Need for velocity: The quest for the world’s fastest humans, without an engine

Battle Mountain, Nevada( CNN) Route 305 is a seemingly nondescript stretching of road in the midst of a very empty country, connecting two small towns.

But in the middle of this desolate valley of brown-yellow scrub brush, amid cows and wooden telephone poles and with opinions of dirt-brown mounds, there’s a windy 5-mile stretching of flat freeway where world records are broken every year.

Since 2000, the World Human Powered Speed Challenge( originally called the World’s Fastest Bicycle Competition) has assembled university teams and enterprising individuals who have engineered various bikes to be the fastest any human has traveled without the aid of an engine.

The bicycle is arguably one of the greatest inventions of mankind. An average motorcycle is five times more efficient than walking when you compare the energy eaten to intersect a mile. And although the design hasn’t changed much over the past 100 years — because it hasn’t needed to — the exception to that lies among a small, international clan getting close to breaking a 90 -mile per hour velocity barrier.

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