Cal Poly Human Powered Vehicle Team to Race at Battle Mountain

The Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) Team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is doing something a little different this year.  Rather than race at the student competition put on by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), they decided to compete at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) in Battle Mountain, Nevada this September.

Five members attended last year as guests of George Leone and his wife Carole (former president of the International Human-Powered Vehicle Association).  George has a long history with Cal Poly and is a font of knowledge when it comes to both composites and Human Powered Vehicle Racing.  He volunteered sporadically helping Cal Poly’s HPV teams from 1980 to 1989, and then continuously from 1989 to the present.  George also ran the Cal Poly Projects Shop from 2001 to 2017.  This shop includes facilities for machining, student welding, woodworking, sheet metal work, advanced composites and design space for senior projects, as well as nine engineering clubs that compete at a national level.  He has also built and raced his own HPVs since 1988.

“After retiring in July 2017, I signed up as a volunteer again. I’m working with student Teams and Senior Projects at least 1 day a week,” he says.  “It’s never felt like ‘work’, it’s a joy to watch young people develop into confident, skilled hands-on engineers! And they teach me a lot, too!” he adds.

Leone says being at the 2018 WHPSC event inspired the HPV Team to build and race.  They are documenting their entire process for future teams and are one of the best organized teams George has seen in the last 38 years of his involvement with Cal Poly. Along with extensive engineering, they are fundraising and getting close to their goal!  You can sponsor them by donating HERE.

The team is bonding sheets of PBLT-15 Precision Board HDU with PB Bond 240 adhesive, following the instructions in our training video (you can check that out here).

George says, “Precision Board HDU is easy for both beginners and experienced people to work with, has a high recyclables content and is amazingly consistent. It’s a great experience for Engineering majors to work with such a well thought-out product line!”

The fairing will be machined by Safran Aerosystems, formerly Zodiac Aerospace. The Team will build the carbon/Kevlar fairing using room-temperature vacuum bagging techniques they are experienced with. Their twin goals are to break the Cal Poly record of 59.89 mph and the undergraduate collegiate record (designed, built and ridden by undergraduate students) held by UC Berkeley at 61.2 mph.

You can follow the HPV Team’s progress at their website, on  their Instagram and Facebook accounts and donate towards their project here or at their Crowdfund site here.


Starting in 1978, Cal Poly students began to lead inquiries into the limits of bicycle performance. They were the first Mechanical Engineering design/build club at Cal Poly, producing many faired bicycles. These bikes were excellent for their time, but were only just scratching the surface of Cal Poly’s human powered potential.

In 1983, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) began formally hosting competitions for HPVs. Before this, the HPV club raced in general recumbent bicycle competitions, but with a clearly defined and regular competition, the team was able to tailor their bike more effectively. They quickly found success in these competitions, consistently placing well, including numerous 1st place finishes.

However, over time the ASME competition became overly defined, forcing teams to design concurrently for speed, safety, stability, baggage capacity and steering. This made it difficult to create a bike that excelled in any one category. For this reason, the Team withdrew from the ASME competition this year and transitioned to a competition focused on one thing – pure speed.

This year, the Team is embarking on a new journey: traveling to Battle Mountain, Nevada in September 2019 to best the U.S. collegiate team speed record of 61.3 miles per hour. Follow the Team on our journey, and if you’d like to support us, links and information can be found here.


At Coastal Enterprises, we like to look at the composites industry as a fully collaborative effort. Every fresh new development by an individual is really a contribution to a collective knowledge base. Like any scientific pursuit, the most potent advancements are made when information is shared freely between likeminded groups of people. For this reason, we feel obliged to do everything we can to enlighten and empower the future community of composites professionals.  That’s why we support school programs with donations of Precision Board HDU.  Click HERE to find out more about the program or give us a call with your questions at 800-845-0745.