S.F.-L.A. Dragstrip Update!

Penseyres and Solon set records

Pete Penseyres won the $5,000 Paul Mitchell Prize by cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 18 hours!

We’re outta here! Pete Penseyres said. He lowered the hatch on his Lightning X-2 faired recumbent, waved goodbye to the cameras, and left San Francisco’s City Hall a few minutes before 4 a.m. on a cool, clear Sunday morning. Just before 10 p.m. that evening he rolled up to City Hall in Los Angeles with a new human-powered S.F.-L.A. record — 18 hours and four minutes — and a strong claim to part of the $10,000 Paul Mitchell Systems Prize, to be bestowed on the three people to make the trip fastest before August 31, 1991.

The Paul Mitchell Prize, offered by the Paul Mitchell salon products company, is a contest for practical vehicles; the rider must be fully self-sufficient, finish with everything he or she started with, and carry or buy all food used. The follow crew provides only navigational assistance and observation.

The Lightning X-2 is the same vehicle Penseyres rode across the U.S. in five days, one hour during RAAM 1989, with his brother Jim, Bob Fourney, and Michael Coles taking turns at the pedals. Looking like a fish from the side and a watermelon seed from the front, the X-2 weighs around 75 pounds with sereval gallons of water and UltraEnergy on board, and has lights, turn signals, fully enclosed fiberglass body … everything but fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror.

The route featured El Camino Real, Pacheco Pass, and I-5. Penseyres had projected a time of 17 hours, which he might have attained had he not lost time repairing the bike after attempting to turn too sharply and crashing. A truly committed commuter, Penseyres rode his usual 65 miles to work and […]

Penseyres and Solon set San Francisco to LA records