After watching the tail end of the morning session of the World Human Powered Speed Challenge on Nevada Highway 305, we headed back to the Super 8 hotel to bench race. During one conversation with Georgi Georgiev and promising youngin' from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo named Will Hilgenberg, a cocky guy named Thom Ollinger strolled by. He smiled like a Cheshire Cat, and said, "I can ride that!" Then he went on his way. He returned a little while later, and said, "If you need someone to ride that... There's no bike I can't ride". When he asked Georgie to vouch for him, Georgie nodded his head in agreement.
I discussed Thom's offer with my dad and my friend, Pat. Pat said, "I want to see it go!" Since I had already scratched up both sides of it, we pretty much had nothing to lose. And it wasn't a matter of swallowing my pride - I knew it was unrealistic to expect to be able to ride a streamliner with no experience on any sort of recumbent. If Thom could ride it, great - the bike is viable. If Thom cannot ride it, then at least we know there's something wrong with the bicycle.
We walked around the parking lot, and found Thom in his pit area. We told him we'd like to take him up on his offer. About ten minutes later, we were on the same frontage road where I crashed the say before.
Pat pushing Thom...
And he's off!
And he just kept on going. We hopped in Pat's truck, to catch him to take more pictures.
After over three miles of riding the streamliner with both hands, with one hand, and, briefly, with no hands, Thom proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the bike is rideable.
Thom said the bike handled very well. He gave us some pointers for improving it, and stressed the importance of getting a lot of miles on a recumbent. Seeing Thom ride the bike was like giving each of us a hundred dollar bill - we were thrilled that all our hard work wasn't a complete waste of time and money.