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The hour record for bicycles is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle. There are several records. The most famous is for upright bicycles meeting the requirements of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). It is one of the most prestigious in cycling. Hour-record attempts are made in a velodrome.
The first recorded record was in 1876 when the American Frank Dodds rode 26.508 km (16.471 mi) on a penny-farthing. In 1972, Eddy Merckx set a record of 49.431 km (30.715 mi) that stood for 12 years. The current UCI record is by Ondřej Sosenka, 49.700 km (30.882 mi), the current WHPVA/IHPVA record by Francesco Russo stands at 91.56 km (56.89 mi).
Because of aerodynamics, the hour record has seen innovative equipment, but this has led to debate in cycling over the extent to which records should reflect only the skill, strength and stamina of the cyclist on an upright bike with drop handlebars, or whether changes in bicycle design should be accepted.
On July 7, 1933, Francis Faure set 45.055 km (27.996 mi) riding an aerodynamic recumbent bicycle, but in 1934 the UCI reversed their position and rejected recumbent bicycles. This led to two classes of record. In one, only upright bicycles are permitted; this is administered by the UCI. In the other, any design is allowed, provided the power comes from the rider; this is administered by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA).
UCI hour record
Eddy Merckx said his hour record attempt was "the hardest ride I have ever done". It was set in 1972 in Mexico City at an altitude of 2,300m (7,550 ft).
In January 1984, Moser set two records, the second being 51.151 km (31.784 mi). This was the first noted use of disc wheels, which provided aerodynamic benefit.
In 1993 and 1994, Graeme Obree, a Scot who built his own bikes, posted two records with his hands tucked under his chest. In 1996, Boardman set a record using another position pioneered by Obree, his arms out in front in a Superman position. Both were considered controversial by the UCI, and while the records were allowed to stand, the positions were banned. Obree and Boardman made several attempts to top the previous record.
With the increasing gap between modern bicycles and what was available at the time of Merckx's record, the UCI established two records:
- the UCI Hour Record (which restricts competitors to roughly the same equipment as Merckx, disallowing time trial helmets, disc or tri-spoke wheels, aerodynamic bars and monocoque frames) and
- the Best Human Effort - sometimes termed the UCI "Absolute" Record.
All records since 1972, including Boardman's 56.375 km (35.030 mi) in 1996 were downgraded to Best Human Effort. In 2000, Boardman attempted the UCI record on a traditional bike, and rode 49.441 km (30.721 mi), topping Merckx by 10 m (32.8 ft) - an improvement of 0.02%.
In 2005 Ondřej Sosenka improved Boardman's performance at 49.700 km (30.882 mi) using a 54×13 gear. At 200 cm (6 ft 6¾ in) tall, Sosenka used an unusual saddle position and a small vertical frame height to stay within UCI regulations. Sosenka failed a doping control in 2001 and then again in 2008, the latter resulting in a career ending in suspension which puts in doubt the validity of his record.
|25 October 1972||Eddy Merckx||27||Mexico City||49.431||drop handlebar/round steel tubing frame/wire spokes|
|23 January 1984||Francesco Moser||32||Mexico City||51.151||bull-horn handlebar/oval steel tubing frame/disk wheels|
|17 July 1993||Graeme Obree||27||Vikingskipet, Hamar, Norway||51.596||Graeme Obree-style "praying mantis" handlebar/round steel tubing frame/carbon tri-spoke wheels|
|23 July 1993||Chris Boardman||24||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||52.270||triathlon handlebar/carbon airfoil tubing frame/carbon 4-spoke wheels|
|15 January 1994||Francesco Moser||42||Mexico City||51.840||Graeme Obree-style "praying mantis" handlebar/chest-pad on top frame/wheels unknown - UCI VETERAN's RECORD|
|27 April 1994||Graeme Obree||28||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||52.713||Graeme Obree-style "praying mantis" handlebar/round steel tubing frame/carbon tri-spoke wheels|
|2 September 1994||Miguel Indurain||30||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||53.040||wide triathlon handlebar/carbon monocoque aero frame/disk wheels|
|22 October 1994||Tony Rominger||33||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||53.832||triathlon handlebar/oval steel tubing frame/disk wheels|
|5 November 1994||Tony Rominger||33||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||55.291||triathlon handlebar/oval steel tubing frame/disk wheels|
|6 September 1996||Chris Boardman||28||Manchester, UK||56.375||Graeme Obree "superman-style" handlebar/carbon monocoque aero frame/5-spoke front & rear disk wheels|
The veteran's record set by Moser in 1994 was faster than his more celebrated record in 1984, when he used a bullhorn handlebar, steel airfoil tubing, disk wheels and skinsuit. It was also faster than Obree's first record in 1993. Had Moser ridden Obree's bike before Obree did, Moser might have held the official record at age 42. Moser was riding before UCI rule changes were to be put in effect by May 7 of that year. These were to out-law the Obree praying mantis style. The bike that Boardman used for his attempt was designed by the Lotus car company using ideas from Mike Burrows. The frame was built by the South African company Aerodyne Technology near Cape Town. Boardman eventually rode to the UCI Absolute record of 56.375 km in 1996. The original branding on the frame was replaced by Eddy Merckx branding for the record attempt. Only 450 of these bikes were built.
