by Marcus Leach
Not so long ago we brought you the news of Francois Gissy and his incredible world record. The daredevil Frenchman clocked an incredible 207mph on his bicycle.
Now a team of students at the University of Liverpool Velocipede Team are looking to break a cycling speed record of their own. Although, unlike Gissy, they will not have the added benefit of powering their bike with a hydrogen peroxide-powered rocket engine.
Instead they will look to break the record with good old fashioned leg power, not to mention a state of the art bike that bears no resemblance to anything you or I might have ridden in our time.
The record attempt has seen all three universities in Liverpool collaborate for the first time, with a sixteen-strong team consisting of mechanical engineering students from the University of Liverpool working with sport science undergraduates and staff at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Hope University.
The unified goal is simple; create the world's fastest human-powered vehicle, in this case a velocipede, to be powered by a human engine. ARION1, as the bike is better known, will look to exceed speeds 83mph when it finally goes for the record next year, and the team are looking to break both the male and female records.
So who will power the bike? Well, according to the team's blog it will be 'someone who is not only powerful but has determination, strong nerves and also slender enough to fit inside the ARION1’s super compact aerodynamic shell'.
In order to find the right riders for the bike the team conducted a series of gruelling tests that saw over thirty hopeful candidates, including three-time Olympic medallist Rob Hayles, cycle at their maximum speed in two peak power tests of 10 and 30 seconds. Following that all candidates took part in an endurance test in which resistance is steadily increased until the rider can no longer continue.
Following the testing the ULV Team have selected three riders for the ARION1 Speed Bike, although they haven't revealed the riders' names yet.
With cycling growing in popularity, in no small part due to the success of rider such as Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish, the students
"We're renowned around the world for our cycling capabilities - [so] why can't we do this?" team leader Benjamin Hogan told the BBC.
"The thing that's powering this is a set of legs, and I wouldn't want any other than a British cyclist pedalling this thing because it's a tall order."
And what of the velocipede, what does it look like?
"It has two wheels, it has steering, it has a seat and it has brakes. It has all the components that a normal bicycle would have but they've just been rearranged," the engineering student says.
"They're cycling in what's called a recumbent position, where the rider is sort of lying down on his back."
Photos with thanks to the University of Liverpool Velocipede Team