs, high fives, and champagne,” said an exhausted Kolodziejzyk, the second forty-something year old to set a world HPV record in the last few weeks. Our lead-up report to the record attempt can be found here. Greg was very gracious upon exiting CP1, thanking his family, the crew and the officials for all their hard work and enthusiasm. He was very pleased with the track conditions, and the fast pit stops, as well as the performance of CP1. See image gallery for record attempt shots.Read More

How far can a human travel under their own power in 24 hours?

July 15, 2006 Last week we reported on Fast Freddy Markham’s world one hour human powered vehicle record of 53.43 miles, set on a recumbent bicycle with carbon fibre fairing that resembles a torpedo – now think how hard it is to average 53.43 mph in your car and wonder just what the limits might be for human powered vehicles given our ever-growing understanding of science. Next week there’s a serious attempt on the world record human powered vehicle distance record for 24 hours. A similar eight-foot long torpedo-shaped recumbent christened Critical Power has been designed and built using SolidWorks and COSMOS software for the attempt on the 1,021.36 km (634.6 miles) record. Forty-something year old triathlete Greg Kolodziejzyk will attempt the record at Redwood Acres Motor Speedway in Eureka, California, sometime between July 19 and 24, depending on weather. To take the record, Greg only needs to average just over 42 km/h, which can be achieved with a continuous output of 110 watts – not much more power than that required for a light bulb. But he’ll need to do it non-stop for 24 hours. Great story!Read More

Cyclepods build a better bikerack

July 11, 2006 The problem with most public bike racks is that if you did lock up your pride and joy, you’d come back to find the wheels had been liberated. Cyclepods offer a unique cycle storage system manufactured from recycled materials, which allow eight bikes to be secured in a two metre diameter space, approximately half the space that traditional bike racks require for the same number of bikes. Cyclepods also encourages sustainability not by just being made from recycled materials, but also by encouraging people to cycle through design – the Cyclepod locks the bike frame and the wheels, securing the most expensive and highly targeted parts of the bike from thieving scumbags (yes, we lost one recently). Cyclepods’ founders, James Steward, 24, and Natalie Connell, 22, (pictured) recently won the UKP10,000 first prize at the UK final of the 2006 Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards. Read More

World human powered speed record - 53.43 miles in an hour

July 6, 2006 The world one hour record for human powered vehicles was broken early on the morning of July 2 when "Fast Freddy" Markham pedalled 53.43 miles (85.987 kilometres) in one hour winning the prestigious Dempsey - MacCready Hour Record Prize. Neither Markham or the Easy Racers Team he rides for are strangers to world records - it was Fred's 20th world record and recumbent bicycle manufacturer Easy Racers has set many more than that. The most remarkable thing about the record is that Markham, who was also the first human to better 50 mph, 60 mph and 65 mph, is just shy of his fiftieth birthday. Though he held the world one hour record on three previous occasions, Markham's win was an upset as the last time he held the title was in 1989 - 17 years ago. Previous holders of the record include Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, Francesco Moser, and Chris Boardman, all much closer to their prime when they snared the title. Indeed, on the day Markham beat the previous world record holder of 52.33 miles, Sam Whittingham and other athletes attempting to become the "World's Fastest Man" such as Matt Weaver (Personal Best 51.42 miles), German Lars Teutenberg (PB 51 miles), and Slovenian Damjan Zabovnik (current European flying kilometer record holder at 73 mph). Shortly after the event, Markham acknowledged the ride as "probably my greatest performance ever." Fast Freddy, we salute you!Read More

Correction - chainless bicycle is not new

June 28, 2006 Last week we ran a story about the Dynacraft Dekra-D Drive bicycle which has a shaft drive shaft instead of a chain and hence offers less maintenance and greater safety. The problem is you see, that we said it was a new design and though several readers wrote to declare they’d seen such bikes previously, no-one actually proffered up a source until now. Reader Reggie Hill wrote to say that he’d seen a picture on ParisDailyPhoto blog and we looked and … to our enormous embarrassment, Parissienne blogger Eric Tenin had a picture of a bike built in 1899 with a very similar drive mechanism. We contacted Eric and he supplied us with detailed images of said bicycle, built by none other than the Peugeot Brothers, who went on to build an automotive empire of the same name. So thanks to Reggie, thanks to Eric and his great blog (if you can't be in Paris, you can at least check out the daily piccie), and ahem … sincerest apologies to the 174,304 visitors who have read the story in the last week and thought it was a new design. sorry : (Read More

