Cycling records: Wikis


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This is a list of certified and recognised cycling records as recognised by the Union Cycliste Internationale, International Human Powered Vehicle Association and World Human Powered Vehicle Association, Guinness World Records, International Olympic Committee, the UK Road Records Association or other accepted authorities.


Speed record on a bicycle

The record for the fastest speed on a bicycle is the fastest that a person could go on a two wheeled bicycle. The table below shows the records that people have attained while riding bicycles.

Name Year Speed Type of record
Sam Whittingham 2009 133 km/h (83 mph) Flat surface, unpaced[1]
Barbara Buatois 2009 121 km/h (75 mph) Flat surface, unpaced (woman)[1]
Fred Rompelberg 1995 268 km/h (167 mph) Flat surface, motor-paced[2]
Bruce Bursford 1996 334 km/h (208 mph) Riding on a roller[3]
Eric Barone 2002 163 km/h (101 mph) Downhill on a volcano, on a serial production bicycle[4]
Eric Barone 2002 172 km/h (107 mph) Downhill on a volcano, on a prototype bicycle[5]
Markus Stoeckl 2007 210 km/h (130 mph) Downhill on snow, on a serial production bicycle[6]
Eric Barone 2000 222 km/h (138 mph) Downhill on snow, on a prototype bicycle[7]

History of unpaced records

The International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) acts as the sanctioning body for new records in human powered land, water and air vehicles. It registers non motor paced records (also called unpaced) which means that the bicycle directly faces the wind, without any motor paced vehicle in front. On land, the speed record registered by a rider on a 200 meter flying start speed trial is 133.28 km/h (82.82 mph) by the Canadian Sam Whittingham riding the Varna Tempest, a streamliner recumbent bicycle in year 2009[1] at Battle Mountain, Nevada.

The woman record holder for this same category was Lisa Vetterlein who reached 107.16 km/h (66.59 mph) in 2005. This record was beaten by the French woman Barbara Buatois when she reached 121.44 km/h (75.46 mph) at Battle Mountain, Nevada in 2009.

History of motor-paced records

Motor pacing is a type of human powered record where a pace vehicle is modified by adding a tail fairing to keep the wind off the cyclist who is riding behind it. This type of record was invented by Charles “Mile-a-Minute Murphy” who drafted a train to set a 96 km/h (60 mph) record at end of the 19th century. A mile of plywood sheets was attached to the railroad ties, so Charles would have a smooth surface riding behind the train[8][9].

In 1928, Leon Vanderstuyft from Belgium reached 122 km/h riding behind a motorbike at a velodrome[9]. Alexis Blanc-Garin from France set the record to 128,20 km/h in October 1933 riding behind a motorbike[10]. Albert Marquet, from France, reached 139.90 km/h riding behind a car in 1937[11]. On 22 October 1938, Alfred Letourneur reached 147 km/h at a velodrome in Montlhéry, France, riding behind a motorbike[12]. On 17 May 1941 Letourneur broke the record again, reaching 175 km/h (108.92 mph) on a Schwinn bicycle riding behind a car on the Los Angeles freeway near Bakersfield.

Another person to reach a remarkable record was the Frenchman Jose Meiffret in year 1962, when he reached 204 km/h (127 mph) behind a Mercedes-Benz 300SL car on a German motorway[13].

Allan Abbott, a cycling enthusiast and motorcycle racer, established the motor paced bicycle speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a dried up salt lake in Utah, reaching 223 km/h (139 mph) in 1973.

John Howard, Olympic cyclist and Ironman triathlon winner, set a 244 km/h (152 mph) speed record also at the Bonneville Salt Flats, on July 20, 1985.

Fred Rompelberg from Maastricht, the Netherlands is the current holder of the motor paced speed world record cycling with 268,831 km/h (166.9 mph). He used a special bicycle behind a dragster of the Strasburg Drag Racing Team at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It is a Guinness record.

