For mild-mannered motorists, reaching 85 mph on a deserted highway is enough to to get the adrenaline pumping. Last Thursday, the rider of the Eta speedbike hit 85 using nothing but weight, aerodynamics, and human power.
Team AeroVelo’s bullet-shaped bike surpassed the previous speed record for a human-powered vehicle of 83.13 mph when it reached 85.71 mph at last week’s World Human Powered Speed Challenge.
The event takes place each year on State Route 305 outside Battle Mountain, Nevada—one of the straightest, flattest, and smoothest roads on earth. Competitors are given 8 kilometers to build up speed before their performances are measured during a flat 200 meter stretch. On Friday evening, the team broke their own newly-set record when they hit 86.5 mph, then again Saturday when the bike reached 86.65 mph.
AeroVelo, a three-year-old design firm based in Toronto, has spent the past six years developing the record-breaking bike. The 55-pound vehicle is made of a carbon fiber frame enclosed by an aerodynamic, carbon-honeycomb shell. The driver lays down in an almost horizontal position just inches from the ground, and uses an on-screen display powered by dual SD cameras to navigate.
Other notable achievements to come from the company include the world's first flapping wing aircraft and the first successful human-powered helicopter flight. You can check out a video of the Eta speedbike in action below.