Moser was inspired by Obree's bike and wanted a copy. The bike Moser rode on his veteran's record had a praying mantis handlebar and Obree-style frame. Moser modified it with a chest pad. But if Obree hadn't broken style and tradition in the first place, this form of time-trial bike would not have been known. However, at that same time, Boardman held the overall record. Later that year, Obree beat both for his second hour record at low-altitude, this time in Bordeaux in France.
IHPVA/WHPVA Hour record
Streamlined Human Powered Vehicles
The IHPVA/WHPVA record led to 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 fibre, Kevlar or fiberglass to reduce air resistance. The record hour speeds for these machines (90km/h - men's and 84km/h - women's) are faster than a UCI rider could perform in a short 200-meter sprint (72km/h) for 10 seconds, demonstrating a remarkable level of efficiency and speed.
The IHPVA was started in 1975 by Jack Lambie and California college professor, Dr. Chet Kyle, who challenged his students to build a faster bicycle. The recumbent design (banned in 1934) and the use of additional streamlined devices (banned in 1914) were allowed back into a sanctioned competition.
The IHPVA hour record was first set in 1979 by Olympian Ron Skarin, who went 51.31 km (31.88 mi) on a streamlined upright bicycle designed by Chet and Joyce Kyle. It was 40 years since a streamlined upright had held the record, but this record was short-lived. The following year, Ron Skarin and Eric Hollander went 74.51 km (46.30 mi) on a streamlined recumbent tandem, a 23 km increase on the previous record. The record stood for ten years, and was the last time the record would be held by a tandem. The single-rider record, however, was beaten by Eric Edwards in 1980 at 59.45 km (36.94 mi), and then by Fred Markham in 1989 at 73 km (45.36 mi).
In 1990, Pat Kinch went 75.57 km (46.96 mi) on a streamlined recumbent, narrowly breaking the record set by Skarin and Hollander. Lars Teutenberg exceeded this in 1996, reaching 78.04 km (48.49 mi). Sam Whittingham went 79.13 km (49.17 mi) in 1998, then broke his own record in 2004 when he cycled 84.22 km (52.33 mi) on the GM/Opel test track in Dudenhofen, Germany.
In 2006, Fred Markham, a 1976-80 US Olympic team member, set a record distance of 85.99 km (53.43 mi) on the track at the Nissan Technical Center, near Casa Grande in Arizona. Markham won $18,000 as a share of the $25,000 Dempsey-MacCready One Hour Prize that was to be awarded to the first HPV to surpass 90 km. Although Markham had not exceeded 90 km, the prize time limit had expired and its shares awarded to those that traveled furthest. Both Markham and Whittingham rode vehicles called Varna designed and built by the Bulgarian sculptor George Georgiev, who lives in British Columbia, Canada. Sam Whittingham won back the record one year later at the Nissan Technical Center with 86.75 km, and went on to set a distance of 90.60 km (56.30 mi) in 2009, at the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds.
In August 2011, Francesco Russo travelled 91.56 km (56.89 mi) at the Dekra Test Oval near Klettwitz, Germany. He rode the Eiviestretto bicycle, which he designed and built with earlier record-holder Damjan Zabovnik. The Eiviestretto is a backwards-ridden vehicle with the rider's head pointed in the direction of travel. The rider lies on his back, using a mirror to navigate. The design is based on Eivie III from Damjan Zabovnik, with several improvements.
