Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Berrien Tricycle Rally - June 21, 2014

Daryl Hanger on his Catrike Trail leads Warren Beauchamp in one of the races. Daryl was the overall winner. Warren had the only leaning-trike at the rally – a front-wheel-drive low racer he built, fitted with a Dennis Grelk-built two-wheel attachment that bolts to the rear dropouts.

Words and photos (except one) by Mike Eliasohn; results by Bruce Gordon

The first Berrien Tricycle Rally took place Saturday, June 21, 2014, at Rolling Green Raceway, a quarter-mile kart racing track near Buchanan in Berrien County in the southwest corner of Michigan.
The rally was organized by, and was the idea of long-time HPV racer Bruce Gordon of Buchanan, with help with help from his wife, Linda. (Thank you, Linda, for the homemade muffins and sandwiches.)

Bruce Gordon, shown here on his Greenspeed SLR during the time trial – three laps of a short triangular section of the track – organized the first Berrien County Tricycle Rally.

The rally attracted 11 competitors, from Michigan (Bruce, Brian Stevens, Douglas Dodd and Clifford Lofgren), Illinois (Warren Beauchamp, Chris and Dora Cortez), Indiana (Daryl Hanger and Jeff Hunn), Ohio (Garrie Hill) and Ontario (Jim Iwaskow).
Here's the results:

                  Best Tm Best Spd In Lap   Diff   2nd Best 2nd Spd 2nd Lap
1   Daryl Hanger     38.891    23.142     8         - -        39.608   22.723   2
2   Brian Stevens    43.302    20.784     6     +4.411    44.725   20.123   3
3   Jeff Hunn          43.351    20.761     9     +4.460    44.719   20.126    3
4   W. Beauchamp  44.112    20.403     4     +5.221    44.883   20.052    3
5   Chris Cortez       44.983    20.008     6     +6.092    48.215   18.666    2
6   Bruce Gordon     47.066    19.122     5     +8.175    48.335   18.62      6
7   Jim Iwaskow      50.719    17.745     1     +11.828  50.883   17.688    3
8   Douglas Dodd     51.308    17.541     3     +12.417  52.627   17.101    1
9   Garrie Hill           54.726    16.446     1     +15.835     -.---      -            0
10 Dora Cortez        56.806    15.843     1     +17.915  58.001   15.517    4
11 Jim Iwaskow       58.639    15.348     2     +19.748  1:05.2    13.793    1
12 Clifford Lofgren   1:37.782   9.204     4     +58.891  1:47.7    8.351      2

Separate races by fours, based on hot lap times, were won by Daryl Hanger, Chris Cortez and Dora Cortez. A race for non-prize winners was won by Jim Iwaskow. Daryl Hanger's team won the relay race, and Daryl was the quickest in the short track time trial. 

 Jim Iwaskow on the Mike Sova-built trike, which Mike gave to him. It may look crude – notice the "stadium seating" – but it has rear suspension. (The pivot is the small circle behind the handlebars.) Jim also rode the trike the following day in the Berrien County Cancer Service Bike Ride.

Jim, from Richmond Hill, is listed twice because he competed on two vehicles, an ICE Vortex (7th place) loaned to him by Garrie Hill, and an aluminum (welded and bolted) trike (11th place) built by Mike Sova of Toronto "some time ago," Jim said, possibly a couple of decades or more. Sova, who gave the trike to Jim, has gone on to building streamliners raced at Battle Mountain. Garrie, from Granville, Ohio, raced his Greenspeed SLR.
Daryl Hanger, from Greenwood, Ind., finished first on a Catrike Trail, which isn't built for racing. (In other words, if he had a racing trike, he would be even faster.)

Clifford Lofgren finished last, but he has a good excuse – he's only 5-1/2 years old. He's;Bruce and Linda's grandson and the son of Eric and Charlotte Lofgren, who also live in Buchanan. He raced a kid-sized KMX trike and likely is the youngest-ever competitor in Human Powered Race America sanctioned competition. (Bruce Gordon photo)

Special thanks to Grand Rapids-based manufacturer TerraTrike ( Director of marketing Jeff Yonker, his son, Gabe, and marketing assistant Michelle Oswald brought several TerraTrikes for test rides, plus a display of accessories. Likely the most popular for test rides was the Rover Tandem.

Also present for a couple of hours to spectate was Jerome Hediger, Greenspeed USA distributor, who rode his BMW motorcycle (only two wheels) from Highland in southern Illinois. For the unknowing, Greenspeed is an Australia-based recumbent trike manufacturer (

Chris Cortez lifts a wheel during the time trial on a short triangular section of the Rolling Green Raceway. The kart racing track is twisty and isn't level.

In addition to the pure racing events, there were some "fun" events, including a relay race, with competitors passing a tire, instead of a baton. Here, Bruce Gordon passes the tire to Jim Iwaskow, who was riding Garrie Hill's ICE Vortex.

Mark Bannan of Owosso came to the rally to spectate, with this trike that he built in the 1980s. Back then, he also built several other two- and three-wheel HPVs, all from aluminum tubing.In addition, from 1990-98, he organized the Delta College Challenge HPV races on the Sunday following the Michigan HPV Rally, which back then was on Saturday only.rail

 leads Warren Beauchamp in one of 
Words and photos (except one) by Mike Eliasohn; results by Bruce Gordon

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Articles worth reading


If you missed these magazine articles when they were new, they're worth reading next time you're at your public or school library and maybe, like me, making photocopies.

