152 MPH Pedal Bicycle
Doug Malewicki is test riding Dr. Allan Abbott's Land Speed Record bicycle at speeds considerably lower than the 138.8 MPH that his friend Allan rode it at (more like 2 MPH!). The machine is almost impossible to pedal at low speeds because of the huge gear reductions that are required. Note the giant front sprocket and the teeny rear sprocket. These bikes have only one speed and do not have a freewheel - which means you cannot coast. It makes for a more efficient use of the cyclist's power. To slow down such a bike you carefully retard your pedalling speed.
This is the same setup used in the indoor track bikes raced in the Olympics. It eliminates the weight of the brakes and all linkages. Every ounce effects the explosive acceleration capabilities of these riders.
This is John testing his LSR Bicycle on the warmup stand. I was systems engineer on the project. My main contribution to the design was the innovative idea of using a double reduction gear system . Standard industrial practice limits single stage sprocket/chain reductions to about 6 to 1 for efficiency reasons. I told John my idea and how we could improve drive efficiency and save costs by using a bunch of standard bicycle sprockets instead of a very expensive custom made main sprocket.
John thought the idea was absolutely weird - until he mentioned it to our friend Allan Abbott and Allan said "he wished he had done that on his bike". Then all of a sudden John instantly accepted the concept. Subsequently, John even realized another benefit I had not even considered. That is - a single giant gear has to clear the ground - which puts the cyclist higher and higher off the ground as this gear gets bigger and bigger. The double reduction allows the cyclist to keep his body in his normal riding position which is more mentally comfortable and thus safer.
The bike looks a bit weird because the intermediate gear axle is up so high. The reason is in order to obtain best efficiency one has to engage as many teeth as possible on the small sprocket. Spacing the axles as we did gave us a good chain "wrap"! The frame was custom built by Skip Hujsak of Texas. Skip worked out all the design details of the concept and succesfully incorporated the double reduction system into it quite nicely. Many of the subsequent articles on John's record said I "designed" the bike. Ain't true and I never claimed I did. Just the usual dumb non-scientific reporters who inevitably screw up 90% of all technical details!
If journalism is your burning interest, please learn all the math and science you can while you are in school. Those subjects are not what is important - it is the logical thought processes developed while learning that stuff! (I would love to see Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell in the White House for the same reason!)
(This 152 MPH bicycle section will have a lot more relevant details added in the next few months. Come back later!)
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