Guess What This Strange Contraption Is?

See that wacky, curved, blue and white thing up there? Guess what it is? No, it’s not a futuristic dust buster. It’s not a sex toy, either. Give up? It’s...drum roll, Arion 1 bicycle, the fastest bike in the world.

Created by the eight students who make up the University of Liverpool Velocipede Team, or ULV for short, the Arion 1 isn’t just a pet project. Each year, engineers from all over the world gather in Battle Mountain, Nevada (how cool would it be to live in a place called Battle Mountain?) to race crazy bicycles they’ve designed; the goal is to set the world land speed record for human-powered vehicles. The ULV are hoping to take the top spot in this year’s competition — which means they’ll have to beat the current record held by a Dutch-made contraption called the XeloX3. That record? Is 83.1 miles per hour. It's not warp speed, but it's close.

According to Fast Co. Design, the ULV is hoping their creation will be able to reach speeds of more than 90 miles per hour. The aerodynamic shell houses the wheels and so on; the inverted teardrop shape of the casing both allows the bike to cut through the air as easily as possible, while protecting the rider inside from taking (ick!) bugs and other detritus to the face. Since keeping the bicyclist as low as possible to the ground cuts down on wind resistance, anyone who actually plans on riding this thing will have to lie down in it. There’s no way to see outside, either, which means you’ll have to navigate via a video camera system.

As wacky as the Arion 1 sounds, though, it’s not anywhere close to the weirdest concept bicycle idea out there. For example, the Di-Cycle might not go 90 miles per hour, but its amphibious design does allow residents of the Dutch city of Helmond to transition smoothly between land and water travel. Or consider another sleek design by Yuji Fujimura, which charges your laptop as you ride. Who knows? Maybe Tron-style light cycles are next!

Sadly, the Arion 1 isn’t a reality yet; the ULV is currently working on a prototype they’re calling the Arion 0 in order to work out any kinks in the design before the May 2015 competition. Fingers crossed they get it done in time — how amazing would it be to see something that goes faster than this?

Image: ULV/Business Insider