By Srdjan Zivulovic
When streamlined bicycle designer Damjan Zabovnik brought me to the garage of his family home, in the Slovenian village of Skale close to Velenje, I thought there would be a hall or small workshop nearby where he could work on and test his masterpieces.
I was wrong. Damjan proudly opened the door leading to the garage, where a mid-sized car could hardly fit. Once inside, he patted his new bike and told me that it was ready for this year.
The garage was filled with bike-related parts, including various gear wheels, tools, his training bike and the bike itself. Damjan is used to facing challenges when building his 19 kilogram (41 pound) pearl among bikes, and had constructed this one from scratch. As usual, putting together the special transmission gear that he designed and manufactured himself in his father’s metalworking workshop was his major difficulty.
Damjan is both a bike designer and a cyclist. While studying the problems of mechanics and aerodynamics, he took a break, lay down on his practice bike and completed a training session. Immediately afterwards, he returned, with incredible ease, to his technical challenges: gear wheels, and the problem of power transmission to the rear wheel.
While on his bike, Damjan remained lying down and drove backwards. He could only see the track in the small rearview mirror fixed to the interior of his streamlined machine. Through his passion for these strange vehicles, this young man with a great heart has achieved his childhood dream, both in his small garage, and on tracks all over the world. He is the current low-altitude world record holder for the 200 meters (yards) flying start, having achieved an average speed of 107.2 kilometers per hour (67 mph) on the Dekra Test Oval in Germany.