Project Nevada – Records are made to be broken

Thursday was a slow day. The morning run showed Sarah’s time drop even further for her original run on Monday. Thursday had perfect conditions and the bike was running to performance but Sarah was only able to produce 19.5 mph. This left the team is a bit of a worry. They had started closer to the timing gates to allow Sarah to put as much power down as possible and all the changes throughout the week had made the bike a lot more comfortable so they didn’t know what they could d to improve it. The team has an emergency meeting to establish what to do next. They decided to put covers on the wheels to reduce the drag even further and give Sarah a splint for her left hand as she has always had problems with her grip and strength there. It is then back out to testing to make sure all was ok.

The next morning brought another great day with minimal winds. This was the last day that the team could try and break the record before going home so the officials gave them 2 runs, on in heat 2 and one in heat 5. William Kemp worked with Sarah to warm her up and prepare her for the race, something that hadn’t been done before. A last minute check of the bike wad done before Sarah was sent on her way. The onboard computer showed that she had maxed out at close to 25.5 mph but the team is unsure of when this was and if it could have been sustained over the 200-metre timing gate. Sarah’s second run was very similar with a great performance power output and similar speeds. Another concern was about the wind speed over the two tests. The wind varies down the 5mile track and as the team can’t be near the timing gate, there is no knowing if the run could be legal or not.

At the 11 o’clock briefing the team soon found out. Both runs were declared legal with the first being 24.85 a new women’s hand cycling world record beating the existing one by just 0.15 mph. This doesn’t seem like much until you consider that this speed was an average over a 200-metre time trap. The team was ecstatic that they could finally pull it out. After a week of so many trials and disappointment, and 4 years in the making, they were finally able to break the record. Numerous media outlets such as the BBC and Plymouth Herald have reported on the story. The team is flying home this evening and hope to re-design and build a bike to race in 2018.

We have been filming all of the events throughout the week and hope to release a full documentary on the story late October. 

-James Haslam (OWP CEO)

Project Nevada Trial and Error

Day 5 (13th September) of Project Nevada began slowly. The team ventured out to the test track around 6.10am and began setting up but there was a storm coming over the mountains. It began raining and the event was called off. Even though the handcycle is stable enough to work in windy  or wet conditions, all the other competitors use two wheel bicycles with minimal traction so the event would be too unsafe. At 11 o’clock 3rd grade elementary children came to the hand cycle base in the Battle Mountain Civic Centre to learn about the bikes, engineering and had a fun time overall getting autographs from the teams. As the hand cycle was the only bike that the children can sit in and operate, a long line quickly formed. This event happens every year with the schools in order to help promote engineering and give the visitors some real world learning. 

The next day conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. Even with some rain in Battle Mountain, the site was unaffected and the wind was ‘Legal’ meaning that it was low enough to be considered a small enough variable to not assist or hinder the riders. As the team had practised on Monday, the setup of the bike ran smoothly with lots of time to spare. Unfortunately, Sarah had some issues with the bike during her run and was not able to improve on her 23.5mph speed on Monday. The rest of the day was therefore then spent on fixing the issues and testing to make sure, the additions were working and Sarah would be comfortable for the next day’s record attempt. 

-James Haslam (OWP CEO)


Project Nevada Testing and First Record Attempt

After a long two days of travel, the team got stuck in with testing on. Due to the bike being flown from the UK by the RAF, no electronics were allowed in the bike and a lot of the bike had to be disassembled. The team, therefore, started by re-attaching the wheels and setting up the steering mechanism. As new sponsors had come onboard, a few of the team were given the task of adding the sponsor logos to the bike.

The bike then had to be taken to the Civic Centre in the middle of Battle Mountain to have a technical inspection by the race officials. It passed with flying colours and officials that had been there for a few years, recognised some of the changes that the team had been working on to make the bike even safer. 

