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[personal profile] alessandro_bard
As requested, here are some more shots of the railbike in its natural habitat. My buddy Will at wilcofilms.com was available this afternoon and shot some pictures with a huge camera rig and an astonishingly good lens:





And that saw-blade guide flange. What's that? You wouldn't want to see that coming at your toes? It's harmless, truly.

And, as a bonus, Will amused us both by shooting some HD video:






 
Now that the bike is stable, getting up to speed is turning out to be a real challenge. I measured off a 700 foot course, which is the approximate length of the real thing, on a straight section of track that is in acceptable shape, though slightly uphill. My best time across that was just under 41 seconds.

Uh-oh.

The winner from last year finished a hair under 20 seconds, which translates to an average speed of 25 MPH. And this is from a standing start. Even if I take the test course downhill (some bushes need to be trimmed to make the rail on that side passable without dodging branches), that's nothing - I need to cut my time in half!

Speed! Speed! Speed! "Engineer, I need warp power NOW!"

The bike is quite stable now, though I don't have the high gear range fixed yet. It still seems to me like if I can reduce the drag of the guide system, I can find a lot more speed. It's all wheels already, so now it's a geometry puzzle to make sure all the wheels are properly aligned and nothing is dragging unnecessarily.

At least last year's winner has entered with a much more whimsical contraption this year. It is powered by four riders, and propels itself with two giant 7' fans. Sounds utterly astonishing, but on the other hand, it also sounds beatable, if I can just stay on the rails. Last year's second place was around 30 seconds. Maybe if I can beat that...
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alessandro_bard

May 2010

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