It takes one heck of a weird bicycle to do it, but Aerovelo has created a human-powered vehicle capable of hitting speeds that would get the driver a hefty ticket on the interstate. Not bad for no motor and a set of pedals, right?
Aerovelo’s bullet-shaped “speedbike” just broke the world speed record at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge, clocking in at 85.71 mph. The team edged out the previous record of 83.13 mph. Needless to say, those are ludicrous speeds for a human being to be traveling under nothing but their own power.
Basically, it works like this: As you can see in the photo above, this obviously isn’t your typical bicycle. It’s shaped like a bullet and is barely above ground level for peak aerodynamics. The system inside is also designed to maximize the force and effort put into pedaling it. Of course, all of that is nothing without a person inside pedaling like a maniac to keep the rig rolling. The rider is essentially lying horizontal, to keep the weight balanced.
The team reached that speed on a test course at Battle Mountain, Nev., where competitors are given 8 kilometers (4.9 miles) to build up speed before reaching a flat section that stretches 200 meters (218 yards). It’s astounding what humans can do with just their wits, human strength and some creative ingenuity.
Check out a mini-documentary behind the project, including some footage from an earlier test run, below: