Oklahoma City University News
Invention Takes OCU Alumnus from Coast to Coast
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Oklahoma City University alumnus Frans van der Merwe is pedaling his way across
the country this month in a newly-designed vehicle he invented. van der Merwe
debuted his Pterovelo human-powered vehicle as part of the Roll Over America
(ROAM) tour, which kicked off July 28 in Portland, Ore.
50 velomobile, or human-powered vehicle, riders from the United States, Europe
and Canada have joined the tour, which is currently passing through South
Dakota. The tour will continue through 15 states and finish Aug. 24 in
Merwe pedals about 125 miles per day and
is updating fans on his blog, which includes video and live tracking. Fans can
make donations to encourage van der Merwe on his journey and send him SMS
off with a fairly big hill this morning,” van der Merwe wrote on Monday. “I was
able to push fairly hard up the hill and make a good start. The rest of the day
was nice and fast.”
Merwe has faced a few challenges along the way.
sweat and tears today,” he wrote last week. “Crossed one more mountain. The
good thing is it was pretty.”
Merwe, a 2007 graduate of OCU, has an eclectic background as a pilot, engineer,
inventor and artist of composite design. With more than 20 years of experience
in the sky, van der Merwe has been enjoyed paragliding, hand gliding and
piloting sailplanes and private planes across the globe. He has amassed more
than 15 years of experience in composite design and construction, ranging from
state-of-the-art gliders to the Red Bull acrobatic planes.
Pterovelo is a 70-pound recumbent tricycle that features a full enclosure, LED
headlights, rear lights, brake lights, turn signals, a USB port, an evaporative
cooling system, a rear view camera with LCD display and storage space. The name
is taken from the Greek word Ptero, meaning “wing,” and the French word “velo,”
Pterovelo is American technology and innovation at its best,” van der Merwe
said. “With the majority of velomobiles produced overseas, this Oklahoma-made
cycle differs by blending together the ideals of most cycling enthusiasts.”
that the cycle’s lightweight shape creates more speed with less exertion,
resulting in a 20 to 30 percent increase in personal performance.
more information or to follow van der Merwe’s journey, visit www.