"The Beastie Bike," Popular Science, January 2014 – Three pages and four photos of Graeme Obree, "The Flying Scotsman" (a movie worth renting), and the lever-drive, prone position two-wheel streamliner he built and raced at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nev. in 2013. Popular Science might be accused of celebrity journalism. Obree went 56.62 mph, the fastest speed ever for a prone-position bike, but Sebastiaan Bowler of the Netherlands setting a top speed record of 83.13 mph in the Velox 3 streamliner at the same event earned only one sentence in the article.

"The Improbabable Flying Machines of Sywell," Popular Mechanics, February 2014. Eight pages and five large photos of the second Icarus Cup competition for human powered airplanes at Sywell Aerodrome in the United Kingdom, conducted by the Royal Aeronautical Society Human Powered Aircraft Group. Which leads to the question, why doesn't someone organize a similar competition in the United States?

Muskegon Chronicle, March 1, 1987. Jerry Mattson used  this article
as a source of information for his Michigan History article about the Bowden Spacelander.

"The Bowden Spacelander," Michigan History, January-February 2014. Five pages and seven photos (sort of).  The Bowden isn't a recumbent, but its molded fiberglass frame made it unique and it was manufactured in Michigan – hence the article in Michigan History. The bike is now highly prized by collectors. The author of the article is Jerry Mattson, who as a free-lance writer  working for the Romeo Observer newspaper, covered the Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge, conducted by the MHPVA, in 2009, .

"How to Build a Bicycle-Powered Generator," Popular Mechanics, April 2014. Three pages and six photos or illustrations. The author, Rachel Arndt, started her project because she got tired of riding her bicycle trainer in her apartment in bad weather and going nowhere. When she finished, she still went nowhere, but had a cycle-generator that could put enough charge into batteries to power small electronics during power outages. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Preview: Berrien County Tricycle Rally - June 21, 2014

Photo taken at Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally

The first Berrien County Tricycle Rally is on Saturday, June 21, at Rolling Green Raceway, a quarter-mile kart racing track with lots of turns. The track is at 2090 Miller Road, northwest of Buchanan, in southwest Michigan.

7:30 a.m. – Gates open.
7:30 - 9 – Registration, trike safety inspection 
9 - 11 – Solo racing.
11 – Group racing begins and will continue, with a lunch break, through the afternoon. How long it takes to give everyone their fill of racing will depend on how many show up to race.

Registration can be done online at until June 18. The cost is $20 if you register in advance online; $25 if you register at the rally.  

The rally will be conducted under the rules of Human Powered Race - America, which are posted at, then click on "rules and classes."

SPECIAL PRIZES: Azee Prize for the best performing team in the solo event. Team members must be separated in age by 58 years or by having one member of the team less than 12 years old and the other older than 50.
Ceepee Team Prize awarded in the solo event for best parent-child team using combined times. Stepchildren, foster children and grandchildren are eligible. Other relationships, such as niece, nephew, etc., will be considered at the race director's discretion.

Grand Rapids-based recumbent tricycle manufacturer TerraTrike plans to be at the rally from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with various models available for test rides.

DIRECTIONS: The track is located 2 miles west of Redbud Trail on Miller Road. 
From the north: Take US 31 south to Snow Road. Exit #13. Go (right) west for about a mile and turn (left) south on Redbud Trail (at stop sign.)  Go about 4 miles south and turn right on Miller Road (name is on yellow junction sign.)
From the south: Take US 31 north to US 12. Exit #3. Go (left) on US 12 west for about 2 miles and turn (right) north onto Redbud Trail at traffic light. Go through Buchanan (traffic light) and continue on Redbud Trail for about 4 miles and turn left on Miller Rd (name on yellow junction sign.) 
From the west: Take US 12 east Exit #4a off I-94 (4 miles from Indiana border). Go (right) east for about 16 miles and turn north (left) onto Redbud Trail (second traffic light.) Go through Buchanan (traffic light) and continue on Redbud trail for about 4 miles and turn left on Miller Road (name on yellow junction sign.) 

If you have questions or need to cancel or make changes to your registration, e-mail

Participants in the rally Saturday are encouraged to also participate in the Berrien County Cancer Service Bike Ride the following day, starting at its office at 7301 Red Arrow Hwy., Stevensville.
Riders can start between 7 and 11 a.m., but must finish by 2 p.m. Routes are 15, 25 and 42 miles and 100k (62 miles). The cost is $20 ($35 for families) until June 13, $25 ($40) after that. Registration/payment can be done online at Proceeds help the BBCS provide free nursing care and support services to Berrien County residents with cancer.

The nearest restaurants to Rolling Green Raceway are in Buchanan. From the track, go east to North Main Street, then south into town. Some restaurants are downtown and others, including fast food, are clustered up the hill east from downtown.
The best locations for finding hotels/motels are near the junction of Route 51 and the Indiana Toll Road
(exit #77) or along I-94 in Michigan.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

30th annual Michigan HPV Rally - May 17-18, 2014

By Mike Eliasohn

Note:  Some of these results are incomplete, due to either more than one college team member racing the same vehicle or information being incomplete on some entry forms. I hope to get correct information in order to update this article. If you see anything that needs "fixing," please e-mail me at   
Complete rally results and more photos are posted at, then click on "2014 Michigan HPRA race results."    Mike E.