After, the inspection, it was then on to give Sarah her first test of the bike since the middle of  August. Most of the changes made in this test were comfort based, making a chin strap to help hold her head up in the traditionally uncomfortable position that has to be adopted by the rider of this sort of bike. Tests also included adjusting the steering to Sarah’s specifications and sorting out the electronics of the bike. The team then headed back to the Civic Centre for an evening briefing to be introduced to the rest of the team, talk over the week and the way that the competition is laid out. 

Day 4 brought on the first day of running on the official course. As they were in the first heat, everyone had to be up and at the track ready to set up the bike for 6.20. The winds in the morning were too high for a legal run so all runs were used as a test to make sure the riders were familiar with the track and the officials, familiar with the organisation of the event. Sarah (athlete) was still able to clock a speed of 23.5 mph even with a high crosswind, a small mechanical issue and a technical fault at the start. The rest of the day was used to fix the mechanical and technical issues, ready for two runs on day 5. 

Follow this feed for regular updates throughout the competition.

-James Haslam (OWP CEO)


The Beginning of Project Nevada

After an 11 hour flight, and two 7 hours drives totalling in a journey of 6055 miles, we are finally here. The bike was picked up from Las Vegas by some of the team while the others flew into San Jose just south of San Francisco. We all then traveled to Battle Mountain, Nevada. Getting in late last night combined with the jet lag, it was a quick meal and off to bed. 

Most of the team are camping just a few miles from the test track while Sarah (Aethlete) and Lloyd (Photographer) are staying in a motel in central Battle Mountain. Today, the team is busy putting the bike back together after the flight and sorting out all the new sponsor stickers on the bike’s shell. The bike will go out for a test later on the day to change and adjust the bike for Sarah before a safety test by the organisers in the evening. 

Check back here for more updates on the project and follow @Project_Nevada for an instant feed. 

-James Haslam (OWP CEO)

Project Nevada Documentary

Over the last few months, Open World have worked with the Plymouth University Handcycle Engineering team to produce creative, informative content for the teams fundraising campaign. The team raised a total of £1500 for the cause through the Crowdfunder which will go towards paying for the team to fly out to Nevada in early September to attempt the break the female Handcycling world record with Sarah Piercy.

As a result of the work carried out, the handcycle team have invited Open World to document the process and produce a short promotional film/ Documentary of the teams’ efforts in 2016. This footage will then go on to be used in the teams’ future funding support ventures as well as used for promotional content for Plymouth University at attract future engineering students.

We will be flying out on the 9th of September and producing regular updates and behind the scenes photos on the website as well as our social media accounts.

2016 Summer Update

Chris Jones Interview

We have two large projects that we are working on over the course of the next few months. Firstly, we have been very fortunate to be able to work with the Plymouth Handcycle Engineering team to create promotional content for their cause. They are trying to raise funding in order to support the costs of flying to the Navada and competing with their 2016 handcycle in the aims of breaking both men’s and women’s handcycle world speed record. The image above shows Chris Jones (Right), one of the athletes competition, as we interviewed him in the Plymouth University grounds along with Catie Hall (Left), Plymouth Stakeholder Engagement Officer. The video should be released in the middle of June with a longer project overview and documentary in late 2016.

Another sports team that we will be working with over the summer is the Plymouth University Leg-Powered Submarine Engineering team (PULSE) who are aiming to go to Gosport, UK in July to compete at the europian submarine competition. They have been working all year on their existing submarine, Mayflower, in order to make it easier to control, faster and easier to maintain. The promotion video used as part of the entry can be seen on the projects page here:

Tattoo Finished

After 6 months of planning, filming and editing, the music video to Tom Baker’s debut single, Tattoo, has finally been released. As part of the package, we also produced three behind the scenes videos for the three days of filming to give viewers an insight as to the hard work that went into making the film. To see more, click Here

Dart Dash Finished

Today, the Dart Dash 2016 Aftermovie was uploaded to the OWP Youtube channel. We received great feedback from the teams and crews involved and it is great to help raise awareness for the Ashburton Dartmoor Mountain Rescue service. Click Here to read more.