List of cycling records

Certified and recognized cycling records are those verified by the Union Cycliste Internationale, International Human Powered Vehicle Association and World Human Powered Vehicle Association, Guinness World Records, International Olympic Committee, World UtlraCycling Association (formerly Ultra Marathon Cycling Association), the UK Road Records Association or other accepted authorities.

Speed record on a bicycle

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

Name Year Speed Type of record
Bruce Bursford 1996 334.6 km/h (207.9 mph) Flat surface (indoor), Virtual "motor-paced" (Pedaling on bicycle rollers after being "towed" to 100 mph)[1]
Denise Mueller-Korenek 2018 296.009 km/h (183.932 mph) Flat surface (outdoor), motor-paced[2][3]
Fred Rompelberg 1995 268.831 km/h (167.044 mph) Flat surface (outdoor), motor-paced[4][5]
Eric Barone 2017 227.72 km/h (141.50 mph) Downhill on snow (outdoor), unpaced, on a prototype bicycle[6][7]
Eric Barone 2015 223.3 km/h (138.8 mph) Downhill on snow (outdoor), unpaced, on a prototype bicycle[8][9]
Eric Barone 2000 222.22 km/h (138.08 mph) Downhill on snow (outdoor), unpaced, on a prototype bicycle[10]
Markus Stöckl 2007 210.4 km/h (130.7 mph) Downhill on snow (outdoor), unpaced, on a serial production bicycle[11][12]
Eric Barone 2002 172 km/h (107 mph) Downhill on a volcano (outdoor), unpaced, on a prototype bicycle
Markus Stöckl 2017 167.6 km/h (104.1 mph) Downhill on a volcano (outdoor), unpaced, on a serial production bicycle[13][14]
Todd Reichert 2016 144.17 km/h (89.58 mph) Slight downhill (-0.6% grade) (outdoor), on a Faired Recumbent,[15] unpaced[16]
Ilona Peltier 2019 126.52 km/h (78.62 mph) Slight downhill (-0.6% grade) (outdoor), on a Faired Recumbent,[15] unpaced[17]

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-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.[18] 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 record was again surpassed on 19 September 2015 by Todd Reichert by riding the ETA, a streamlined recumbent bicycle at 86.65 mph or 139.45 km/h from the team behind the AeroVelo Atlas human-powered helicopter.[19][20] Todd Reichert broke his own record again on September 17, 2016, to set a speed of 89.58 mph, or 144.17 km/h at the 2016 WHPSC.[16]

The female record holder for this same category was Lisa Vetterlein, who reached 107.16 km/h (66.59 mph) in 2005.[21] This record was beaten by Barbara Buatois of France, when she reached 121.44 km/h (75.46 mph) at Battle Mountain in 2009.[18] She subsequently achieved 121.81 km/h (75.69 mph) at the 2010 running of the Battle Mountain event.[22]

History of motor-paced records

Motor pacing is a type of cycling 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 in 1899. A mile of plywood sheets was attached to the railroad ties, so Charles would have a smooth surface riding behind the train.[23][24]

In 1928, Leon Vanderstuyft from Belgium reached 122 km/h riding behind a motorbike at a velodrome.[24] Alexis Blanc-Garin from France set the record to 128.20 km/h in October 1933 riding behind a motorbike.[25] Albert Marquet, from France, reached 139.90 km/h riding behind a car in 1937.[26] On 22 October 1938, Alfred Letourneur reached 147 km/h at a velodrome in Montlhéry, France, riding behind a motorbike.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]

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 20 July 1985.

Fred Rompelberg from Maastricht, Netherlands was the holder of the motor-paced speed world record cycling with 268.831 km/h (166.9 mph) from 1995 to 2018.[30] He used a special bicycle behind a dragster of the Strasburg Drag Racing Team at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Denise Mueller-Korenek claimed a women's bicycle land speed record at 147 mph (237 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats on 10 September 2016. Mueller was coached by former record holder John Howard. It is not clear which authority was supervising the record attempt.[31] On 17 September 2018, again at Bonneville, she took the world record, riding a special KHS bike with a 62Tx12T gear (488 gear-inches) to a new overall record top speed of 183.93 mph (296 km/h) behind a converted rail dragster with a fairing.[30]

History of downhill records

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 28 March 2015, Eric Barone reached 223.3 km/h (138.8 mph) at Vars ski resort, France, besting his own record from 2000, using a specially designed prototype bicycle.[32]

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 12 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.[24] 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 and again in 2017 when he reached 167.6 km/h (104.1 mph) down a volcano in Chile.[13] The prototype bicycle record, on a volcano, still belongs to Barone.