"Old and cold" describes the 30th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally May 17-18, the oldest such event in North America and maybe the world.
How cold was it? The uniform of the day for those who had it, especially on Saturday, was a hoodie with the hood up, under a jacket – and gloves.  It was so cold that cars parked at the Waterford Hills track overnight Saturday "woke up" with frost on windshields and roofs.
There were 46 entries, but that doesn't translate into 46 riders or 46 vehicles. Some riders raced in more than one class and for the University of Toronto and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology teams, there was more than one rider per vehicle, which caused some confusion in scoring results.
The Univ. of Toronto team consisted of 12 people, including faculty adviser Jun Nogami, and five or six vehicles, he said.  Rose-Hulman, in Terre Haute, Ind., had five people, including faculty adviser Michael Moorhead, and three streamliners, plus three other vehicles.
The third "team" competing was Fran Kowalik of Deerfield, Ill., and four of his children, Florian, 15, Mathias, 13, Cecilia, 11, and Genevieve, 9. But all five each had their own cycle to race.

Mike Mowett on his Morciglio M1 carbon fiber low racer recovers after winning Sunday morning's road race, 15 laps/9 miles on the short course (0.6 mile).  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

As usual, the stock class had the most entries, 20.  The top three were: 1) MHPVA President Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores, on his Morciglio M1, 340 points; 2) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa,homebuilt low racer, 307; and Warren Beauchamp, NoCom low racer, Elgin, Ill., 279. As usual, Dennis was the only person to compete in every event.
The top three in the other classes were:
Streamliner (8 entries): 1) Dennis Grelk in his Warren Beauchamp-built Barracuda, 312; 2) rider?, Rose-Hulman Celeritas, 310; and 3) Warren Beauchamp, homebuilt Barracuda, 283.
Wally Kiehler in/on his Lightning F-40, leads Richard Myers during the Sunday morning 20 lap/12-mile road race. They finished second and third respectively. On June 14, Wally and Bob Krzewinski, both riding similar bikes, but minus the fairings, depart on a 4,200-mile trip from Seattle to Boston, ending Aug. 16. Wally will blog about their journey, with hoped-for daily updates. Go to www.crazyguyonabike, then click on "journal," then "wallyk." (John Heiam photo)

Streetliner (6 entries): 1) Wally Kiehler, Gross Pointe Woods, Lightning F-40; 340; 2) Rich Myers, Xenia, Ohio, "Chiquita Banana" (it's yellow), 297; and John Simon, Portland, Lightning P-38 with fairing, 205. John only competed on Saturday. At a "young" 77, Rich was the oldest competitor.
Women: Dora Cortez of Chicago, riding a Gritters low racer or Bacchetta Corsa 24, was the lone competitor, 360,
Tricycle  (4 entries):  1) Daryl Hanger, Greenwood, Ind., Catrike Trail, 325; 2) Bruce Gordon, Buchanan, Greenspeed SLR, 300; and 3) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt low racer with his two-wheels-in-the-rear conversion, 295.
Junior (4 entries):  1) Florian Kowalik, M5 low racer, 360; 2) Cecelia Kowalik, Earth Cycles Sunset, 320; Genevieve Kowalik, upright bike, 295.
Tandem (3 entries):  Tedd and Donna Wheeler, Reed City, BikeE, 275. There was a tie for second place, 180 points, with the same Trek tandem from Rose-Hulman. R-H HPV team faculty adviser Mike Moorhead and Calvin Moes from the Univ. of  Toronto formed one team and students Louis Vaught, Chapel Hill, N.C., and Matt Skoria, Walla Walla, Wash., both R-H students, were the other.

Dan Zolyniak of Toronto, in the streamliner built by him and his wife, Amanda, leads the tandem team of Matt Skorian (front) and Louis Vaught from Rose-Hulman. In the rear, Rose-Hulman HPV team faculty adviser Michael Moorhead gets the R-H streamliner, ridden by ??, back on its wheels. This was during the 20-lap/12-mile road race Sunday morning.  (John Heiam photo)
    Here's the top two from each event:


One-hour time trial:  Streamliner – 1) Warren Beauchamp, 22 laps of the 1.4 mile track at average speed of 30.794 mph, 2) tie: Dennis Grelk and ???, riding U-T Ace.  Streetliner – 1) Bill Hannon, Springfield, Ohio, Milan velomobile. 18 laps/24.375 mph; 2) Chris Evans, Flint, Quest velomobile. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 18 laps, 25.077 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 12 laps, 15.485 mph.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 14 laps/18.141 mph, 2) Bruce Gordon.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 17 laps, 22.313 mph, 2) Cecelia Kowalik. Tandem – 1) Michael Moorhead and Calvin Moes,  15 laps, 20.442 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler. 
Hill climb:  Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, U-T, 2) rider?  R-H Celeritas.  Streetliner – 1) Wally Kiehler, 2) John Simon.  Stock – 1) Trefor Evans, 2) Peter Wen, Univ. of Toronto???  Women – 1) Dora Cortez.  Tricycle – 1) Daryl Hanger, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecelia Kowalik.  Tandem – Matt Skorian and Louis Vaught, R-H, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler.
Coast down ((combined with the hill climb; when riders reach the top of the hill, they stop pedaling and then coast):  Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, U-T) Dennis Grelk.  Streetliner – 1) Wally Kiehler, 2) Rich Myers. Stock – 1) Fran Kowalik, M5 M-Racer, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Women – 1) Dora Cortez. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Chris Cortez, xxxx.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecelia Kowalik, 3) Genevieve Kowalik. Tandem – 1) Matt Skorian and Louis Vaught, R-H, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler.
Standing start 1-kilometer:  Streamliner – 1) Dennis Grelk, 1 minute, 22.78 sec./27.02 mph, 2) rider?  R-H Celeritas, 1:24.63, 26.43 mph. Streetliner – Wally Kiehler, 1:37.13/23.03 mph, 2) John Simon, 1:51.91/15.99 mph. Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 1:29.29/25.05 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 1:30.72/24.66. Women – 1) Dora Cortez, 1:48.59/20.60 mph. Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 1:37.38/22.97 mph, 2) Daryl Hanger, 1:49.05/20.51 mph. Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 1:27.25/25.64 mph, 2) Genevieve Kowalik, 2:51.53/13.04 mph.  Tandem – 1) Mike Moorhead and Calvin Moes, 1:49.44/20.44 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 2:12.91, 16.83 mph.

