The world record for the fastest human-powered vehicle now belongs to the Aerovelo team from Toronto. The rider of the special streamlined recumbent bike was Todd Reichert, a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and the founder of Aerovelo, but this was a team effort with over 15 people contributing.
On Thursday morning, Sept 17th, Todd Reichert set a new Men’s 200M record of 85.71 mph in Team AeroVelo’s Eta.
The new record is 2.58 mph faster than the 83.13 mph record set by Sebastiaan Bouwier of HPV Team Delft in Velox 3 on September 14th, 2013.
The team subsequently broke its own record: “On Friday evening, Sept 18th, Todd set another record at 86.50 mph in Eta. On Saturday evening, Sept 19th, Todd went even faster, recording 86.65 mph.”
It takes 8 km (5 miles) to reach top speed. The racers are clocked during a 200-meter stretch and then take another kilometer to decelerate.
The bullet-shaped vehicle was custom built around Reichert, a national-level cyclist, so that it was as low and narrow as possible so as to minimize air drag. It is built of carbon fiber composites and every one of the mechanical parts has been optimized for speed.
Here’s the video showing what the runs were like:
As you can see above, keep the weight down and aerodynamics were top priorities, so Todd Reichert had to look at the road ahead on a LCD screen, which was no doubt lighter and less disruptive to the slipperiness of the bike than building a transparent windshield would have been.