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). Hour-record attempts are made in a velodrome, frequently at high elevation for the aerodynamic benefit of thinner air. Between 1997 and 2014 the UCI retrospectively restricted hour record competitors to roughly the same equipment as was used by Eddy Merckx in his 1972 record. In 2014, the UCI changed the hour record rules to permit using any upright bike allowed for endurance track events. However, other retrospective changes to hour record regulations are why the current hour records are not the farthest absolute distance.[33][34]

The current UCI hour records are:

Another type of record registered by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) and the World Human Powered Vehicle Association (WHPVA) is for human-powered machines, typically fully 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. A further type of record is for partially streamlined recumbents, which are open but have either a windshield in front or a streamlined tail-box in the rear. This is registered by the World Recumbent Racing Association WRRA.[38]

  • 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 [39] 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 the IHPVA and WHPVA committees) In 2008, Damjan Zabovnik, achieved 87.123 km [40]
  • 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 lie 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 16 July 2014 [41][42]

24 Hours record

Men's Road record

  • Charles Terront is claimed to have covered 339 miles (546 km) in 1879.[43]
  • George Pilkington Mills set the record at 259 miles (417 km) circa 1890.
  • Cyril Heppleston set the road record at 478.5 miles (770 km) circa 1938.[44]
  • Hubert Opperman set the road record at 505.75 miles (814 km) in Melbourne on 5 December 1939.[44]
  • Roy Cromack set the road record at 507.00 miles (816 km) in 24 hours in UK in 1969.[45]
  • Jean-Pascal Roux set the road record at 521.33 miles (839 km) in 24 hours at Caderousse on 18 June 2009.[46]
  • Christian von Ascheberg set the human powered vehicle (HPV) land distance record at 1,219.02 kilometres (757 mi) in 24 hours in a Milan SL velomobile at the DEKRA test track in Germany on 1 August 2010.[47]
  • Andy Wilkinson set the UK 24-hour time trial record at 541.214 miles (871 km) on 24/25 June 2011.[48]
  • Christoph Strasser set the 24 hour road record at 557 miles (896 km) at Berlin airport on 21 March 2015.[49]

Women's Road record

  • Beatrice Grimshaw claimed to have broken the women's road record c. 1900[50] however the distance ridden is unclear, no authority has recognised the record and there are doubts about her claim.[51]
  • Edith Atkins set the women's road record at 422 miles (679 km) on 12 July 1953.[52]
  • Sandy Earl set a new road record at 442.46 miles (712.07 km) on 14 August 2011.[53][49]
  • Maria Parker set a new road record at 469.198 miles (755.101 km) on 13 October 2012.[49]

Men's track record

Women's track record

  • Petra von Fintel set the women's human powered vehicle (HPV) land distance record at 628.82 miles (1,011.99 km) in 24 hours in a Milan velomobile at Klettwitz, Germany on 12 July 2015.[54] In July 2018 Nici Walde claims to have ridden 1,088 kilometres (676 mi) at the Opel Test Center in Rodgau-Dudenhofen, Germany.[55] however as of 31 July 2018 the ride is yet to be recognised by the World Human Powered Vehicle Association.[54]
  • Elena Novikova (Ukraine) set the women's indoor track record at 485.687 miles (782 km), average speed 20.24 miles per hour (32.57 km/h) at Velodromo Fassa Bortolo Montichiari, Brescia, Italy on 17 September 2017.[49]
  • Seana Hogan regained the women's outdoor track record at 445.78 miles (717 km), average speed 18.57 miles per hour (29.89 km/h) at Hellyer Park Velodrome San Jose, California, United States on 4 May 2012.[49][56]

