On the morning of September 24th, teams will line up on one side of Market Street for spectators, officials and the random bystander to get a close look at the marvelous engineering prowess of the sculptures about to race. The start will be a Lemans style start (pilots will be across the street from their sculptures wait for the sound of the start then run to their sculptures, get in and start pedaling) and will make its way through the city to the mud pit (location is a secret) then will continue on to the Lowell Heritage State Park and Beach to plunge into the waters of the Merrimack. Once out of the water they will race back to the finish line on Market Street(here is the Official Map). All teams will be following the race rules. Here are the 2016 Official Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race Rules.
What a Kinetic Sculpture Race is:
Kinetic Sculptures are all-terrain, human-powered, art sculptures, engineered to race over road, water, mud and sand. Kinetic sculptures are amazing works of art; many are animated with moving parts like blinking eyes, opening mouths, heads that move side to side and up and down. These machines of art are usually made from what some people consider “junk” or better put, recycled materials.
Each kinetic team has a theme and consist of pilots, pit crew and support crew. Kinetic pilots pedal the sculpture and steer, the pit crew assists the pilots in transforming the vehicle for the various elements and fixing mechanical issues, and support crew (minions), well, they do whatever is needed for the team to get glory. Spectators are encouraged to either watch from the sidelines or follow the race on their bikes (obeying all traffic laws that apply). Seeing these marvels of art and engineering turns many people on to bike culture, reminds them of how much fun riding your bike can be and also the wealth of recycled materials that is all around us. Learn more about the history of Kinetic Sculpture Racing here.
Several races exist around the United States, with the original race, The Kinetic Grand Championshipin Humboldt County, California. See the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race (also known as the East Coast Championship), Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture Race in Port Townsend, Washington, and the Ventura Kinetic Sculpture Race in Ventura, California for other examples.