Among those waiting for the start of the hill climb / coast down are Fran Kowalik on his M-5 M-Racer and daughters Cecelia, 11, (green jersey) on an Earth Cycles Sunset and Genevieve, 9, (orange jersey) on an upright bike.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

Urban vehicle competition: Points were awarded for time in the hill climb; finishing position in the coast down; time around two loops of an oval in the parking area, with braking performance evaluated at the finish; and points for each feature during an evaluation of the vehicle. Points were awarded for lights and fenders, front and rear; reflectors; daytime visibility; cargo carrying capacity; brakes; rearview mirrors; security against theft; convenience (getting on and off or in and out of the vehicle); weather protection; horn; bell; tools; tire pump; spare inner tube or tube repair kit; and "anything else."
Daryl Hanger on his Catrike Trail and Wally Kiehler on his Lightning F-40 tied for first with 32 points,  while John Simon with his Lightning P-38 with fairing was third. Tied for fourth were Univ. of Toronto HPV team adviser Jun Nogami on his Rock Lobster upright bike, which he uses for daily commuting and Dennis Grelk with his Barracuda streamliner, 25 points. Sixth was Tedd and Donna Wheeler on their BikeE tandem, 17 points.

         Our thanks go to Mark Berend, a friend of Mike Mowett, who brought his grill to the track, bought the food (for which he was reimbursed) and cooked the chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. There were perhaps 50 people eating. With so much time spent next to the grill, Mark may have been the only person there who was warm (albeit smoky). Making his long day longer, his vehicle ran out of gas while he and his family were going home.
         Thanks also to Mike Mowett, who ordered the 30th anniversary cake from the nearby Kroger's.
         A special guest was former International HPV Association President Marti Daily, who drove with  her friend from Indianapolis, in time for the barbecue and reminiscing with old friends. Because Marti had to work Sunday at Home Depot, she and her friend left after dinner and drove home.

Fran Kowalik and three of his kids (left) apply the condiments during the barbecue following Saturday's events. Mark Berend did the cooking on the grill he brought to the track, as well as buying the food.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

After dinner, Donna Wheeler, who handled everything involving the 30th anniversary T-shirts, presented special yellow shirts to Mike Eliasohn of St. Joseph and Terry Gerweck of Monroe, who started the first Michigan rally in 1983 in Monroe and have been involved ever since.  (For those doing the math, instead of the Michigan HPV Rally, in 1989, the Michigan HPV Association conducted the International HP Speed Championships in 1989 and the Michigan HP Speed Challenge in 2009.)

Michael Hinterseher moved last August from Germany to Farmington Hills with his family and his Milan SL velomobile. He commutes in it to work at Bosch. He spectated and took photos at the rally on Saturday, then competed on Sunday. He finished first in the streetliner class in the 200-foot sprints (39.77 mph) and in the 20 lap/12-mile road race.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)


Flying start 200-foot sprint: Streamliner – 1) Trefor Evans, U-T, 45.74 mph, 2) rider?, R-H Celeritas, 42.17 mph.  Streetliner – 1) Michael Hinterseher, Farmington Hills, Milan SL velomobile, 39.77 mph, 2) Wally Kiehler, 34.71 mph.  Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 38.73 mph, 2) Dennis Grelk, 35.97 mph. Women – 1) Dora Cortez (29.84 mph). Tricycle – 1) Dennis Grelk, 31.06 mph, 2) Bruce Gordon, 27.77 mph.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 36.09 mph, 2) Cecelia Kowalik, 20.86 mph. Tandem – Mike Moorhead and Calvin Moes, 33.45 mph, 2) Tedd and Donna Wheeler, 27.27 mph.

On the short six-tenths of a mile course used Sunday morning, there was plenty of close racing. From left, Mike Moorhead, Mike Mowett, Jim Iwaskow, Dennis Grelk and ???.  Mike Mowett on his Morciglio M1 won the 15 lap/9 mile race.  (Bill Frey photo)

20 lap/12-mile road race for faster vehicles:  Streamliners – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) rider?, R-H Celeritas.  Streetliner: 1) Michael Hinterseher, 2) Wally Kiehler.
15 lap/9 mile road race for slower vehicles:  Stock – 1) Mike Mowett, 2) Dennis Grelk.  Women – 1) Dora Cortez. Tricycles – 1) Dennis Grelk, 2) Daryl Hanger.  Junior – 1) Florian Kowalik, 2) Cecila Kowalik.  Tandem – 1) Matt Skorian and Louis Vaught, R-H (only competitors).

Prior to the start of the Sunday morning (I think) 20 lap/12 mile road race are, from rear, Wally Kiehler, Dennis Grelk, Amanda (standing) Zolyniak and her husband, Dan, from Toronto. The Zolyniaks were members of the University of Toronto HPV team. Now graduated, they built their own streamliner. Other than using a U-T mold for the fairing, the streamliner is their own design. They took turns racing it at Waterford Hills. On Sunday, Dan rode in the first race and Amanda in the second. In the 200-foot sprints, both had the same speed, 33.48 mph.  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

George Cooney of Royal Oak demonstrated his monocycle on Saturday. It's propelled like a scooter, that is, standing on one foot and pushing with the other. Pulling down on the handlebars provides added "thrust."  (Mike Eliasohn photo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30th Michigan HPV Rally T-shirt, jersey

We can't have a 30th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally  without a T-shirt and thanks to Donna Wheeler of Reed City, we do. We also will have cycling jerseys. 
The white short sleeve shirt will have the full-color design on the front.  The cost is $12.  To order, e-mail Donna at State how many shirts you want and the sizes. Payment can be made at the rally (cash or make out check to Donna Wheeler) and shirts can be picked up then. Orders need to be placed no later than Monday, May 5.
Donna will take orders for jerseys at the rally or send her an e-mail beforehand. The jerseys will be available about 3-4 weeks after the event. The jerseys will be fitted shirts, white with black lower sleeves, with a zip-up front and pockets in the backThe design will be on the front, with sponsors on the back.  Jerseys will cost $55, plus $6 shipping, if necessary.
Donna  would like to have at least 10 orders for the jerseys. Here's a sizing chart, though it may not be readable even with a magnifying glass.

Information about the Michigan HPV Rally is below the entry about the MHPVA annual meeting.

Monday, April 7, 2014

MHPVA annual meeting - March 22, 2014


JOHN WILLIAMS of Harrison Township showed the wood bike he built about four years ago, using plans sold by James Robinson of San Angelo, Texas. The frame is made mostly of 2x4s, glued together with WEST SYSTEM epoxy (made by Gougeon Brothers Inc. in Bay City). He said it rides rough. "I call it my park bike," he said, meaning he mostly rides it for short distances in area parks. "It's mostly for fun."

Report by Mike Eliasohn

     About 20 people attended the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Association annual meeting Saturday, March 22, at the TechShop in Allen Park.
     Prior to the meeting, TechShop event coordinator Ashley Kratzke led attendees on a tour of the facility, which for anyone who likes to build anything, was/is terrific!  Among the equipment available for members to use are computers with modeling software; 3D printers; milling machines; laser cutters that can cut wood, plastic and glass; welders; English wheels for forming parts from sheet metal (one part seen looked very much like a fender for a classic fat-tire cruiser); and a powder coater.
     During the tour, one man was building a prototype of a four-engine aerial drone. A man and a woman were building a Greenland kayak, which has a frame of wood ribs, lashed together with nylon cord (no glue, nails or screws).  There was a casket converted into an outdoor grill, mounted on a trailer. Half of the space normally occupied by the deceased housed a grill; the other half was a sink. Picnic anyone?

Two more views of John Williams' beautifully constructed wood bike.  The bottom bracket axle fits through a slot in the 2x4 boom tube, thus allowing  the BB position to be adjustable forward and backward (photo below).

      During the meeting, officers and board members elected were: President, Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores; vice president, Mike Eliasohn, St. Joseph; secretary, Paul Pancella, Kalamazoo, who was absent; treasurer, Bruce Gordon, Buchanan; and members at-large, Wally Kiehler, Grosse Pointe Woods, and Bob Krzewinski, Ypsilanti.
      Bruce replaces Bill Frey, treasurer since 2002 and long active in the MHPVA before then, who chose not to seek reelection. Bruce had been a board member at-large and the other at-large member, Rick Wianecki of Okemo, who also did not want to be reelected. Wally was MHPVA president from 1998-2008 and Bob runs the Wolver-Bents website ( and edits the MHPVA site.

TechShop event coordinator shows the MHPVA group the wood shop during a tour of the facility in Allen Park.  There are eight TechShops around the country. For more information, go to

      With Bill Frey absent, Mike Mowett presented Bill's final financial report.  It showed 2013 Michigan HPV Rally expenses of $985 and the MHPVA ending 2013 with $1,517 in the bank.
      Wally and Bob also talked about their forthcoming 4,200 mile, nine-week trip which starts June 14 in  Seattle and ends Aug. 16 in Boston. They wanted to ride their Lightning F-40 streamline bikes (Doug Grossjean's F-40 can be seen behind John Williams in the top photo), but the tour organizers, Cycle America, insisted on bikes that will fit on a motor vehicle bike rack, so they will be riding unfaired Lightning P-38s. 
      The Cycle America tour includes three meals a day, camping and showers.
      During the tour, Wally will be blogging about his journey, with hoped-for daily updates. Go to www.crazyguyonbike, then click on "journal," then "wallyk." This will be a one-stop deal for me," Wally said. "I'm not going to do it again."
     He and Bob will be newly retired from their jobs, which will give them the time to undertake their trip. The Cycle America route will go through Michigan. The participants will cross Lake Michigan on the Badger ferry, which docks in Ludington, then have overnight stops in Farwell, Frankenmuth and Memphis.
     Mike Mowett reviewed the proposed schedule of events for the 30th annual Michigan HPV Rally May 17-18. The concensus of those attending was to keep the events and schedule as-is, rather than making any changes.
     Mike M. also talked about a proposed 100-mile tour through Detroit and the Detroit area and showed various satellite phones of various oval test and race tracks in Michigan and nearby that could be used for future HPV events.

