Finding somewhere safe and big enough to run a fully faired hpv is not easy. With our local velodrome (too small, but handy
for low speed shake-downs) out of commission due to subsidence, we had to look elsewhere. So last Thursday (18th July),
we battled the city traffic to get to Herne Hill track in South London, which is a 450m fairly well banked concrete velodrome.
Upon arrival we discovered that there is no flat infield as hoped, and so we had to start on the banked straight. We added
some wedges to the launch trolley to try and make the bike sit upright, but starting was a bit more difficult. However, after a
few trial starts with the top off, it was time to bite the bullet and try with the lid on. I wobbled a bit out of the trolley, but the
new steering is far superior and I was able to correct quite easily. A couple of laps round and I was up to 35mph, at which
point it was getting too bumpy and I didn't dare try to go any faster. But it works! The ventilation comes whistling though very
nicely, and the gears work very well. So far so good.
The next step was to try and get on a track where I can actually see what it will do. We had asked the Rockingham Motor
Speedway if we could use their track, and they very kindly came up with an evening slot for us last Monday. This is a new
American style Indy car 1.5 mile banked circuit, with a lovely surface, and a reasonable amount of shelter from the huge
spectator stands. See their website: www.rockingham.co.uk for a plan of the circuit and details of what else goes on there.
After a couple of laps without the lid, it was into the little black box and off into the unknown.... There was a bit of a breeze,
but good conditions otherwise. I gradually clicked up the gears, hitting 45mph the first time out and getting very scared!
Tensing up in there does not help the control! But with subsequent runs I got more used to the bike, and was even able to
apply a bit of power. Eventually was averaging about 45mph, with a peak speed of 51mph - this would have been higher but
I was undergeared and didn't want to take my cadence up more than the 115rpm I was doing! I want to be able to pedal at
130rpm in there, but that will take further acclimisation I think.
So a successful first proper outing. There are a few aerodynamic things we can tweak yet, but most important will be as much
time in the bike as possible just to get used to handling it at speed.
Anyway, we are off on holiday for a few weeks now, time for a rest before we come back and start the buildup for the
World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain in October!
Further testing here: Page Five