Welcome to the Plymouth University Handcycle Blog!


In September 2015 Plymouth University aimed to break the women’s handcycling world speed record. Watch the trip video below to see how we got on!

We’re aiming to return so if you want to get involved, contact us here, or for more info. click here.

Watch our 2015 trip video here!


Day 6 – The finale…

The last day. Waking up we were welcomed with great conditions, no clouds, no winds, perfect. Adam went for it heeding the lessons learnt in the previous runs and managed an awesome 30.45 MPH!!!!! In legal wind conditions!

In other news, Todd broke his own record AGAIN, with a epic 86.65mph!!

Next challenge: Getting the bike through customs part II….

Day 5 – Legal winds at last!

Adam’s second competitive appearance was not quite as quick as the previous day but still a respectable effort at 28.5 mph. Too high a cadence setting on the automatic gearshift and too much energy spent early in the run meant nothing left in the tank by the timing gates. Oh well, its a learning curve! The good news is that winds were low enough to be considered ‘legal’ so this was classified as a valid run!

Oh and Todd beat his own record going 86.5 mph on Friday evening!

Day 4 – New rider, new challenge…

With the injury concerns, Liz has decided not to continue riding Beluga and stick to her own recumbent (unfaired) handcycle, Red Lightning. A bit of a blow for Beluga’s record hopes.

And so to plan B…after a total of 5 minutes of handcycling experience Adam will start his competitive handcycling career¬†at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge! With a few modifications to the rider position (does my bum look big in this?) Adam set a very respectable speed of 30.7 mph in is first run. Frustratingly the wind was just slightly too high to be classified as a valid run. But this has certainly proved the metal of Beluga. Well done Adam!!!

The main excitement of the day however was in the incredible effort by Canadian Todd Reichert from the Aerovelo team, smashing the world HPV speed record in his leg powered bike, ‘ETA’ at a speed of 85.7 mph. The local police force issued a speeding ticket in honour of his achievement!

Day 3 – Did you say this was a desert?

After the positives of yesterday, spirits were damped, quite literally, by an overnight rainstorm (in a desert?!). Too much standing water and mud so running is cancelled.

Oh well, here’s to tomorrow!

We did get to test in the afternoon and Liz has become concerned that the kneeling riding position in beluga might aggravate a shoulder injury that she sustained in an event just before leaving the UK.

Day 1 of the World Human Powered Speed Challenge

So here we are, Day 1 of the WHPSC. After our first night in the RV we made our first attempts on route 305.


First challenge: qualification. In order to compete further all bikes must complete a 2.5 mile qualifying run. To make use of the low winds and cooler temperatures the runs are held in the morning and evening. The first days runs contained highs and lows with Liz breaking the women’s handcycling speed record on her own competition bike, Red lightning (unfaired). Congratulations Liz!!

Liz unfortunately did not get on so well with Beluga – a cable tie was left attached to a brake lever and in the frantic nature of the first run it was unnoticed. This was certainly unwanted drag that we had not accounted for in our performance predictions! Oops.

Lesson number 1: the importance of pre-flight checks!

Very frustrating but there’s always tomorrow!