Kinetic Sculpture Race 2005

This year, I once again participated in the World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race. For those of you who don’t know this race, it is a three-day, 38-mile race, for human-powered amphibious sculptures (there are about two miles of open water, to go along with a couple miles of sand dunes and a lot of roads).

Most of the sculptures are much more elaborate than mine, but there’s only so much you can do on a unicycle. I was again “Cyclops” this year, but my art was much better than last year; I had a better eyeball, a functioning eyelid, and an eyeball helmet (think of The Replacements) that was a big hit with the crowd.

I also had an extra wheel, a Gazz 26x3" to try to get over the sands. On flats and downhills I was able to get chunks of distance at a time, but uphill was just too difficult. After nearly two hours I had made it about a quarter mile, and then my cheap-ass Lasco crank failed on me. So I wasn’t able to “Ace” the course, as I wound up pushing over the rest of the sand. (There was a lot more to come). I did manage to ride down Dead Man’s Drop, near the sand exit:

The rest of the race was pretty easy; I had to work to carry the pack (which weighed about 50 pounds, including the inflatable kayak and the extra wheel), but I was so much lighter and simpler than most of the sculptures that I again wound up in the top 5 in overall speed. The hardest part was coming into camp on the second day, when I had to fight a quartering headwind on a straight road for 4 miles. When you have a wheel disc, a quartering headwind is the worst, because it always pushes on the same side of the disc. A direct headwind slows you down, but the quartering headwind makes one of your legs do all the work. I had to tack back and forth across the road to be able to use different muscles.

I got good support from my pit crew, Nancy and Ashley, who helped me mount over and over in the sand, and made my transitions much faster than they could be on my own. [If I do this again next year, I was thinking it would be great to have an entourage of Coker riders following along].

The race is just an outstanding event for lovers of art and engineering; these are some of the strangest contraptions you’ll ever see, accomplishing pretty significant feats of engineering.

The full gallery of images is at

Sweet, Tom H… Makes me wanna do something like that some day.

ha ha

That is some funny stuff!
Enjoyed the photos!

Kinetic Sculpture races are interesting. I watched the Kinetic race last year in Port Townsend WA. The Henry Ford entry and the Magic Bus entry were in the Port Townsend race last year. Probably some others as well. Looks like there were a few Coker tires on some of the entries. Did ya check? Did they use the Airfoil rim?

John, the Kinetic races are just a few months away on your home turf in Corvallis.i’ll expect to see you there.

Scaredy Cat switched this year from the custom aluminum hoops favored by most of the big sculptures, to a set of four Coker wheels (two on each side). The rims weren’t structural; the structure was still a custom aluminum hoop, and the rims (with no spokes) were just mounted around the outside of the hoop.

Someone also was riding around on one of the Coker bicycles, but it wasn’t entered in the race.

The Magic Bus was an outstanding entry; they would have won Grand Champion if they were a little faster on the roads. They could roll straight in and out of the water without changing wheels or anything; a lot of fun to watch.


Your entry looks great! I can’t imagine what it was like riding with that pack, especially in sand an wind. Congratulations on all the work you put in to preparing, and for a great finish. That is cool that you were able to ride that sand downhill for the crowds.


The pack isn’t that bad once you’re up; it makes freemounting and idling quite a challenge, but riding forward isn’t hard. I only had one UPD on 35 miles of roads, and that was while I was wearing the eyeball helmet and couldn’t really see road imperfections.

The wheel disc makes more of an impact when it’s windy.