Cycling records

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This is a list of certified and recognized 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[edit]

The table below shows the records people have attained while riding two-wheeled bicycles.

Name Year Speed Type of record
Fred Rompelberg 1995 268 km/h (167 mph) Flat surface, motor-paced[1]
Bruce Bursford 1996 334.6 km/h (207.9 mph) Pedaling on a bicycle treadmill (rollers) after being "towed" to 100 mph, on a custom made £1,000,000 bicycle[2]
Eric Barone 2000 222 km/h (138 mph) Downhill on snow, on a prototype bicycle[3]
Eric Barone 2002 172 km/h (107 mph) Downhill on a volcano, on a prototype bicycle[4]
Markus Stöckl 2007 210.4 km/h (130.7 mph) Downhill on snow, on a serial production bicycle[5]
Sebastiaan Bowier 2013 133.78 km/h (83.13 mph) Flat surface, unpaced[6]
Barbara Buatois 2010 121.81 km/h (75.69 mph) Flat surface, unpaced (female)[7]
Markus Stöckl 2011 164.95 km/h (102.50 mph) Downhill on a volcano, on a serial production bicycle.[8]

History of unpaced records[edit]

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-pacing vehicle in front.

On land, the speed record registered by a rider on a 200 meter flying start speed trial was 133.28 km/h (82.82 mph) by the Canadian Sam Whittingham riding the Varna Tempest, a streamliner recumbent bicycle in 2009[7] at Battle Mountain, Nevada. His record has been surpassed by 0.5 km/h by Sebastiaan Bowier of the Netherlands in 2013 setting the new record of 133.78 km/h (83.13 mph).

The female 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 Barbara Buatois of France, when she reached 121.44 km/h (75.46 mph) at Battle Mountain in 2009. She subsequently achieved 121.81 km/h (75.69 mph) at the 2010 running of the Battle Mountain event.

History of motor-paced records[edit]

Main article: Motor-paced racing

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.[9][10]

In 1928, Leon Vanderstuyft from Belgium reached 122 km/h riding behind a motorbike at a velodrome.[10] Alexis Blanc-Garin from France set the record to 128.20 km/h in October 1933 riding behind a motorbike.[11] Albert Marquet, from France, reached 139.90 km/h riding behind a car in 1937.[12] On 22 October 1938, Alfred Letourneur reached 147 km/h at a velodrome in Montlhéry, France, riding behind a motorbike.[13] On 17 May 1941 Letourneur broke the record again, reaching 175 km/h (108.92 mph) on a Schwinn bicycle riding behind a specially equipped midget racer, on a Los Angeles freeway near Bakersfield, California.[14]

The first to surpass 200 km/h was the Frenchman Jose Meiffret in 1962, when he reached 204 km/h (127 mph) behind a Mercedes-Benz 300SL car on a German motorway.[15]

Allan Abbott, a cycling enthusiast and motorcycle racer, elevated the motor-paced bicycle speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, reaching 223 km/h (139 mph) in 1973. John Howard, Olympic cyclist and Ironman triathlon winner, reset the record to 244 km/h (152 mph), also at the Bonneville Salt Flats, on July 20, 1985.

Fred Rompelberg from Maastricht, Netherlands is the current holder of the motor-paced speed world record cycling with 268.831 km/h (166.9 mph) since 1995.[1] He used a special bicycle behind a dragster of the Strasburg Drag Racing Team at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

History of downhill records[edit]

During the last decade of the 20th century, two Frenchmen, Eric Barone and Christian Taillefer, set the speed record descending 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 analyze records using a serial production bicycle, as opposed to prototype bicycles, the record holder is Markus Stöckl from Austria. He set a world speed record in 1999 on snow, 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).

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 production bicycle and 172 km/h (107 mph), on a prototype bicycle, a world record.[16] Markus Stöckl did beat the serial production bicycle record in 2011, when he reached 164.95 km/h (102.50 mph) on a volcano in Nicaragua.[8] The prototype bicycle record, on a volcano, still belongs to Barone.

