Pedal-Powered Vehicle Breaks A Land Speed Record, Reaching 85 MPH

Bikes are a good source of exercise and transportation, but they still have their limits. Since their engines are the legs used to pedal them, only a real superhuman would stand a chance of riding down a freeway without incident. Even so, that didn’t stop some would-be speed demons from going all in — and now they have the record to show for it.

They didn’t use a conventional bike, though. Todd Reichert, a pilot for Team AeroVelo, is a competitor in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge. As the name implies, he used his bullet-shaped Eta speedbike to pedal down a five-mile stretch, and then reach his proverbial top gear for measurement in a speed trap. In the end, Reichert managed to hit 85.71 miles per hour — which is more than two miles faster than the previous speed, and thus enough to earn a spot as the new record holder.

AeroVelo is no stranger to human-powered motion or records; the Canadian team built an aircraft that sustained flight for nineteen seconds — powered by a human alone — and earned a spot in Guinness’ pages. It’s no surprise that they scored again with Eta, given that it has a hundredth of the drag normal cars experience. There’s always the possibility that Eta and AeroVelo can be dethroned, but it’s safe to say that no one will outpace them for a good while.

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