It’s 20 minutes by bike


After a long day trying to get our little Steve through tech inspection (notoriously difficult for hydrogen teams), I had my own little adventure in the city of Houston. To begin with, tech inspection went quite well, and the Shell Eco-Marathon makes for a nice view, as always.


The safety technicians sent us home with just a few minor things to fix, one of which was the installation of a fuse within our auxiliary circuit. This is easy to do, except that we didn’t have any fuses. The team took a vote and decided that their project manager was the smelliest, and anyways the guys needs to the start pulling his weight on the team. I was sent on a journey with nothing but a 3-speed municipal rental bike to this relaxed-looking establishment:


I remember being assured that the ride there would only take “20 minutes” and it didn’t seem that far on Google Maps (on my phone’s little screen). However, my team didn’t leave me without the good advice to hurry back before it got too dark.


With my dedication to the team presumably reaffirmed, I took this opportunity to really get to know the city of Houston and its people. In all honesty, it seems to be layered like an onion. As you make your way from the suburbs to downtown, you move from younger, intoxicated individuals and one-storey buildings, to poorer-looking strip malls and apartments, to young rich people driving expensive cars to downtown parties, and then to homeless folks again. But the air is surprisingly sweet. Here are a few of the photos:

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We’re hoping to make it to the track tomorrow, but everyone is still dead-tired from the flight and the previous night, so we’ve taken a somewhat early evening. In contrast, I can verify that Université Laval (reigning champions of the Americas) neither sleep nor take breaks. They just test their engine constantly.



About Balazs Gyenes

Balazs is the Project Manager for the University of Alberta Eco-Car team. He is also in his third year of Engineering Physics: Nanoengineering option.