Hour records[edit]

Main article: Hour record

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 elevation 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:

  • Streamlined recumbent bicycle (bicycle and rider enclosed in an aerodynamic shell): Francesco Russo of Switzerland set a new World Record by covering 91.556 km (56.89 miles) in one hour at the DEKRA test track in Germany on 2 August 2011 [17] This record is approved by the WHPVA. On 19 July 2009 Sam Whittingham at the Ford Motor Company's 5-mile oval test track in Romeo, Michigan achieved 90.598 km, This record was approved by theIHPVA and WHPVA committees) In 2008, Damjan Zabovnik, achieved 87.123 km [18]
  • Non-streamlined Recumbent Bicycle (no shell, only disk wheels, and rider sitting on top frame). The best mark was achieved by Aurelien Bonneteau, a French rider at the Bordeaux velodrome. He rode a bicycle with a nearly horizontal seat to allow his back to lay flat, two standard sized wheels, an elliptical chainring, and with shortened pedal arms to reduce the air volume swept out by his legs. His distance was 56.696 km (35.229 miles) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 [19][20]
  • UCI "Best human effort": Chris Boardman, 1996, 56.375  km (35.03 miles) [21]
  • UCI hour record: Ondřej Sosenka, 2005, 49.700  km (30.882 miles) [22]
  • UCI unified record: Rohan Dennis, 2015, 52.491 kilometres (32.616 mi) [23]

24 Hours record[edit]

Men's Road record[edit]

Women's Road record[edit]

  • Edith Atkins set the women's road record at 422 miles (679 km) on 12 July 1953.
  • Sandy Earl set a new road record at 442.46 miles (712.07 km) on August 14, 2011.[31]
  • Maria Parker set a new road record at 469.198 miles (755.101 km) on October 13, 2012.[32]

Men's track record[edit]

  • Hubert Opperman set the track record at 489.3 miles (787.5 km) in Melbourne in 1940.

Women's track record[edit]

Long-distance records[edit]

Land's End to John O'Groats[edit]

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:

  • Upright bicycle: Gethin Butler, 2001, 44h 4m 20s [36]
  • Faired recumbent bicycle: Andy Wilkinson, 1996, 41h 4m 22s[37]
  • Women's record: Lynne Taylor, 2001, 52h 45m
  • Tandem Record:P.M.(Pete) Swindon & W. J. (John) Withers. 46h 14m 25s.

Land's End to John O'Groats to Land's End[edit]

Land's End to John O'Groats to Land's End is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain twice, between two extremities: Land's End in the southwest and John O'Groats in the northeast. The distance by road is approximately 960.05 miles (1,545.05 km) and the current record is:

  • Upright bicycle: Ben Rockett, 27 August 2010, having ridden a total of 1,880 miles there and back in 141h 8m 0s[38][39]

One Thousand miles[edit]

On 13 March 1940 Pat Hawkins set the 'World 1,000 mile record' in Perth, having ridden the 1,000 miles (1,600 km) distance in 4 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes, cutting 9 hours 53 minutes off Vera Unthank's record.[40] After setting the Lands End to John O'Groats record of 44 hours 4 minutes and 20 seconds in 2001 Gethin Butler continued to complete 1000 miles in 55 hours 59 minutes 0 seconds. Also, after setting the women's Lands End to John O'Groats record, Lynne Taylor completed 1000 miles in 64 hours and 40 minutes.

Seven days[edit]

On Sunday 17 March 1940 Pat Hawkins, an 18 year old female from Western Australia, set the 'World Seven Days record' in Perth, having ridden 1,546.8 miles (2,489.3 km) to surpass the previous best (1,438.4 miles (2,314.9 km)) set by Mrs Valda [or Ada Vera] Unthank of Hastings, Victoria. Hawkins also broke the West Australian records for one, two, three, four, five, six and seven days, plus surpassing the Australian professional men's record of Ossie Nicholson.[41][42]

One year[edit]

In 1938 Billie Fleming (née Bartram) set the women's record for the highest authenticated number of miles covered in a year, namely 29,603.7 miles (47,642.5 km). This still stood in 2014.

Ultra Marathon[edit]

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): Christoph Strasser, 2014, who averaged 16.42 mph (26.425 km/h) riding 3,020 miles (4,860 km) in 7 days, 15 hours, and 56 minutes.[43]
  • Fastest average speed (woman): Seana Hogan, 1995, who averaged 13.23 mph (21.3 km/h) riding 2,912 miles (4,686 km) in 9 days, 4 hours, 2 minutes.
  • Chris Hopkinson became the first Official British Solo Rider to finish the race in 2005

World Endurance record for distance in a calendar year[edit]

Men's record[edit]

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[44]. A tenth claim, by the English rider Ken Webb in 1972, was disallowed.[n 1] In 2015, two cyclists are taking on the year-long challenge to ride further than the current recognized record set by Tommy Godwin. American Kurt Searvogel,[45] nicknamed Tarzan, and Briton Steve Abraham.[46] Abraham started his attempt on January 1, 2015, while Searvogel started his official riding on January 10, 2015. Each will have their mileage tracked over a continuous 365-day period using the Strava GPS application. The UMCA Ultra Marathon Cycling Association is sanctioning the records. [47]

