Gravity Racer World Record: The Record Attempt

It was time to see if we could set a world record speed for a gravity racer. The weather was 21ºC in nearby Avignon and the wind on the 2 km road section was light. Feeling buoyant from the previous day’s 81.8 mph and having a number of further changes up our sleeves — we were optimistic.   […]

Gravity Racer World Record: Location

Mont Ventoux  — In the Provence region of southern France — is the mountain mecca for road bike enthusiasts. Jam-packed with glorious, sweeping, alpine roads and stunning scenery, “what a location!” I hear you say. Believe me, the selection of a location was no easy task. Mont Ventoux (Photo – Channel 4) To give us an idea of […]

Gravity Racer World Record: Design

The gravity racer was designed and constructed by the team at CSER (Heather Driscoll, Terry Senior, Alice Bullas, John Hart and Christina King). As with most engineering projects, we did not have an unlimited budget or time, so where possible we tried to use and modify bought in components. Modify is the key word though; […]

Gravity Racer World Record: Theory

When we accepted the challenge of designing a gravity racer we were inundated with offers of help: tips on what we should do, recommendations for which parts we should be using etc. It seemed that nearly everyone we spoke to was an expert! While some of their advice was gratefully received we decided to spend a bit […]

The need for speed: the downhill toboggan world record

Sometimes you get a phone call and someone asks you for help: they get you on a good day, at a positive moment and you think “yeah, why not? That sounds like fun”.  Later, you realise you’re committed to helping to break a world record — the fastest speed for a gravity powered sled — and people […]

Cycling’s a drag, but it doesn’t have to be

After a regrettably lengthy hiatus from the blog, this article was inspired by the excellent aerodynamics segments of the ITV’s tour de France coverage (in collaboration with Southampton University). Cycling aerodynamics in the 1980’s A few years ago my colleague Dr Richard Lukes wrote a review paper titled “The understanding and development of cycling aerodynamics” […]

Humidity doesn’t affect cricket ball swing

This July sees the next biannual conference on Sports Engineering, held at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. The conference always has a lot of interesting papers on the subject of engineering and technology in sport. Thanks to the internet age, the papers at this conference are also available online for anyone to read. Before the […]