This four-wheel creation seen at the TechShop was built for some type of Star Wars building competition. Look past the outrigger wheel  and you can see a short-wheelbase recumbent.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Preview: 30th annual Mich. HPV Rally - May 17-18, 2014

The rally will be held at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track on the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club grounds in Clarkston, near Pontiac - the location since 1986.
The oldest such event in North America is open to riders of all human powered vehicles — recumbents, regular bicycles, tandems and handcycles.
There are classes for streamlined, unstreamlined cycles, tandems, women, youth and tricycles. The rally is conducted using Human Powered Race America rules ( Note: HPRA rules require all vehicles to have a mirror or mirrors enabling rear vision to both sides.
The track is 1.4 miles around, with nine turns and one hill. Sunday races use a shorter course without the hill.

ENTRY FEES: One day only, $30; both days, $40 (includes $10 MHPVA membership); 
college/high school teams with several riders, $100. $1 of each entry fee goes to support the League of Michigan Bicyclists. Test ride pass, $10, which includes MHPVA membership. Spectators free.

Even if you don't want to compete, come and see some unusual and some very fast bicycles and tricycles. Prize money will be awarded to top finishers in each class.
Concession stand with hot food will be serving lunch on Saturday and possibly on Sunday, breakfast and lunch.

Schedule of events, subject to change:

Registration and technical inspection starts at 8 a.m.
One-hour time trial (streamliner, streetliner classes) - 9:30-10:30 a.m
One-hour time trial (stock, junior, women, tandem) - 11 a.m.-noon
Hill climb/coast down (all classes) - 1:30-2:30 p.m.
1-kilometer standing start time trial - 3-4 p.m.
Urban transportation contest - in afternoon.  
Scores will be based on finishing position in the hill climb, coast-down and obstacle course, plus vehicle evaluation. For instance, if there are 10 competitors, the fastest in the hill climb gets 10 points; second fastest, 9 points, etc. In the evaluation, 1 point is awarded for each feature:  Lights, front and rear (1 point for each); fenders, front and rear (1 point for each); reflectors; daytime visibility; cargo carrying ability (minimal, one grocery bag, or two grocery bags – maximum 3 points), rearview mirrors, security against theft, convenience (size, getting on/off or in/out), weather protection, horn, bell, tools, tire pump, spare inner tube or tube repair kit and "anything else."
6 p.m. (approximate) – Trackside barbecue. Choice of hamburgers, hot dogs or chicken, plus salad and soft drinks. Paper plates, napkins, etc., will be provided. Minimum donation of $5 per person. (Note: This is a change from what was previously listed of either bring your own food to barbecue, plus supplies, or eat at a nearby restaurant. )
Followed by – Dessert (provided) and an opportunity to reminisce about 30 years of HPV racing.

200-foot sprints, flying start (all classes) - 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Tricycle race - 10 a.m.
Road race 1 (faster vehicles, 20 laps, 12 miles, no hill) - 10:30 a.m.
Road race 2 (slower Vehicles, 15 laps, 9 miles, no hill) - 11 a.m.
Awards ceremony by 1 p.m. (hopefully)
Location: Oakland County Sportsmen's Club: 4770 Waterford Road, Clarkston,
MI 48346. For a map of the track, visit or For additional information, contact: Mike Mowett, 586-863-3902 or, or Mike Eliasohn, 269-982-4058 or

From I-75, get off at exit 91. Take M-15 south to Dixie Hwy. (US-24). Turn left, continuing south about 1 mile and turn left onto Waterford Road, then proceed to track.
If coming from the west, take U.S. 23 north (or south) to M-59 (Highland Road). Go east on M-59 to Airport Road, then left (north) to US-24. Turn left, then immediately right onto Waterford Road. Go about a half-mile to track.


MOTELS (with approximate distances/direction from Waterford Hills track)

Clarkston - Clarkston Motor Inn, 6853 Dixie Hwy. (US-10), 248-625-1522, 12 rooms, 2 miles northeast.
Clarkston - Olde Mill Inn of Clarkston, 5835 Dixie Hwy., 248-623-0300. Across Dixie Highway from Waterford Road leading to track. This is the closest motel to the track.
Hartland - Best Western of Hartland, 10087 M-59 at US-23, 810-632-7177, 61 rooms. About 18 miles west.
Waterford – Comfort Inn, 7076 Highland Road (M-59), 248-666-8555, 111 rooms. About 3 miles southwest.
Waterford – Waterford Motel, 2201 Dixie Hwy. at Telegraph Road, 248-338-4061, 50 rooms. About 6 miles southeast.
Waterford – Holiday Inn Express, 4350 Pontiac Lake Road, 248-674-3434, 83 rooms. About 7 miles southwest.
Whitmore Lake - Best Western of Whitmore Lake, 9897 Main St. (off US-23, exit 53), 734-449-2058, 61 rooms. About 33 miles southwest.


Free camping available overnight Friday and Saturday at the Waterford Hills Sportsman Club, site of the HPV rally, starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Restrooms, showers available and possibly electrical hookups.

STATE CAMPGROUNDS (, then click on "camping and
recreation," then "camping and harbor reservations." Reservation can be
made online.
Highland Recreation Area, 5200 E. Highland Road (M-59), White Lake, 248-889-3750. Two miles east of Highland.
Holly Recreation Area, 5300 McGinnis Road, Holly, 248-634-8811. Five miles east of Holly.
Ortonville Recreation Area, 5779 Hadley Road, Ortonville, 810-797-4439. Four miles northeast of Ortonville.
Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, 3480 Teggerdine Road, White Lake, 248-625-9112. Closest to Waterford Hills track, about 4 miles west.