History of downhill records

During the last decade of the 20th century, two Frenchmen, Eric Barone and Christian Taillefer set the speed record on snow several times. On the 21st of April 2000, Eric Barone reached 222 km/h (138 mph) at Les Arcs ski resort, France, still a world record today, using a specially designed prototype bicycle.

If we analyse records using a serial production bicycle, as opposed to prototype bicycles, the record holder on snow is Markus Stoeckl, from Austria. He managed to set a world speed record in year 1999, descending at 187 km/h (116 mph) at Les Arcs. On 14 September 2007, Stöckl rode an Intense M6 mountainbike down the ski slope of La Parva, Chile, reaching the current record of 210 km/h (130 mph). He has stated he wishes to beat Eric Barone's record.

The top descending speeds have always been obtained on snow. Apart from that, the ashes of a volcano have been the other surface used. In November 2001, Eric Barone descended on the Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua at 130 km/h (81 mph), beating his previous record achieved in Hawaii in 1999. Barone believed he could do more, and returned to the same location on the 12th of May 2002 when he reached 163 km/h (101 mph) on a serial bicycle and 172 km/h (107 mph), on a prototype bicycle, the current record.

Hour records

The hour record for bicycles is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle. The most famous type of record is for upright bicycles meeting the requirements of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for old or modern bicycles. The old "UCI hour record" restricts competitors to use similar equipment as was used by Eddy Merckx in 1972, disallowing time trial helmets, disc or tri-spoke wheels, aerodynamic bars and monocoque frames. The new "Best Human Effort", also called "UCI Absolute Record" allows such equipment. Hour-record attempts are made in a velodrome, frequently at high altitude for the aerodynamic benefit of thinner air.

Another type of record registered by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) is for fully-faired human powered machines, typically streamlined recumbent bicycles. These feature a lower frontal area than a UCI bicycle due to their recumbent seating design of the rider. They enclose the rider and machine in aerodynamic shapes made of carbon fiber, Kevlar or Fiberglass to reduce air resistance.

The current hour records are:

Long distance records

Land's End to John O'Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities; in the southwest and northeast. The distance by road is 874 miles (1,407 km) and some of its current records are:

The Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA) sanctions the Race Across America, an ultra marathon bicycle race across the United States that started in 1982. The average speed records are:

  • Fastest average speed (men): Pete Penseyres, 1986, who averaged 15.40 mph (24.8 km/h) riding 3107 miles (5000 km) in 8 days, 9 hours, and 47 minutes.[19]
  • Fastest average speed (woman): Seana Hogan, 1995, who averaged 13.23 mph (21.3 km/h) riding 2912 miles (4686 km) in 9 days, 4 hours, 2 minutes.

The World Endurance record for distance in a calendar year

The world record for distance cycled in a year began in 1911, an era when bicycle companies competed to show their machines were the most reliable. The competition was organised by the magazine Cycling. The record has been officially established nine times[20]. A tenth claim, by the English rider Ken Webb in 1972, was disallowed.[n 1].

Year Record holder Country Distance
1911 Marcel Planes  France 34,666 miles (55,790 km)
1932 Arthur Humbles  Great Britain 36,007 miles (57,948 km)
1933 Ossie Nicholson  Australia 43,966 miles (70,756 km)
1936 Walter Greaves  Great Britain 45,383 miles (73,037 km)
1937 Bernard Bennett  England 45,801 miles (73,710 km)
1937 René Menzies  France 61,561 miles (99,073 km)
1937 Ossie Nicholson  Australia 62,657 miles (100,837 km)
1939 Bernard Bennett  England 65,127 miles (104,812 km)
1939 Tommy Godwin  England 75,065 miles (120,805 km)

Road bicycle racing records

The following is a list of Road bicycle racing achievements and records:


  1. ^ Ken Webb's claim was for 80,647 miles (129,789 km) in 1972. Webb insisted he had completed the distance but others said he hadn't and he was removed from the Guinness Book of Records.


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