Published: 2 September 2015

Next stop Nevada for land speed record hopefuls

ARION 1 testing

The University of Liverpool Velocipede (ULV) Team’s ARION 1 bike is on its way to Nevada to try and break the world human powered land speed record following a successful launch at the Guild of Students building this week.

ARION 1 has been designed and constructed entirely by undergraduate students in theSchool of Engineering, with the aim of topping the current 83.13mph male rider world record, and 75.69mph female rider world record, at the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) World Human Powered Speed Challenge 2015, held at Battle Mountain in Nevada, USA between September 14 -19.

The ULV Team fly out to join the bike on Saturday, ahead of taking their places among an international field of competitors at Battle Mountain. They are the only UK team entering and the first UK university team to attempt to break the record.

Although it doesn’t look like a conventional bicycle, ARION 1 uses the same engineering platform of pedals, chain and two wheels but is entirely encased in an aerodynamic shell. There is no way for the rider, who is lying down, to see, other than through a camera mounted on the shell transmitting live images to a small screen inside. It will use only human power to reach speeds that would draw a ticket on UK motorways.

Riders, Ken Buckley, Natasha Morrison and Liverpool PhD student, David Collins have been in specialist training for the last eight months and will be charged with pushing the bike to its limit, and keeping it balanced, over an acceleration zone of four miles before being timed over a 200 metre distance.

ULV Team Leader, Ben Hogan said: “We’re very confident. We’ve come such a long way already and we’re going to bring the record home to the UK for the first time.”

ULV Deputy Team Leader, Patrick Harper 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?”

Dr Tim Short, Senior Lecturer is 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.”

The ULV Team is appearing as guests on BBC Breakfast this morning at 7.50am.

You can follow the team on twitter @ULVTeam

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