• Country

The Most Amazing Cycling Records

By Jessica Lamb

“Let the battle commence,” said the UCI gleefully, when swatting away the rule forbidding time-trial bikes from being used in Hour Record attempts in May 2014. And in 2015 it went off – spectacularly. Professional riders queued up to take the ultimate test in cycling: an hour of constant riding at maximum speed in a velodrome.

After a thrilling 18 months of the Men’s Hour Record, the women’s war begins on Friday and Australian Bridie O’Donnell bids to break American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling’s four-month-old women’s hour record of 46.274km. You can watch it live on the UCI’s website from 8am GMT and to whet the appetite, here’s a run-down of the most immense cycling records set since that Hour Record explosion. 

Wiggins’ Hour Record

German rider Jens Voigt was first out of the blocks after the UCI Hour Record rule change, covering 51.110km that September, Austrian Matthias Brandle bettered that, and Australian Dennis Rohan topped 52km. Then the Brits got involved and the cycling world watched in awe.

Sir Bradley Wiggins receives a Knighthood for services to cycling Investitures at Buckingham Palace.

After Movistar rider Alex Dowsett rode 52.937km in May, it was the turn of Tour de France and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins. In a mesmerizing 218 laps of London’s Lee Valley Velo Park, the 35-year-old knocked it out of the stratosphere.  On June 9 last, he rode 54.526km. Nobody’s put their hand up to try to beat that – yet.

The fabled HAM’R

On Monday, January 4, in Flatwoods Park, Florida, Kurt Searvogel broke the 75-year-old record held by British delivery boy Tommy Godwin by riding beyond 75,065 miles [120,805km] within 12 months. Riding a short loop around the park, he still had six days left of his HAM’R [Highest Annual Mileage Record] attempt left and crossed the milestone riding with his wife Alicia, who had supported him throughout his 12-hour, 200-mile+ days.

Kurt Searvogel made it!

He finished his 76,076th mile [122,432km] on Saturday and declared: “Time for a rest – and then a party.” Not bad for a 53-year-old fuelled by fast food!

The first HM’R

Inspired by Searvogel – and his rival Stephen Abraham’s – plans for 2015, Cheshire cyclist Janet Davison decided to set her own record. Raising money for Alzeimer’s Research UK, Davison became the first cyclist to hold the record for Farthest Distance Cycled In One Month.

Janet Davison managed to cycle 6,455km [4,010 miles] in total.

From July 24 to August 22 she averaged 215km [134 miles] per day on a circuit around her home, amassing 6,455km [4,010 miles] in total.

Around the world in 123 days

On December 16 last, New Zealand triple Olympic speed skater Andrew Nicholson set a new record for cycling around the world. The 45-year-old started in his native Auckland in August and passed through America, Canada, Europe, south-east Asia and Australia in just 123 days, surpassing the mark set by British rider Alan Bate in 2010 by two days.

Andrew Nicholson completed the ride around the world in just 123 days.

Nicholson rode the 29,179km [18,131 miles] to raise awareness and funds for cancer research group CTCR Te Aho Matatu, and kept costs down by using WarmShowers.org for accommodation and meals from fellow cyclists.

Off-Road King

On October 10, Australian Adrian Ellul dismounted his Giant XTC in McLennon Park, Queensland with 577.78km [359.02 miles] on the clock. Then he got back on and rode a further 426.76km [265.15 miles]. Between October 9 and 11, Ellul set new records for greatest distance cycled on a mountain bike in 12, 24 and 48 hours, riding a total of 1004.541km [624.11 miles] and smashing the 48-hour record by 256km [159.07 miles].

Adrian Ellul rode a total of 1004.541km [624.11 miles] and smashed the 48-hour record by 256km [159.07 miles].

Speed Demon 

On September 18, in an enclosed recumbent bike called Eta, built by students, Canadian Todd Reichert went faster than any human before him in a man-powered vehicle at the annual International Human-Powered Vehicle Association’s competition.

Todd Reichert did 139.45kmph on his bullet shaped bicycle.

In a specially designed bike, resembling a pod and built by Toronto-based AeroVelo, Reichert hit 133.8 kmph, or 83.13 mph. Ten days later, he broke his own record, reaching 139.45kmph [86.65mph] on a 9.7km desert course in Battle Mountain, Nevada, USA. For more information about this record, read our STORY.

And now for the cycling records with bite. . .

Some people don’t need to cycle for days to show they got skills. Behold, the craziest cycling records from the past 18 months. On June 11 last year, Austrian Thomas Kaltenegeer held a wheelie for an hour, but that wasn’t his world record. No, during that hour, the back wheel of his Bergamont Roxtar 9.0 covered 25.72km setting a new farthest distance on a bicycle wheelie record at the Stadion Lachen Thun in Switzerland.

On August 9, 2014 at the Prudential RideLondon Cycle in London, Dutch man Rick Koekoek achieved the highest bicycle bunny hop in history, jumping 1.43 metres.

It’s a bit out of the range, but you just have to know about this cycling record: On September 8, 2013, German Jens Stotzner cycled 6,708 metres underwater to become the Farthest Distance Cycled Underwater Record Holder. He did it in a swimming pool in Zirndorf, Germany, completing 78 laps of an 86 metre course.