Velox2 challenges world cycling record in Nevada desert

August 30, 2012

It's all set to happen between 10 and 15 September: that's when TU Delft and VU University Amsterdam's Human Power Team will be making a bid to break the world cycling record, currently at 133 km/ hour. Last year Velox's recumbent cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier came excruciatingly close with 129.6 km/ hour.

According to team leader and student Paul Denissen, this year Velox2 may go even faster: "If conditions during the race week are favourable, chances of that are good as the Velox2's is even lower than that of its predecessor." The students replaced the of the super streamlined bicycle by two minute cameras and made the pedal mechanism oval in order to further sharpen the nose.

The full team will depart from Schiphol on 2 September, setting course for the site of Battle Mountain in Nevada (US). Between 10 and 15 September the teams aiming to challenge the world have one of the straightest tracks at their disposal. In addition to students of TU Delft and the VU University Amsterdam, the team has two cyclists: recumbent cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier and former world skating champion Jan Bos.

New pedal mechanism

The cyclists have undergone in the last few months under the supervision of Human Movement Sciences students from VU University Amsterdam. They had to master an entirely new pedalling technique due to the Velox2's far sharper nose. The inner space leaves no room for 'circular' pedalling. The TU Delft students designed a pedalling system that requires the cyclist to pedal in the shape of an elongated oval.

Velox2 challenges world cycling record in Nevada desert


"I think we're ready for it. Actually what I'm most worried about is my own teammate Sebas", jokes former world champion Jan Bos. "He's incredibly strong and we've been driving each other pretty hard in the past six months. But that's okay because we've both come out faster." But the team will be watching the current world record holder Sam Witthingham with interest. According to Sebastiaan, "I think he got a real wake-up call last year. His record was unbroken but, for the first time in years, he didn't cycle the highest speed during the record races. I bet he's been training hard".

Battle Mountain, Nevada

Each year the cycling teams are given the opportunity to achieve record speeds along a straight section of road in Battle Mountain, Nevada. "It's a fantastic stretch of straight asphalt that's almost 10 km long", explains Mechanical Paul Denissen. " have eight kilometres to accelerate and their speed is measured during the last 200 metres. That leaves almost two kilometres to slow down to a halt and you need every inch of that." The record races take place in the early evening: "That's when conditions are usually best. The wind often dies down and humidity is low. In conjunction with a height of approximately 1500 metres that gives you the most favourable conditions", says Paul. "But of course nature is never entirely predictable. Last year the wind was not really doing what we wanted it to so hopefully that will be better this year." 

Explore further: The auto change bicycle

More information:

Related Stories

The auto change bicycle

January 13, 2009

Researchers in Taiwan are designing a computer for pedal cyclists that tells them when to change gear to optimize the power they develop while maintaining comfort. The system is described in the latest issue of the International ...

Researchers develop improved tool for cycling fitness

August 30, 2010

For competitive bicyclists with goals - whether competing in the Tour de France or aiming for the podium at a local race - faster cycling comes from training regimens based on various zones of exercise intensity. New research ...

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.