Canada’s AeroVelo breaks human-powered land speed record
Mike McLeodGeneral AeroVelo Cameron Robertson slideshow Speedbike Todd Reichert
Team captain Todd Reichert becomes world’s fastest human with 85mph run at Battle Mountain in the team’s Eta speedbike.
And now, as of yesterday, AeroVelo, the Ontario-based team of engineers and University of Toronto students, have helped their captain, Dr. Todd Reichert, become the fastest human-powered man alive.
At the World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC), held annually along a five-mile stretch of highway in Battle Mountain, Nevada, the team’s Eta recumbent speed bike hit 85.71mph (137.93km/h) Thursday morning, besting the previous world record of 83.13 mph set by Sebastiaan Bowier of Human Power Team Delft in 2013.
In its 16th year, the competition is pitting speed bikes from around the world in multiple time trials this year. AeroVelo’s record was set on the fourth day of the six-day contest. During each trial, Competitors are allowed five miles of exceptionally flat road to ramp up to a full-speed run through a 200-meter speed trap.
Named after the Greek symbol of efficiency, Eta is designed to attain speeds greater than 140 km/h, the team says. It’s lightweight carbon fibre frame surrounded by a carbon-honeycomb sandwich shell reduce the 25kg speedbike’s drag to 100 times less than a modern car. In addition to fastest human and University of Toronto mechanical engineering PhD, Reichert also spent time as a nationally ranked speed skater, athleticism that allows him to generate 1hp for approximately a minute and helped him successfully pilot and power each of AeroVelo’s record setting human-powered vehicles.
AeroVelo, co-founded by Reichert and fellow UofT alum, aerospace engineer Cameron Robertson in 2010, has won numerous awards including the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence from the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame; the A.H.S. Sikorsky Prize; the Trans-Canada McKee Trophy from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, and a Guinness Book of World Record for the first human-powered aircraft with flapping wings.