As of August 2009, 138 one-hour runs using aerodynamic fairings have exceeded Boardman's 56.375 km UCI record. This list is maintained by Mike Mowett, IHPVA Records Committee. Some marks on the list are considered unofficial, but all are recorded hour distances for human powered vehicles.
This section refers to recumbent bicycles without additional aerodynamic enclosures. Amongst the various racing associations that host racing events for such bicycles, these are called Stock Recumbents or Unfaired Recumbents.
The hour record for recumbent bicycles without aerodynamic fairings, set by Francis Faure in 1933, was broken in 2007 by Sean Costin, who covered 48.80 km (28.46 mi) on the 382m outdoor concrete velodrome in Northbrook, Illinois. Costin then rode 47.89 km (29.76 mi) on the 250m indoor wooden velodrome at the ADT Event Center in California. He rode a recumbent made by the Polish manufacturer Velokraft (model name NoCom), which he converted to a fixed-gear for the indoor event. Both events were conducted by the World Recumbent Racing Association (WRRA).
On October 24, 2008, Gert-Jan Wijers bettered Costin with 50.39 km (31.31 mi) on the 250m Alkmaar velodrome located near sea-level. Wijers rode a production version of the M5 carbon high-racer recumbent modified with dual disk carbon wheels and a fixed-gear freewheel. Wijers became the first unfaired recumbent rider to exceed 50 km. On May 15, 2009, 26 year old Aurélien Bonneteau set a new WRRA unfaired world record of 50.52 km (31.40 mi) in Bordeaux-Lax, France, at the Guy Lapebie indoor velodrome. Bonneteau was racing an M5 lowracer set up with single speed gearing, both front and rear wheel disks, and a very elliptical chainring.
On the weekend of October 17-18, 2009, a special event called the Apeldoorn Recumbent Record Weekend was held at the Apeldoorn 250 meter indoor wooden Velodrome in the Netherlands. The Unfaired Recumbent One Hour record was broken three times in quick succession this weekend. Gert-Jan Wijers of the Netherlands set a new mark of 51.287 km (31.868 miles) on a M5 Carbon High-Racer recumbent on October 17. The next day October 18, 2009, Niels van de Wal set a new mark of 51.33 km (31.895 miles) on a M5 mid-racer recumbent called the Nadir. This was slightly lower to the ground than the high-racer version. However later in the day, Aurélien Bonneteau set a new Unfaired Recumbent One Hour record of 52.074 km (32.357 miles) this time on the M5 Carbon High-Racer. recumbent. These records are recognized by the WRRA World Recumbent Racing Association. Details of the race weekend here: 
Barbara Buatois of France set two Ladies Unfaired Recumbent One-Hour records within two weeks in October 2009. She rode a Zockra Le Rapide recumbent. At the Apeldoorn event on October 17, 2009, she rode 46.048 km (28.613 miles), a mark which would have also broken the long-standing men's record of Francis Faure from 1933. Two weeks later, at the Velodrome du Lac in Bordeaux, France, Buatois rode 46.348 km (28.799 miles) on October 31, 2009 for another record. At the October 2011 Apeldoorn event, Janneke Sindram unofficially broke this record with a ride of 46.505 km (28.90 miles). This record is not yet verified by the WRRA. Sindram had reportedly just starting racing that year.
In April 2012, Aurélien Bonneteau announced a May 2012 attempt to better his record. The attempt will take place at the 250 meter Bordeaux wooden velodrome in France, the site of Chris Boardman's and Barbara Buatois's records. Bonneteau will use a carbon fiber recumbent that he has built himself. This recumbent features two 700c-sized wheels similar to the M5 Carbon high-racer, and a single speed and an elliptical chainring. A picture of the bike was posted on a discussion forum.
