The Human Power Team is a student team co-operative between the Delft University of Technology and the VU University of Amsterdam, with the objective to design and build an aerodynamic recumbent that is meant to break the world speed record.
The team was founded in September 2010, and in September 2011 it obtained a European and student record with a speed of 129 km/h, and in September 2013 that new world record was placed at 133.78 km/h, both by the cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier. This happened at the yearly World Human Powered Speed Challenge event in Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States of America.
At this moment, the fourth team of students is preparing for the new world record attempt with a new high-tech recumbent: the VeloX IV. The technical part of the project is in the hands of the students from the TU. Just as important, is the guidance and training of the cyclists, which is in the hands of the VU students. This co-operation makes the Human Power Team a unique student team.
Monday, 28 July 2014 23:01
The fifth day in Senftenberg. This time we took some extra rest in the morning, because yesterday had been a long day. Eventually we went back to the track early in the afternoon to prepare the bike and do some start-stop exercises.
Unfortunately we did not get a chance to test the drag of the VeloX, because the 24 hour race was delayed. However we did decide to use the unstickered top fairing, because we suspected that there were some imperfections in the stickered one. So the team spent time their time on the track to make this top fairing ready for use, among various other preparations.
In between the preparations the team did some start-stop exercises with Christien. This went perfectly. Then half an hour before the record attempt she started her warming up.
Christien began her attempt at 6:58 pm after a good start. Unfortunately it soon became clear that a record was not within reach. She cycled with an average of 70.7 km/h. After 45 minutes she decided to stop, because there were various technical problems at play. The back wheel rubbed against the fairing, she got back problems because of the seat, and the back-up screen did not work well.
Unfortunately this is where the DEKRA weekend ended for us. The weekend did not bring us what we wanted. Still we do not give up, because the hour record was not our only goal this year. So now we will do our very best to make the bike perfect for our next destination: Battle Mountain. This means that a lot still needs to be done, but we’re already working on it!
Saturday, 26 July 2014 22:34
It was 3 a.m. when Rik and the first team members got out of bed. Rik had to eat early before he could start with his record attempt. At 4 a.m. the rest of the team also got up for a quick meal before we went to the track.
On our way to the track we already noticed that the weather wasn't looking good for us. It wasn't raining, but there was a dense fog hanging on and around the track. Nonetheless we still entered the track with good hope. Maybe the fog would clear up before we started. When we arrived on the track at 5 everything was immediately made ready and prepared. The preparations started with a few start- and stop tests in the VeloX. After that Rik started his warming up.
At 6:55 a.m. Rik had to start his record attempt. The fog still hadn't cleared up completely, even though you could start to see more of the track. We did want to take our chance, and so Rik got into the VeloX. Then the bike was closed and the elongated tail was attached to it.
The start went perfectly and Rik immediately went full on, with the bus following behind him. However, we quickly noticed that it was going to be a tough run. The fog increased the amount of drag drastically. It is a lot more difficult to drive through fog because the air is more dense and due to the wet asphalt the bike gets more rolling resistance. On top of that fog is really bad for the aerodynamic shape of the VeloX, because drops on the bike lead to a disturbance in the air flow around the bike. All taken together breaking the record did not seem to be a possibility.
After an hour Rik had cycled 78.6 kilometres. Unfortunately, as we expected, this was not enough to break the world record. However it still was a good run. Rik did very well. Even though we do not have a record yet this weekend we do not give up hope, because tomorrow we will be doing another record attempt. This time it is up to Christien. Unlike today, the weather forecast for tomorrow is looking good.
In the afternoon we went back to the track for some start-stop training. This went very well. But as soon as we were finished with the start-stop training we had to leave the track again because of rain and thunder.
Tomorrow Christien will be starting her attempt at 6:50 p.m. so be sure to keep following us on Facebook and Twitter!
Friday, 25 July 2014 22:28
We had to get up early today to finish our last preparations on the VeloX IV, because in the afternoon we wanted to do some test runs. After our breakfast most of the team members started working on smoothing the elongated tails. We wanted to do some aero test with them on the track, because we got a lot of unreliable information from last wind tunnel test. Since then it has been unclear which configuration will give the bike the lowest amount of drag, because there was a lot of variability between each individual measurement. By the end of the morning both tails were nicely smoothened and ready to be used.
At 3 pm we were allowed on the track. At first the idea was to get the VeloX through the technical inspection, but since we were still the only ones on the track we were allowed to do some test runs. The technical inspection would take place later in the afternoon. At that time the team worked together perfectly. The VeloX IV was taken out of the trailer and within a few minutes it was ready to be used. In the meantime Rik had started his warming up as well.
Unfortunately, just when the VeloX was ready to be used for testing it started to rain heavily. Within a few minutes the track was filled with water, and we were taking cover in the cars and vans, waiting for the rain to stop. After having waited for an hour it was decided that we would not be able to do our test runs any more today. This was a big disappointment because now we still don’t know for sure which configuration is the best to make a record attempt with.
After half an hour the organisation eventually decided to start with the technical inspection. This mainly entailed checking the bike for safety. And as expected the VeloX IV got through this inspection easily, as this year we have invested a lot more in safety than in previous years.
Once we got back to the hotel team members already started discussing which configuration should be used during the record attempt tomorrow morning. There had to be made a decision. Cycling without an elongated tail soon stopped to be an option, because the wind tunnel test and one of the RDW test days had showed us that separation occurred in the area of the tail. Eventually the team decided that the best chance would be to use the longest tail of the two that have been made, because with this one the chance that separation occurs is the smallest.
Apart from this we weren't able to do much else today. The VeloX IV is now ready to be used. So after having had a nice diner we talked about what we would be doing tomorrow and then many team members already went to bed. Tomorrow we will have to get up very early. At 7:15 am Rik will be doing his record attempt and before that we want to do start-stop training. It will be an exciting day, but after having waited for a couple of days Rik is ready, and so is the rest of the team!
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