Welcome to Nevada!

After a grueling journey (you try getting a 2m long crate that looks like a fibreglass whale through airport security) we arrived in Battle Mountain, Nevada.  We spent the day on modifications to Beluga (as our handcycle had now become affectionately named), to try and get Liz’s riding position as comfortable as we could.


Our Sponsors…

Here’s to all the companies and sponsors that have helped us build the handcycle and get to the competition:

School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University – Have provided substantial funding and a huge number of technician’s hours without which the project would not have been possible. A huge thanks to all the technicians and staff that have contributed to the project. Learn more HERE

XMA – have generously funded all flights and transportation. XMA are a provider of IT equipment and software to Plymouth University and a huge range of other customers. In fact the handcycle was designed (using the latest computer aided design and simulation software) on high spec computers provided by XMA. Learn more about XMA HERE

Ipeco Composites – The complex design of the shell required the use of precise machining technology. Ipeco, with their extensive manufacturing capability allowed us to use their 5-axis CNC machine to shape the shell’s plugs. Their expertise in composite manufacture and design was invaluable and their input, efficiency and support has been critical to the success of the project. Learn more about Ipeco HERE

Certini Bicycle Co. – The handcycle provided many challenges in packing the drivetrain and finding the best ways to get the power down. Certini in Saltash, Cornwall kindly provided all of the bicycle components at cost price and their vast knowledge in cycling components and bicycle design proved instrumental in the innovative design of the handcycle. Learn more about Certini HERE

ACMC – The shell of the handcycle was made from a range of composite materials and manufacturing techniques. The Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre based in Plymouth University was the main driving force in the manufacture of the handcycle’s shell aiding with the build as well as teaching the team and supporting the work throughout. Learn more about the ACMC HERE

DesignFlow – DesignFlow is an engineering design and computational fluid dynamics consultancy based in Plymouth University. They provided help and expertise in virtually all aspects of the handcycle design. Visit DesignFlow HERE

Baron Controls – The handcycle’s gearing is an automatic system enabling Liz to concentrate on getting the power down. The ProShift system, designed by baron controls has been designed for Liz taking into account her riding style, power output and the requirements of the course. Learn more about the pro shift system HERE

University of Lincoln – Liz’s local university in Lincoln has been of great help to the team in testing her abilities for use in the ProShift system. Lincoln, and their sports science knowledge and expertise have helped develop the race strategy and prepare Liz for the challenge. Learn more HERE

Sunrise – A donation from Sunrise has funded the composite materials used in the shell manufacture. Sunrise provide IT services for Plymouth University and have been supporters of the handcycle project. Find out more about Sunrise HERE

ICE Trikes – Experts in trike and HPV design and manufacture, based in Falmouth, Cornwall. Their expertise was invaluable and we only wish that we’d met them earlier in the project! They also kindly donated a range of specialist cycle parts such as tyres and chain guides. Visit ICE Trikes HERE

Cycle Power Meters.com – Cycle power have supplied the handcycle’s power meter at cost price this is used to log and optimise rider performance. It will provide invaluable data for future analysis and handcycle development. Learn more HERE


Hi All,

Check out some pictures of the testing day at Smeatharpe! A very productive day spent refining Liz’s body position, steering setup and general troubleshooting!

Many Thanks to Lloyd for the photo’s!

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Progress So Far…

Over the next couple of weeks we aim to go into more detail of the design efforts, fluid dynamics and mechanical analysis and the manufacturing progress, we’ll also introduce you to the team and learn about their inputs. For now though a quick update to project progress.

So as of 26th of February we have completed detailed designs of the Mk4 handbike, and started manufacture of the frame and drive train components.


Alongside this computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis has started, this has been undertaken by a group of Stage 5 MEng Mechanical Engineers.
CFD Work UnderwayKeep posted for more info!

Some background…

Before we get to this year’s efforts let’s start with a bit of background:

Around three years ago, in the ever-present, unrelenting search for exciting and demanding challenges, Plymouth University’s interest in record beating handcycles was sparked.

Since then, handcycling has been the subject of many coursework and dissertation projects, providing engaging challenges in areas such as aerodynamics, engineering design, composites, manufacturing and computational fluid dynamics.

Past ProjectsThis year marks the culmination of these efforts as all aspects join together ready for the 2015 World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) at Battle Mountain in the Nevada Desert.

WHPSC2014PosterOrganised by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) the week long WHPSC gives contestants from around the world to race on “what is arguably the straightest, smoothest and most ideal road surface in the world for [Human Powered Vehicle] Records”: Route 305.

“The 4,619ft (1,408m) altitude road allows riders an acceleration zone of over 4 miles, enabling them to reach their maximum velocity before being timed over a 200 meter distance. The section of the road used for this event was newly refinished in 2009, with a smooth surface specially prepared for human powered vehicle racing by Frehner Construction and the Nevada Department of Transportation, using a Nevada Department of Tourism Grant from the US government.”

-The IHPVA Blog

So that’s where we’re headed, but first we need a bike, keep tuned to see how we’re getting on!

For more information on the event check out:

The IHPVA website: http://ihpva.org/home/
Recumbents.com: http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/whpsc2014/speedchallenge.htm