How’s this for a senior class project?
File Photo: 4/23/07
A group of mechanical engineering students at Portland State University recently took their senior class project, a recumbent dubbed Vike Trike II, to NASA’s Moffet Field in California to compete in the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge.
The team, made up of 13 students, faired well against 26 other schools, taking 4th place in men’s division and 6th place among the women. The competition, which is put on by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, consisted of two events; a sprint, and an endurance contest (first team to complete for 40 miles of the course wins).
The PSU team reached speeds of 35mph on the rolling 100 meter course in dangerous conditions. Jake Furniss, who I met in North Portland yesterday, said the rainy weather, combined with the full fairing made it difficult to see out of the Trike. The cockpit would fog up and he said,
“it was like looking out of a shower window…you did know when to stop pedaling.”
The Vike Trike is a true community effort. Jake said they received sponsorship from local companies including Sapa Inc., Chris King Precision Components, Revolver and Coventry Bike Shops, Terra Cycles, and shop assistance from Portland Community College.
Jake let me take the Trike for a spin. What a blast! It turns on a dime and it’s so low to the ground you really feel the speed. I could only imagine what it must be like on a closed course, with the full fairing on! Check out the view from the cockpit:
You can see the Vike Trike in full race mode at next month’s big HPV event, the Human Power Challenge out at Portland International Raceway. I went last year and was amazed at the variety and speeds of these machines.
Will human powered vehicles similar to this replace cars someday? Check out this article in the Willamette Week about Mitch Shults and his velomobile commute
For more photos, check out my Vike Trike photo gallery.