OAKLAND COUNTY:  Groveland Oaks County Park, 14555 Dixie Hwy., White Lake, northeast of Holly, 248-625-9112.

PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS (  Detroit Sportsmen's Congress Campground, 10150 E. Oakwood Road, Oxford, 586-739-3500, e-mail,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bruce Gordon hosts HPVers in Buchanan

Get a group of HPVers together and they have to build something, even if it's from balloons. From left are Tony Alevand, Rich Myers, Warren Beauchamp, Chris Cortez and Jeff Hunn. (Bruce Gordon photo)

This seemingly never-ending winter paused long enough for HPVers suffering from cabin fever to gather at the home of Bruce and Linda Gordon in Buchanan in southwestern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

In addition to Michigan, people came from Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.
According to MHPVA President Mike Mowett, about 27 people were there, including all nine members of the Kowalik clan, Fran and Lisa Kowalik and their seven kids, from Deerfield, Ill. Genevieve, Cecilia and Florian, then 8, 10 and 14 respectively, competed at the 2013
Michigan HPV Rally.
Mike reports they brought with them the Varna Orpheus molds from Dave and Becky Balfour (from Marietta, Ill.), which Rich Myers of Xenia, Ohio, took with him to return to Garrie Hill in Granville, Ohio.
Dan Glatch from Franklin, Wis. brought a Lightning X-2 nosecone from Tyger Johnson, from the Rockford, Ill. area.  Coincidentally, Don Smith wanted to come to the meeting (but didn't) to talk to Garrie about getting the Lightning X-2 molds to use for a new bike.  Dan gave the nosecone to Mike to take to Don, who lives in Chesterfield.
The gathering also included a meeting of the Human Powered Race – America race directors. They decided to combine the stock and superstock classes because very few people were racing in superstock and they thought that combining the classes might stimulate some tailbox development.
The stock class did not allow any added streamlining except for wheel disks, while the superstock class allowed use of a front or rear fairing.
Thus what will continue to be called the stock class will allow use of a front or rear fairing.
Another rules change is that use of seat belts by riders in streamliners is now recommended.

Dave Johnson models Tyger Johnson's Lightning X-2 nosecone that Dan Glatch brought to the meeting and Mike Mowett took with him to deliver to Don Smith, who plans to use it for a new bike. (This could be made into a board game to teach geography: "Follow the Nosecone.")  (Mike Mowett photo)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tour de Fat, Tempe, Ariz. - Oct. 5, 2013

Bikes, bikes and more bikes. It was a steady flow of two (and a few three-wheelers and at least one four-wheeler) into Tempe Beach Park for the Tour de Fat. Wearing of costumes by participants was encouraged. There even were some decorated bikes.

Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

After my 20-minute visit to the Tour de Fat in Tempe, Ariz., in 2012 (see story below posted Oct. 13, 2012), for my annual family visit to Arizona this year, I decided to go on Friday, rather than my usual Saturday flight, so I could spend more time at the event, on Saturday, Oct. 5, and still have time for my "official" reason for visiting.
The Tempe event was the last of 12 Tours de Fat this year sponsored by employee-owned New Belgium Brewing as part of its marketing efforts. The first was May 11 in Atlanta, Ga., and the others were in Washington, D.C.; Durham N.C.; Nashville; Chicago; Minneapolis; Boise, Idaho; Fort Collins, Colo. (where New Belgium is based); Denver; San Francisco; and San Diego.
The "Fat" in Tour de Fat refers to fat-tired cruisers – one is pictured in New Belgium's logo – but any type of bike is welcome. Most were store-bought cruisers, but there also were some  some skinny-tired "fixies" (fixed gear single speed road bikes); discount store bikes; and homebuilt creations. I even saw two Brompton folding bikes (made in England and considered by some to be the ultimate folders). 
There certainly were at least a thousand bikes there, and maybe a couple thousand, so I didn't see everything in my approximately 90 minutes there.
Supposedly there was a parade starting at 11 a.m. and I got there shortly before 11.  I saw many bikes being ridden on blocked-off streets, but nothing resembling a parade.
Not being a beer drinker, I avoided the long line (or lines, I forget if there was more than one) for New Belgium's products. The official theme was "Beer, bikes & bemusement," so in addition to beer and bicycles, several music acts performed.
Proceeds from the event benefitted four Arizona bicycle organizations, though since admission was free for cyclists and spectators, and my impression was the beer samples were free, so I'm not sure where the "proceeds" came from.
ERIC KROGH of Mesa creates sculptures, furniture and paintings for a living and as a long-time cyclist, "I did this because I wanted to build a bike." He first drew it to scale, then made full-size drawings to use as a guide in bending the mild-steel tubing.  Coming up with the correct head angle for the BMX fork took planning – and some educated guessing. But it  came out right; coasting downhill at 35 mph, he said, "It's very stable." Krogh "finished" the bike two years ago, but didn't keep riding it. He got it back on the road for the Tour de Fat, so now plans to finish it. Still to come are a front deraileur mount, so he can use all 14 gears; capping open tube ends; mounting a headlight at the end of the "stalk" extending from the head tube; paint; and replacing the bicycle saddle with something more comfortable.
Parts for Eric Krogh's creation came from at least three bicycles. It has a 26-inch rear wheel and 20-inch in front. Another view of the bike can be seen on his website,

The rider of this stretch cruiser said he and a friend built it in four hours the day before the Tour de Fat.

