Week Two of Testing – Day 2
After yesterday’s rained out session, the team and I were itching to get the bike out on the runway to check the changes that had been made, and really try to give it a good speed test.
I didn’t receive any messages so I assumed we were good to go. And after a last minute scramble for food for the day I headed out to the test site.
I arrived at the test site and the team was all set and ready to go, but Mother Nature wasn’t. There was a bit of rain in the air and the runway was pretty wet. With time to kill we huddled under the awning with some of the team members making last minute adjustments and others in deep philosophical discussions.
After numerous checks with the weather forecasts revealing that it was always supposed to have cleared up 5 minutes ago, we finally had our break. In the late morning, the rain stopped and we got just enough sun to dry out the runway to a nice traditional British “damp”. Given that I was going to have full weather protection inside the shell, I was ready to go and so was the team.
Good fortune was on us and we made a number of test runs, both checking out the bike and the rider. In order to keep aerodynamics optimised as much as possible, clearances are exceptionally tight in many areas so ensuring that everything cleared the shell and openings was critical. Adjustments had been made for my hands, and the team finessed the space for the tyres and they discussed a few other adjustments to make to improve that. That’s the kind of meticulous detail the engineers have been going to.
We had great success finding that the added steering dampeners worked very well and with that, the bike was much more stable. As a result, I managed a number of runs where I achieved some very good speeds. This was the test for me though, in two parts. Part one was proving that I could get the bike up to speed and to show that I wasn’t just talk. Part two was controlling that speed. Fact is, the bike really wants to move, and it really makes you want to pedal hard, but you can’t. To get the speed you want there is much more technique involved than just going all out.
But, the upshot was that I achieved a respectable top speed, with my best results going into what was estimated to be a 10-15 mph headwind!
The downside was that with no depth perception, I got lost. On a straight runway, if you can believe it. I hit my top speed and within a matter of seconds, saw my catch team leap out of the way! Of course, this meant I was at the end of the runway and needed some hard braking ‘cause I was not going to be the one who ran the bike off the road. Thank goodness the team had sent me this a few weeks before: