World Hand-Cycling Speed Record

Students at Plymouth University are aiming to break a world record… the female World Hand-Cycle Speed Record.

Project leader Adam Kyte, Lecturer in Mechanical and Marine Engineering Design, has worked with Plymouth students from the School of Marine Science and Engineering. Their target is to design and manufacture an arm-powered vehicle to set a new world record. A culmination of four years work from students, academics and technicians it has seen students involved in all aspects of the project, from the virtual testing in SOLIDWORKS Simulation to physical testing at RAF St Mawgan. All with the aim of optimising the design and maximising the power transmission from arm to wheel.

With the competition dates in the Nevada desert this September, we look at the team, the challenge and the tools they have used.

Project Nevada SOLIDWORKS Research

Plymouth University’s team will be flying to Nevada this September and competing between the 13th and 16th


How The Design Evolved

Over the past fours years, Plymouth University engineering students have helped in all aspects of the project, including;

  • The mechanism for steering and power transmission
  • Structural design of the frame
  • Shape and manufacturing methods for the shell

The hand-cycle itself is made up of an aluminium frame and composite shell. Using CAD tools such SOLIDWORKS Simulation, students are able to optimise the aerodynamics and subsequently test various steering and riding positions. This project has formed part of the student studies and some final year dissertations. This has subsequently given Plymouth Engineering courses real exposure to both practical and academic skills and, possibly, a part of history.

The Team

This really is a team effort made up of students, academics and technicians with Adam as the project leader. It also includes the world class athlete Sarah Piercy. Sarah, a former winner and ten times competitor of the London Marathon is tasked to break the current women’s record of 24.76mph.

Project Nevada - Sarah Piercy
Sarah Piercy – Aiming to break the 24.76mph mark

SOLIDWORKS Education Connecting Students

Cadtek have worked with Plymouth University to offer SOLIDWORKS Education to all of their Engineering and Mechanical undergraduate courses. Because of the student access initiative all of their students have access to SOLIDWORKS on their personal laptop or PC. Giving them the freedom to pursue their studies outside of the classroom without the constraints of access restricted computer labs.

Testing earlier this year at RAF St Mawgan (from left): Adam Kyte, Wing Commander Guy Bazalgette, student Louise Kiero-Watson, student Oscar Whitmarsh, Sarah Piercy, and Master Aircrew Tim Thompson (Credits

Want to be a part of history?

Competing against teams from around the globe Project Nevada are confident of getting a result after successful trials here in the UK. You can be a part of the team by helping to fund the students costs from travel and accommodation to race day drinks and snacks. Contribute anything from ten pounds upwards and in return get a range of rewards. These can be anything from limited edition key rings to having your logo printed on the hand-cycle itself.

To read more on how the project is going and how you can help visit
Follow their progress on Twitter @Project_Nevada

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