Not sure if this was a homebuilt stretch cruiser, or manufactured. Regardless, with all the curves, a stylish machine.
An interesting four-wheeler. Again, not sure if it was homebuilt or bought from a manufacturer.

I'm not sure what this was, other than a bunch of weird, obviously homebuilt bikes, in a fenced-off corral, with two security guards at the gate. Later, and seemingly all at once, the bikes were being ridden, which wasn't necessarily easy on the grass. One interesting bike, second from right, was a side-by-side tandem upright two wheeler.
Action in the corral. Apparently on this bike, the rider doing the steering pedals in a normal manner, while the rider in the rear pedals "backwards."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chris Evans wins Black Bear in record time

Dave Johnson (left), who won the Black Bear Bicycle Tour four times, finished second this year to Chris Evans, who won in a record time of 3:36.09 for the 102 miles. Both are standing behind Chris' carbon fiber Quest; Dave's Great White is behind them. Photo was taken after they finished.

Thanks to Tedd Wheeler for providing some of the information and to Donna Wheeler for taking the photo

Chris Evans, 45, of Flint, riding his carbon fiber Quest velomobile, "won" the Avita Water Black Bear Bicycle Tour July 28, 2013, finishing the 102 miles between Grayling and Oscoda in a record time of 3 hours, 36 minutes and 9 seconds.
Second fastest was David Johnson, 56, of Olivet in his Great White two-wheel streamliner, 3:43.25. It was the fifth time Dave has run the Black Bear and the first time he didn't win. He held the previous record of 3:37.39, set in 2004, which was the first year he participated.
Officially, there's no overall winner and no special award or trophy for being the fastest overall. Chris won the recumbent class and Dave finished second.  The only other rider in the recumbent class was Tedd Wheeler of Reed City, who rode his Alleweder velomobile, finishing in a time of 5:20.41.
Third fastest overall was Joshua Forsyth, 22, of Chesaning, who won the men's age 18-30 class in a time of 4:09.33 and fourth fastest was Rob Selley, 62, of Grand Blanc, who won the men's age 61-70 class only 2 seconds slower, 4:09:35. There were 267 riders.
Chris also rode his Quest in 2012, winning the recumbent class in 3:49.1. In prior years, he rode his NoCom low racer, but never was able break 4 hours.
Quest velomobiles are made in the Netherlands and by Bluevelo in Toronto, Ontario, which made Chris' vehicle. Dave's Great White streamliner was built many years ago by Rick Wianecki of Okemos.
Here's Chris' account of this year's Black Bear, from the Bentrideronline discussion group:
Yes, Dave and I stayed together all the way to McKinley which is roughly half way. I set the pace as requested by Dave. We were smoking past paceline after paceline like they were planted to the ground.
We both started at 8:25 a.m. The first riders in groups of 10 started at 8 a.m. We both passed everyone well before reaching Glennie. I started pulling away from Dave on the uphill grade leaving McKinley and continued to pull away at a speed of 27 mph until the grade flattened out again and it was back to a solid 30 mph until the downhill grade started, which ended up being a solid 43 mph until the first large climb, which I believe is "heartbreak hill." That hill was 6 mph all the way up.
Dave said he saw me cresting the hill when he was just getting to the climb. After that he didn't see me again. When I hit the final left turn onto River Road, the time was showing just over 3 hours elapsed time with a little over 15 miles to go. I cranked it up to 32 mph with some speed bursts of 34 mph and held it the entire way with exception of the downhill going by Old Orchard Campground, which was 52 mph top speed.
The distance traveled was 102.48 miles, with an elapsed time of 3:36:09. That is the fastest 100 miler I've ever done. There was a slight quartering tailwind of up to 10 mph later in the race, but I don't think enough to have made much of a difference. I'm chalking up the better time this year to a better rear tire selection, cooler temperatures, Osmo hydration and a combination of GNC drink mixes. I felt awesome during and after the ride..... not tired or whipped feeling at all.
The GPS showed an average speed of 28.45 mph.

You can read more at:

And here's Dave's account:

Start time 8:25 a.m. was nice that Chris and I both had the same start time. I hope future rides can have the same 8:25 a.m. start time.
I remember the first 50 miles going by quickly because I was just having fun riding behind Chris. On some downhills I would have to brake a little to keep from passing. Sometimes I would be eating or not be paying attention and he would begin to pull away until I pushed hard and caught up. 
Then outside McKinley I developed a leg cramp and had trouble pedaling. Going thru McKinley, a gap opened up that I could not close. From that point on I could only see specs of white on the long straightaways. My leg cramps continued to get worse whenever I had to pedal hard.
I've decided this is from not enough miles in Great White this year, only having done Calvin's, Waterford and several rides from the house. I have more miles on single bike and weekly spinning classes at the gym.
On the two large uphills my legs went into total spasm, but for some reason with both legs feeling like they would lock up and shut down, I was able to climb the hills, in pain, at a 6 mile per hour pace, same pace as other years. 
On the last stretch of River Road, I was only able to maintain about 26-28 mph. After seeing Chris topping the last major hill I knew he would finish really close to the course record. When I finished 5 minutes off the record and Chris was already in, I knew he had the new record. This was the fifth BB for me, finishing in 3:43:45, which is four seconds slower than the last time I did it in 2010. The first time I did it was in 2004, with a time of 3:37. Looking forward to next year...