Oz HPV Inc. came about because most of the people responsible for organising the ACT HPV Challenge over the years recognised that for the Challenge to grow it needed to be out from under the auspices of Pedal Power.
Pedal Power had been instrumental in ensuring growth of the Challenge to what it has become over the past several years. By the same token Pedal Power could not by virtue of it's Constitution take the Challenge or it's offspring Nationally. For any growth to happen on the recumbent scene in Australia the feeling was that events have to happen outside Canberra, the ACT HPV Challenge is Australia's only regular open land based event.
One of our initial decisions was that an ACT only group would not allow us to follow our vision as easily of a more recumbent (and human powered) future in Australia. OzHPV Inc. is to become an umbrella body for like organisations that we plan to have appear around Australia as time passes, so long as we do our job.
The spirit of HPV's is alive in Australia on a regional basis, but there had been no effective organisation to help it progress to a wider appreciation. Part of our intention is to bring the culture of HPV out of the curiosity stage to a point where for a number of tasks other technologies are accepted as the sane way to get the job done.
On our notice of Incorporation we stated one of our aims is to promote HPV events in Australia. Initially much of this will be recumbent bicycle racing, at various levels. You might also notice that the first major events planned are in Canberra, I guess that's because we live here, the Challenge has always been here and I had too many chance (?) encounters of the useful kind to ignore.
We are focussing on recumbent competitions initially because that is the easiest way to demonstrate that the status quo is not necessarily the smartest way to use your energy and have fun when it comes to bicycles.
The modern racing bicycle is the product of two arbitrary design constraints dating from 1934 laid down by the Union Cycliste Internationale specifically designed to preclude recumbent bicycles from competition because of their ergonomic and aerodynamic efficiency. The general vein of competition as laid down by the UCI is that they are testing the riders ability. If you follow information coming from the UCI you will see this formula will soon begin to phase out some of the advances in bicycle design in recent years. This is to maintain the person to person competition aspect, as distinct from the engineering advantage. We have no argument with that given the stated aims of the competition basis.
What we intend to do for Australia is allow those people who want to compete unfettered by a restrictive bicycle formula that precludes optimum speed and handling abilities to have competitions to take part in.
Until our numbers increase most of our high profile events will probably be associated with existing events. We are already making plans for changes to that leading up to the the 2000 Olympics and beyond. Our intention with this competition tack is to bring the HPV idea to the public notice as easily as possible. We also recognise that by far the greater percentage of people have no real intention to make competition their way of life, they just want to find a more comfortable and perhaps easier way to go for a ride.
There are also a great many people who either cannot or do not want to ride a conventional bicycle that can find satisfaction with either the recumbent position or alternatively an upright trike. Increased mobility, being able to get out in the world under your own steam is one the very real benefits a free approach to design allows for a very large number of people. Mobility with physical exercise, at your own pace. Regular exercise at almost any level has positive health benefits, with the potential to extend a healthy life span. With a population, like most of the developed world, that is tending toward a higher percentage of older age groups this could be a very positive thing.
Paul Segal - Past OzHPV President