There’s leg day, and then there’s Todd Reichert’s leg day. Reichert is part of Team AeroVelo. Yesterday morning, the team broke the world speed record for a human-powered vehicle at 85.71 miles per hour. That bested the previous world record by more than 2 miles per hour.
As you can see in the image above, this isn’t your typical bike. It weighs 55 pounds, and the driver sits inside a carbon honeycomb shell. First, the pilot nearly lies down almost parallel to the ground. The team then comes over and fits the shell the pilot. A pair of SD cameras let the pilot see outside the bike. Then it’s up to him or her to pedal with everything they’ve got to break the record.
Check out the video below from earlier this month of Team AeroVelo talking about their Eta speedbike. You can see just how cramped it is for the pilot sitting inside the Eta speedbike.
Yesterday’s world record took place at the IHPVA World Human Powered Speed Challenge. For the past 16 years, teams from around the world have gathered on State Route 305 just outside Battle Mountain, Nevada. The area is perfect because it’s home to one of the straightest, flattest and smoothest roads in the world. A few years ago it was repaved, and the Nevada Department of Transportation took extra care paving the stretch used by these cyclists.
Each cyclist gets a five-mile acceleration zone leading to a 200-meter speed trap.
You can learn more about the stretch of road used for the competition here.
This record wasn’t the only one set either. Florian Kowalik set a Men’s Junior Multi-track (trike) of 53.41 miles per hour. This was the first entry in this specific class, so there wasn’t any previous record. It’s still impressive, though. Liz McTernan hit 24.72 miles per hour in an unfaired handcycle. That beat Michelle Malewicki’s 1992 record of 21.39 miles per hour.