This film is part of Free

Heinze Wolff and the 57 Tricycles

An archetypal eccentric professor is a fitting presenter for an equally eccentric and ingenious bunch of human powered mobile contraptions.

Documentary 1986 25 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Professor Heinz Wolff here takes time out from his BBC programme, the Great Egg Race, to present a programme on a one-off event, The Festival of Human Power, in Milton Keynes in 1985. Here are gathered a great assortment of odd and ingenious human powered machines, on land and water. Wolff and some of the contestants explain the aerodynamics and other principles behind the machines, mainly recumbent cycles and velomobiles, as well as the famous hydrofoil, the Flying Fish.

Heinz Wolff, a regular face on TV, here hosts a Yorkshire Television production. Wolff arrived in Britain with his family from Berlin fleeing from the Nazis in 1939, aged 11. He lays claim to having coined the term bioengineering, a field he initiated in the early 1950s, and has pioneered ever since. As well as developing technologies to help the aged, in his 80s, he has championed a form of community care. The Festival of Human Power took place on Saturday 31st August, with 90 bicycles and tricycles, including the Flying Fish, which performed the first sustained flight of a human-powered hydrofoil. Afterwards there was a symposium to discuss their inventions chaired by Professor Heinz Wolff.