The Human Machine
The human body is an amazingly efficient machine that is capable of accomplishing a wide variety of physical tasks. When coupled with a mechanical machine, a single person can accomplish extraordinary physical feats. Part of this project is to show that a person is capable of powering a bicycle across the country in a single summer.
A Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver is being used to calculate distance travelled, average speed, top speed, total elevation gain, total elevation loss, and net elevation change for each daily segment. These variables will be compared to see what effect terrain has on human performance.
Nutrition is also a very important component to understanding how the human body performs. A daily log of food and water consumption is being kept in order to track the total energy expenditure for the rider. From this I hope to be able to tell the total amount of energy required to traverse the country along the TransAmerica route on a bicycle.
In preparation for the trip, I underwent a training regimen that had two stages. In the early spring of 2002, I rode as often as I had free time with just the bicycle. I mixed hill riding with riding along flat roads. This built cardiovascular endurance and toned the muscle groups that are necessary to power the recumbent. The second stage in training ca,me in the beginning of May when I will added the trailer and gear to the bicycle. The trailer and gear adversely affect the handling characteristics of the bicycle. This requires more strength and skill on the part of the rider.
By the time the trip began I built up enough cardiovascular endurance, physical strength, and skill in handling the rig to tackle the Appalachian Mountains during the first few weeks of the trip. Each of these three important attriubutes will grew as the summer progressed. I hope to be able to quantitatively measure my increase in performance through the summer using data from the GPS.
NEW SECTION (7/30/02)
I have noticed significant changes in my body over the past two months of riding.
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Lawrence J. Flint