Women's Streamlined One Hour Record
In July 2009, at the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds, Barbara Buatois set two world records in one weekend. Buatois, a 32-year-old French woman, first broke the existing women's record on Friday July 17, covering 82.12 km (51.03 mi). This broke the existing women's mark by 12%, and gave her the title of the 6th fastest human to have done the One Hour. However, her 84.02 km (52.20 mi) on late Sunday evening moved her up to the title of the 4th fastest human (man or woman) to have done the One Hour. She rode a vehicle called the Varna Tempest, designed and built by Georgi Georgiev of Canada. The Ford oval is around 8 km, with 60% of the course turns and 40% straightaways. It had been rebuilt and repaved the year prior to these attempts. The elevation of the course is flat at 295 meters above sea level, hence this is considered a low-altitude location (<700 meters) per IHPVA/WHPVA rules. Barbara Buatois went on to set the ladies 200-meter top speed record of 75 mph at Battle Mountain in 2009 and 2010, and also finish the 2010 RAAM Race Across America as the #1 lady finisher. She used a Stock recumbent for this ride across America.
Hour records and holders (Male)
|25 March 1876||Frank Dodds||Cambridge University Ground||26.508|
|11 May 1893||Henri Desgrange||Buffalo, Paris||35.325|
|31 October 1894||Jules Dubois||Buffalo, Paris||38.220|
|30 July 1897||Oscar Van Den Eynde||Vincennes, Paris||39.240|
|3 July 1898||Willie Hamilton||Colorado Springs, USA||40.781|
|24 August 1905||Lucien Petit-Breton||Buffalo, Paris||41.110|
|20 June 1907||Marcel Berthet||Paris||41.520|
|22 August 1912||Oscar Egg||Paris||42.122|
|7 August 1913||Marcel Berthet||Paris||42.741|
|21 August 1913||Oscar Egg||Paris||43.525|
|20 September 1913||Marcel Berthet||Paris||43.775|
|18 August 1914||Oscar Egg||Paris||44.247|
|7 July 1933||Francis Faure||Vélodrome du Parc des Princes, Paris||45.055|
|25 August 1933||Jan Van Hout||Roermond||44.588|
|18 November 1933||Marcel Berthet||France||49.99|
|28 September 1933||Maurice Richard||Sint-Truiden, Belgium||44.777|
|31 October 1935||Giuseppe Olmo||Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan||45.090|
|14 October 1936||Maurice Richard||Vigorelli, Milan||45.325|
|29 September 1937||Frans Slaats||Vigorelli, Milan||45.485|
|3 November 1937||Maurice Archambaud||Vigorelli, Milan||45.767|
|7 November 1942||Fausto Coppi||Vigorelli, Milan||45.798|
|29 June 1956||Jacques Anquetil||Vigorelli, Milan||46.159|
|19 September 1956||Ercole Baldini||Vigorelli, Milan||46.394|
|18 September 1957||Roger Rivière||Vigorelli, Milan||46.923|
|23 September 1959||Roger Rivière||Vigorelli, Milan||47.347|
|30 October 1967||Ferdi Bracke||Olympic Velodrome, Rome||48.093|
|10 October 1968||Ole Ritter||Mexico City||48.653|
|25 October 1972||Eddy Merckx||Mexico City||49.431|
|5 May 1979||Ron Skarin||Ontario, Cal. USA||51.31|
|4 May 1980||Eric Edwards||Ontario, Cal. USA||59.45|
|4 May 1980||Ron Skarin & Eric Hollander+||Ontario, Cal. USA||74.51|
|19 January 1984||Francesco Moser||Mexico City||50.808|
|23 January 1984||Francesco Moser||Mexico City||51.151|
|29 September 1984||Fred Markham||Indianapolis, USA||60.35|
|10 September 1985||Richard Crane||Warwickshire, England||66.30|
|28 August 1986||Fred Markham||Vancouver, Canada||67.01|
|15 September 1989||Fred Markham||Adrian, USA||73.00|
|8 September 1990||Pat Kinch||Bedfordshire, England||75.57|
|17 July 1993||Graeme Obree||Hamar, Norway||51.596|
|23 July 1993||Chris Boardman||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||52.270|
|27 April 1994||Graeme Obree||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||52.713|
|2 September 1994||Miguel Indurain||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||53.040|
|22 October 1994||Tony Rominger||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||53.832|
|5 November 1994||Tony Rominger||Velodrome du Lac, Bordeaux||55.291|
