Yesterday we went to the Science Museum in London. Damjan Zabovnik was there with Eivie II, his record breaking recumbent bicycle. On July 12th 2008 at Dekra Test Oval or Eurospeedway in Klettwitz near by Dresden, Germany Damjan achieved 87.123 kilometers in an hour, making Eivie II the fastest human powered vehicle.
Unlike many speed record machines, this is not some big corporate endevour, its very much Damjan's own project. Eivie II is a very unique machine, Damjan lies on his back, riding head first, viewing the road ahead through a small mirror mounted in the streamlined canopy just behind the transparent section near the front.
Being able to see the machine and talk to its designer was a fantastic opportunity to gain some real insight into the engineering challenges and innovative solutions. In the fully enclosed canopy simple things like keeping cool and breathing become a challenge. Cooling was assisted using a small aluminium tank below the headrest which is charged with liquid at -40 degrees Celsius (preparation for this requires a specially modified refrigerator). Air is ducted through the frame from down near the front wheel to a mouthpiece. During the record run this July visibility was also challenge as the high humidity cause the canopy to fog.
You can read more about this amazing achievement and see photo's and videos of the machine in action at Damjan's website www.eivie.com. You can also find his own report on the record breaking ride there.