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  Great Britain 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  Great Britain 65,127 miles (104,812 km)
1939 Tommy Godwin  Great Britain 75,065 miles (120,805 km)

Women's record[edit]

During 1938 Mrs Billie Dovey, the English 'keep fit girl' of the 1930s, achieved a record 29,899.4 miles (48,118.4 km). Contemporary advertising shows that she rode a Rudge-Whitworth bicycle and relied on Cadbury milk chocolate for energy. Mrs Dovey combined the attempt with a lecture tour, often finishing her ride and then giving a fitness lecture in the evening.[48][49]

In February 1942 Pat Hawkins, the holder of the 'World Seven Days record', claimed to have ridden 45,402.8 miles (73,068.7 km) in Perth, West Australia, despite having missed seven weeks riding. A few days later the claim was withdrawn due to discrepancies in her logs. The press had reported her campaign in relation to Billie Dovey's record, to wit, after ten weeks she had recorded 7,302.8 miles (11,752.7 km) compared to Mrs Dovey's 5,238 miles (8,430 km). She took Dovey's record after 36 weeks, three days, one hour and 20 minutes. The endeavour was sponsored by Bruce Small Pty Ltd.[49][50][51][52]

Road bicycle racing records[edit]

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

Track cycling records[edit]


  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.


  1. ^ a b "Fred Rompelberg". Fred Rompelberg. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  2. ^ Moyes, Jojo (24 August 1995). The Independent (London)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "(Winter) - Les Arcs - Activities". Sunshine World France. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  4. ^ "World Mountain Bike speed record attempt goes wrong". 2001-11-04. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  5. ^ "World record shattered! Speed biking on snow at 210 km/h.". Pinkbike. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b 2009 200 Meter Results. World Human Powered Speed Challenge
  8. ^ a b Downhill moutainbiker Markus Stöckl sets new world speed record
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ a b Photos and history of motor paced records (in spanish)
  11. ^ ImageEvent. "Photo 955 of 1232, European Stayers". Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ [3][dead link]
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Date with Death". 1962-07-19. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  16. ^ (in spanish)
  17. ^ "'BentRider Online» Blog Archive » New Hour World Record!". 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  18. ^ "International Human Powered Vehicle Association". IHPVA. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The UCI Hour Record". Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  23. ^ Ryan, Barry (8 February 2015). "Rohan Dennis sets new Hour Record". Retrieved 2015-02-11. 
  24. ^ Le Petit Braquet - Charles Terront
  25. ^ a b Papers Past > Evening Post > 6 December 1939 > Page 6 > NEW CYCLING RECORD
  26. ^ [4]
  27. ^ Cycling News, 24-hour world record broken By: Cyclingnews staff. Published: June 18, 2009
  28. ^ "International Human Powered Vehicle Association". IHPVA. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  29. ^ "World Human Powered Vehicle Association". WHPVA. Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  30. ^ 541.17 miles/871km on June 24th/25th 2011
  31. ^ "Sandy Earl – New 12 & 24 Hr UMCA Record Holder". UltraRaceNews. Oct 7, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  32. ^ "UltraMarathon Cycling Association TImed Records". Nov 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  33. ^ Record per Anna Mei
  34. ^ Record da Guinnes per Anna Mei
  35. ^ Anna Mei centra il record del mondo delle 24h
  36. ^ [5][dead link]
  37. ^ David Larrington. "Upright Records and Divers Notable Recumbent Performances". Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  38. ^ "Rockett speed for a cyclist!". Bath University. 2010-08-27. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  39. ^ "LEJOGLE Record". RockettRides. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  40. ^ Google News - The Age - Mar 14, 1940, Women's Cycling Record
  41. ^ (Trove digitised newspapers) Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) 25 January 1941, Cycle Marathon Planned By Girl
  42. ^ (Trove digitised newspapers) Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890-1954) 18 March 1940, Girl Betters Nicholson's Record
  43. ^ "RAAM". Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  44. ^ Cycling, 1972, undated cutting
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ THE VETERAN-CYCLE CLUB, New England section, MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2011, 1938: "How to carry energy in your saddle-bag" by Christopher Barbour
  49. ^ a b (Trove - digitised newspapers) Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) Saturday 25 January 1941. Cycle Marathon planned by Girl
  50. ^ (Trove - digitised newspapers) The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) Monday 2 February 1942. Woman Cyclist's record.
  51. ^ Google News - The Age - Apr 22, 1941. Cycling - Miss Hawkins well ahead
  52. ^ (Trove - digitised newspapers) The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Wednesday 15 October 1941. W.A. Woman Cyclist sets new World record

External links[edit]