The expedition team will carry out research into performance at altitude and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).  This will be achieved by trialing a novel lightweight recumbent exercise bicycle designed to provide a standard test environment to study oxygen flow to the brain. The climbers will be studied exercising at altitudes upto 17,000 feet and the flow of oxygen to the brain will be measured in order to begin to understand the causes of high altitude oedemas and reduce the risk of serious illness or death.  Pulmonary oedemas, which cause fluid to build up in the lungs and cerebral oedemas which cause swelling in the brain account for 17% of deaths among mountaineers on high altitude expeditions.

The 'ALTICYCLE' 

Designed and built by T.F.Crossman, Norfolk and
S. Harris, Mechanical Sciences Sector, DERA

DESIGN OF THE RECUMBENT ALTITUDE EXERCISE CYCLE

The Alticycle is a complete and novel redesign of existing altitude exercise cycles for use in medical altitude research testing.   Trevor Crossman, a retired Royal Airforce Airframes engineer designed and built the prototype model at home in Norfolk.   The Alticycle is in addition to previous designs of jeeps, boats, light aircraft and other working models that he has created over the past 25 years.

The cycle is designed to fit into a standard outdoor rucksack and be carried by a climber or porter.   The bike weighs 20 kg and can be used up to altitudes of 20,000 feet on snow, ice and rock. It is a test bed for a variety of medical altitude testing such as oxygen flow to the brain, ECG, Heart rate, muscle activity and many other fields.

The Alticycle will be constructed for the expedition by the Mechanical Science Sector at DERA Farnborough in Hampshire using the latest materials and composites.

Alticycle packed for transportation

 

 

AltiCycle extended for use

 

 

Alticycle in use

EXPEDITION TRIALS

The British DERA Aconcagua Expedition 2001 will trial this novel Alticycle up to Camp 1 on Aconcagua at an altitude of 16,500 feet above sea level. The cycle trials will concentrate on proving the design and construction of the Alticycle in the harsh Andean environment.   Basic medical tests such as heart rate and oxygen saturation will be carried out to prove the design's use in medical testing at altitude.

 

The trials will be carried out by 10 members of the expedition team and monitored by team doctors Jeremy Windsor and Deidre Galbraith. The altitude research is in conjunction with work currently being studied by Dr Jo Bradwell of the Birmingham Medical Research Expeditionary Society.