Published: 18 August 2015

World’s fastest bike attempt ready for launch

ARION1 testing

The student team behind the University of Liverpool’s attempt on the 83mph human powered vehicle world speed record is “very confident”, ahead of the Battle Mountain, Nevada challenge event next month.

The University of Liverpool Velocipede (ULV) Team, Sponsored by Rathbone Investment Management, has completed the build of its ARION1 speed bike and begun testing with pre-selected riders, Ken Buckley, Natasha Morrison and Liverpool PhD student, David Collins.

All amateur athletes, Ken, Natasha and David have been engaged in specialist training to ride the recumbent bicycle since being chosen from 35 hopefuls back in January.

To break the record, Ken or David will have to top 83.13mph, while the current female land speed record is 75.69mph.

ULV Team Deputy Team Leader, Patrick Harper said: “Our first week of testing went amazingly. We had all the worries that you would have as an engineering team. Is the bike going to work? Are the riders going to be able to ride it? But it all went really well and the bike worked perfectly.”

ULV Team leader, Ben Hogan said: “It’s a big challenge to what Ken, Natasha and David are used to. It’s a recumbent bike, so they are lying down, and it also uses a camera visual system so they see by looking at a screen monitor in front of them.

“It’s a bit like a computer game. But they took to it really well and the specialist training they have been doing for the last eight months has paid off.”

The team will officially launch ARION1 at a special launch event held at Liverpool Guild of Students on September 1, before flying out to compete in the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) World Human Powered Speed Challenge 2015, held at Battle Mountain in Nevada, USA between September 14-19.

Now in its 16th year, the IHPVA Challenge uses a 4,619ft (1,408m) altitude road that 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 ULV Team will be the first UK university team to attempt the record.

Patrick said: “It’s quite hard to think about how far we’ve come. When we first started the project, the aim was always to build a bike and to break a record but did we think we’d be sat here two years later with a built bike, dedicated riders, major sponsors and tickets to the US?”

Ben said: “We’re very confident. The vehicle is good and we won’t change much, if anything, before flying out. We’ve come such a long way, but we should be leading on this in this country.

“It’s cycling and its engineering and we’re going to bring the record home to the UK for the first time.”

Dr Tim Short, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering said: “In under two years, the students have gone from knowing nothing about the design of high speed bikes to being ready to challenge the World Record.

“They have an unrivalled foundation from the engineering science teaching and facilities here in Liverpool, but ultimately it’s down to them and their tremendous dedication.”

For updates from the ULV team, follow @ULVTeam

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