World's smallest and lightest foldable bicycle

June 26, 2006 Fold-up bikes are certainly not new though none to date have deserved the moniker “portable”. Most use the same heavy chain sets and bulky 16 to 20 inch wheels and traditional materials and are at best luggable. The A-Bike is a folding pushbike that is claimed to be small enough so that you can take it on public transport with a no-bicycles policy. The US$300 A-bike utilises automotive grade, engineering polymers for its structural components, saddle and handlebars and has a level of stiffness, fatigue and impact resistance comparable with aero-grade aluminium. By using these new materials, the A-bike’s weight has been reduced to just 5.5 kg (12 lbs), which is manageable for even slightly-built individuals. Whatsmore, it can be folded inside 10 seconds into a compact 26” x 12” x 6” (66 x 30 x 15 cm) package and has pneumatic tyres, so riding it will not dislodge the fillings in your teeth. In our opinion, the A-Bike looks to be the first viable foldable bike for those who wish to mix modes of transport and we see it as invaluable for yachts and motorhomes and campers where a simple vehicle for short-distances is a boon but storage space is limited.Read More

Bicycle design eliminates chain, derailleur and sprocket

Most childhoods would be incomplete without an incident involving lost skin and a bicycle. Indeed, given that the bicycle is the world’s favourite means of transport (more than 100 million bicycles are sold each year – double the number of cars) and they all feature a highly-efficient but potentially dangerous chain drive, we’d suspect that most people will have had an unfortunate recollection of an incident involving a de-railed chain, lost skin, grease and perhaps a destroyed garment or two. So we like the idea of a bicycle without a chain. US-based Dynacraft has introduced just such a beastie - the Dekra-D Drive bike has an internal drive shaft which offers less maintenance, greater safety and a cleaner solution than a conventional chain-driven bike by replacing the parts of the bike that cause the most problems and require the most maintenance - the chain and derailleur.Read More

Carbon fibre monocoque wheelchair

June 15, 2006 With the post-war baby boom now moving towards senior citizenship, markets for many specialised goods and services devoted to elderly needs are about to mushroom and one that’s certain to reach unprecedented heights is that of wheelchairs. The proportion of the population using wheelchairs increases sharply with age with roughly 3% of people over 65 using them and as an unprecedented number of fashion- and status- conscious boomers reach their seventies, designer wheelchairs and other mobility aids will be big business. Accordingly, when a manufacturer of WRC and Formula One race car parts turns his hand to wheelchair design, we expect there’ll be an equally exclusive market for high tech practical wheelchairs and the Trekinetic K2 launched at the UK’s Mobility Roadshow last weekend certainly fits that bill. Built by designer Mike Spindle, the K2 is entirely new in every respect. Gone is the old tubular frame, replaced with a carbon fiber monocoque based around the seat. Similarly, the layout has been rearranged with two large wheels with adjustable camber at the front and singular rear trailing castor for excellent stability and the ability to negotiate uneven (off road) terrain. It also has adjustable height via an adjustable nitrogen shock absorber, is extremely light, folds up for easy transportation in just a few seconds, has a unique brake-steer system, an automatic inbuilt umbrella and although it’s not cheap at UKP1800, it has no equal in the world of wheelchairs.Read More

SegSeats for Segways

June 13, 2006 The Segway is seen by many (us included) as a significant step in the history of personal transportation. We’re still waiting for the logical evolution of the Segway in the recreational vehicle mould (the outrageous Centaur Concept we dubbed the wheelie machine) but we’re still keen to see Dean Kamen’s next evolution of the Segway. In the meantime, we figure it’s worth mentioning the SegSeat – an accessory seat designed to enhance the Segway and mobilize the millions limited until now to scooters and wheelchairs. The SegSeat glides forward and back upon a braced rail, allowing sitting riders to emulate a standing rider's typical leaning movements that control the Segway. SegSeats are also collapsible, allowing standing riders to use modified vehicles without interference.Read More

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