Long-distance records

Pembroke to Great Yarmouth

Pembroke to Great Yarmouth is the traversal of the whole width of the island of Wales and England between two extremities; Starting in Pembroke in the West and finishing in Great Yarmouth in the East. The record is also known as the Side to Side record. The distance by road using the traditional route is 349 miles (562 km) and the records are maintained by the Road Records Association. Some of its current records are:

Land's End to John O'Groats

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 using the traditional route is 874 miles (1,407 km) and the records are maintained by the Road Records Association. Some of its current records are:

  • Upright bicycle: In June 2018 Michael Broadwith claimed the record in 43h 25m 13s,[61][62]
  • Faired recumbent bicycle: Andy Wilkinson, 1996, 41h 4m 22s[63]
  • Women's record: Lynne Taylor (Lynne Biddulph), 2001, 52h 45m [64]
  • Women's tricycle record: Jane Moore, 2014, 88h 45m 21s.[65]
  • Men's Tandem Record: D Irvine & C Mitchell, 2015, 45h 11m 0s.[66]
  • Mixed Tandem Record: A Wilkinson & L E A Taylor (Lynne Biddulph), 2000, 51h 19m 23s.[67]

Return journey between Land's End and John O'Groats

Ben Rockett claimed to have set a record of 141h 8m 0s [68][69] for an upright bicycle from Land's End to John O'Groats to Land's End, being the return journey of Land's End to John O'Groats. The distance by road using the traditional route is 1,748 miles (2,813 km). The precise route he took is not clear as his website says the distance ridden was 1,880 miles (3,030 km).[68] Its status as a record however was dubious as no recognised authority certified the record.

In September 2017 James MacDonald set a Guinness world record, starting and finishing at John O Groats.[70] Guinness certified the record as covering 1,725 miles (2,776 km) in 5 days 18 hours and 3 minutes, beating Rockett's time by 3 hours and 5 minutes.[71]

One Thousand miles

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.[72]

  • Men's record: Gethin Butler, 2001. After setting the Lands End to John O'Groats record in 2001 Gethin Butler continued to ride, completing 1000 miles in 55 hours 59 minutes 0 seconds.[73]
  • Women's record: Lynne Taylor, 2001. After setting the women's Lands End to John O'Groats record, Lynne Taylor continued to ride, completing 1000 miles in 64 hours and 38 minutes.[73]

Ultra Marathon

Race Across America, an ultra marathon bicycle race across the United States that started in 1982. The fastest average speed records are:

  • Solo man: 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.[74]
  • Solo 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.[74]

Seven days

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 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.[72] No authority appears to maintain this record, however notable distances ridden in seven days include:

  • Tommy Godwin rode 2,084 miles (3,354 km) between 16 and 22 July 1939.[75]
  • Bruce Berkeley rode 2,825 kilometres (1,755 mi) between 23 and 29 June 2014.[77]
  • Richard Nutt rode 2,830 kilometres (1,760 mi) between 1 and 7 June 2015.[78]
  • James Golding rode 2,842.2 kilometres (1,766.1 mi) between 19 and 25 June 2017.[79]

One month

There are 2 authorities currently recognising this record, Guinness World Records and World Ultra Cycling Association (formerly the UltraMarathon Cycling Association). Tommy Godwin rode 8,583 miles (13,813 km) in July 1939,[75] on his way to setting the World Endurance record for a single year however no authority has recognised this as a record. Current record holders are:

  • WUCA and Guinness World Record holder Amanda Coker rode 8,012.4 miles (12,894.7 km) in April 2017.[80][81]
  • WUCA male record holder Steven Abraham rode 7,104.3 miles (11,433.3 km) between 2 September and 1 October 2016.[80]
  • Guinness World Record holder Mark Beaumont (UK) rode 7,031 miles (11,315.29 km) between 2 and 31 July 2017, travelling from Paris to Jerramungup, Western Australia.[82]\

100,000 Miles

On 11 July 2017, 24-year-old Amanda Coker set a new "Fastest completion of 100,000 miles by bicycle record, doing so in 423 days. Coker's record improved by 77 days on Tommy Godwin's prior record of 500 days set in May 1940. The record was certified by the Guinness Book of Records and the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (now the WUCA).[83][84][85][86]

