Posts Tagged ‘bicycle racing

11
Jan
10

We Need A Cannonball

As I’ve been thinking up new ways to spread the idea of a Biomimetic Bicycle it occurred to me that racing has been one of the biggest drivers of technology and design the world over.  Automobiles have benefited enormously from races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans to the multi-million dollar circus that is Formula One.  Some of the fruits of these racing efforts have been everything from windshield wipers, headlights, seat-belts, to aerodynamic everything, to KERS systems.  The engineering prowess of generations applied to the simple question of: How do we go faster?  Has changed the world…for cars.  Where do you think the buttons on your cars steering wheel came from?   Racing.

So why can’t the creativity and passion of engineers and cyclists be applied to racing?  Well, it has.  Bicycle manufacturers work non stop, year after year, to maximize the performance of their top-end bikes for top level racing.  However one of the hiccups in this process is that the rules that govern different racing categories limits the amount and kind of technology that finds it way into top tier road bicycles.  The UCI minimum weight limit is a prime example of this.  Some of the fastest, commercially available bicycles have been designed to get as close to the limit of what the rules for professional racing allow as opposed to what it would be possible to create.  Fine.  What I’m proposing is a race that would allow for a greater exploration of how technology can redefine the way we think about cycling and bicycles.

Solution:  The Cannonball Run!

Yes.  Only Burt Reynolds can help us solve the problems of global warming, traffic congestion, and of course producing the worlds first Biomimetic bicycle.  Coast to coast, as fast as you can.  Those are the rules.  Everything else is up to human power and technological creativity.  At this point you may be thinking: “Hey Aaron!  Don’t they already do the RAAM?”  And you would be right.  But the RAAM, while an amazing and under-appreciated test of human endurance, is simply not set up as a testing ground for new bicycle technology .  At least not to the extent I am imagining.  The current RAAM record was set by the incomparable Michael Secrest of Flint, MI.  He raced from Huntington Beach, CA to New York, NY in June of 1990 in 7 Days, 23 hours, and 16 minutes.   That is amazing.  I say we dedicate ourselves to the goal of cutting that time in half.

A Biomimetic bicycle should be able to do the Cannonball Run in 4 days or less.  It should be done in as few stops as possible.  The majority of the ride should be done under human power.  I think parameters would have to be set for KERS systems and Electric assist motors.  We want to push the technology but we don’t want it to turn into an electric motorcycle race.

I’m excited for 2010.  I think if we can continue to spread the word about the unparalleled promise of Biomimicry by stuffing that promise into a symbol to which people can relate than we can change the world.  I can’t think of a better symbol than the bicycle.  Let’s go Cannonballers!!




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