|27 July 1996||Lars Teutenberg||Munich, Germany||78.04|
|7 September 1996||Chris Boardman||Manchester, UK||56.375|
|29 July 1998||Sam Whittingham||Blainville, Canada||79.136|
|7 August 1999||Lars Teutenberg||Dudenhofen, Germany||81.158|
|27 October 2000||Chris Boardman||Manchester, UK||49.441|
|27 July 2002||Lars Teutenberg||Dudenhofen, Germany||82.60|
|19 November 2003||Sam Whittingham||Uvalde, Texas||83.71|
|31 July 2004||Sam Whittingham||Dudenhofen, Germany||84.215|
|19 July 2005||Ondřej Sosenka||Moscow, Russia||49.700|
|2 July 2006||Fred Markham||Casa Grande, Arizona||85.991|
|8 April 2007||Sam Whittingham||Casa Grande, Arizona||86.752|
|12 July 2008||Damjan Zabovnik||Lausitzring, Germany||87.123|
|19 July 2009||Sam Whittingham||Ford Michigan Proving Grounds, USA||90.598|
|2 August 2011||Francesco Russo||Lausitzring, Germany||91.556|
+ Vector Tandem 1980 mark
Hour records (female)
The corresponding female records are:
- UCI Hour record
- 46.065 km/h Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (NED), October 2003
- 45.094 km/h Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (FRA), December 2000
- 44.767 km/h Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (FRA), November 2000
- 43.501 km/h Anna Wilson-Millward (AUS), October 2000
- UCI Best hour performance
- 48.159 km/h Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (FRA), October 1996
- 47.411 km/h Yvonne McGregor (GBR), June 1995
- 47.112 km/h Cathérine Marsal (FRA), April 1995
- 46.352 km/h Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (FRA), October 1989
- 44.933 km/h Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (FRA), September 1987
- 44.770 km/h Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (FRA), September 1986
- 43.082 km/h Keetie van Oosten-Hage (NED), September 1978
- 41.471 km/h Maria Cressari (ITA), November 1972
- 41.347 km/h Elsy Jacobs (LUX), November 1958
- 84.020 km/h Barbara Buatois (FRA), 19 July 2009, Ford Michigan Proving Grounds, Romeo, Michigan°
- 82.12 km/h Barbara Buatois (FRA), 17 July 2009, Ford Michigan Proving Grounds, Romeo, Michigan°
- 73.41 km/h Rosmarie Bühler (SUI), August 2004
- 68.97 km/h Ellen van Vugt (NED), August 2004
- 68.33 km/h Ellen van Vugt (NED), August 2002
- 62.26 km/h Corinne van Noordenne (NED), August 2001
- 57.47 km/h Rosmarie Bühler (SUI), June 2001
- Mallon, Jeroen Heijmans, Bill. Historical dictionary of cycling. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 0810873699.
- Ondřej Sosenka has posted photographs of his record-winning bicycle and other information in Czech at http://www.sosenka.cz
- Chronic of the Hour Record, Wolfgang Menn.
- World Hour Records, Bike Cult Book.
- Dempsey-MacCready One Hour Record Attempts, WISIL HPVers, 26 June 2006
- Circles in the desert; an hpv hour record attempt, Rob English, 2 July 2006.
- Eiviestretto - the World Record Speedbike, Russo Speedbike.
- Fastest Human Powered Vehicle databases, recumbents.com
- World Recumbent Racing Association
- "Mission accomplished - 50,392 km in one hour!". M5 Recumbents. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012.
- Aurélien Bonneteau - 1 Hour TT Record, World Recumbent Racing Association.
- Recumbents Discussion forum
- Recumbents Discussion forum
- Recumbents Discussion forum
- March 25 down the years, ESPN.
- UCI hour records
- WRRA Stock Recumbent One Hour Records - Unfaired Recumbents, non streamlined
- IHPVA records (also hour records for water)
- Fastest IHPVA Streamlined Bicycles: Top Speed and One Hour Performances List - updated frequently
- Nissan One Hour Challenge Event for Streamlined Bicycles
- Bike Cult listing of Hour records including data on machines and athlete
- Hour records with pictures of Vehicles
- Bicycle Man history including early hour records
- Video of finish of Sam Whittingham's 53.918 mph Hour Record
- Video of finish of Fred Markham's 53.432 mph Hour Record
- Video of finish of Rob English's 50.105 mph British Hour Record