World Endurance record for distance in a calendar year

Men's record

In 1911 the weekly magazine Cycling began a competition for the highest number of 100-mile rides or "centuries" in a single year.[87] The winner was Marcel Planes with 332 centuries in which he covered 34,366 miles (55,307 km).[87] The inspiration for the competition was said to be the efforts of Harry Long, a commercial traveller who rode a bicycle on his rounds covering every part of England and Scotland and who covered 25,376 miles (40,839 km) in 1910.[87] The world record for distance cycled in a year began in an era when bicycle companies competed to show their machines were the most reliable. The record has been officially established nine times.[88] A tenth claim, by the English rider Ken Webb in 1972, was disallowed.[n 1] Apart from the 1911 competition organised by Cycling, there was no authority that set rules for record attempts nor certified the mileage ridden.[89] In 1937 the League of Victorian Wheelmen declined a request by Ossie Nicholson for patronage for his attempt on the record. Nicholson's response was to appoint a committee to supervise his attempt.[90] The mileage had been traditionally verified by way of a sealed milometer and cards signed by upstanding members of society such as police officers or postmasters.[91]

In November 2014 the UltraMarathon Cycling Association announced that it would recognise a new record category for the highest annual mileage in a year,[92] and set rules for the record.[89] All of the previous record holders from Marcel Planes to Tommy Godwin rode a double-triangle diamond frame bicycle, and their rides all commenced on 1 January. The UltraMarathon Cycling Association decided, however, to permit any bike type except for faired recumbents, and that an attempt may start on any day of the year running for 365 consecutive days. Odometers and cards were replaced by GPS recording and live tracking devices such as the SPOT Satellite Messenger.[89]

In 2015, three cyclists commenced an attempt to beat the record set by Tommy Godwin. Briton Steve Abraham[93] started his attempt on 1 January, American Kurt Searvogel,[94] nicknamed Tarzan, started 10 January, and Australian Miles Smith started on 18 June.[95] Abraham was hit by a moped rider on 29 March 2015, breaking his leg above the ankle.[96] After two weeks' recovery, Abraham resumed cycling gradually, using just one leg to pedal a recumbent trike.[97] Abraham rode 63,568 miles (102,303 km) in his calendar year attempt.[95] Having lost so much distance, Abraham launched a concurrent attempt on the record starting on 8 August 2015.[95] however announced on 22 January 2016 that he had ended his concurrent attempt.[98] Smith ceased his attempt on 13 November 2015.[95] Searvogel managed to overcome weather, injury and also married his one-woman support crew Alicia Searvogel, breaking Godwin's mark with five days to spare.[95][76][99][100] Cycling Weekly reported a surprising number of people were less than charitable about Searvogel's amazing feat.[101] Searvogel planned his attempt to hit his final mileage of 76,076 miles exactly, writing "The number is significant in that it took 76 years and 76,076 miles to take the record from the British – The spirit of 76 lives on".[102] This UMCA record is also recognized as a Guinness World Record.[100]

World Endurance record for a single year
YearRecord holderCountryDistanceRef
1911Marcel Planes France34,366 miles (55,307 km)[103]
1932Arthur Humbles Great Britain36,007 miles (57,948 km)[103]
1933Ossie Nicholson Australia43,966 miles (70,756 km)[104]
1936Walter Greaves Great Britain45,383 miles (73,037 km)[105]
1937Bernard Bennett Great Britain45,801 miles (73,710 km)[91]
1937René Menzies France61,561 miles (99,073 km)[106]
1937Ossie Nicholson Australia62,657 miles (100,837 km)[107]
1939Bernard Bennett Great Britain65,127 miles (104,812 km)
1939Tommy Godwin Great Britain75,065 miles (120,805 km)[108]
2015Kurt Searvogel United States76,076 miles (122,432. km)[95][100]
2017 Amanda Coker (Female)  United States 86,537 miles (139,269 km) [95][109][110]

Women's record

During 1938 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. Dovey combined the attempt with a lecture tour, often finishing her ride and then giving a fitness lecture in the evening.[111][112]

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 would have reached Dovey's record after 36 weeks, three days, one hour and 20 minutes. The endeavour was sponsored by Bruce Small Pty Ltd.[112][113][114][115]

In 2016, Kajsa Tylen[116] broke the record, exceeding Dovey's mileage on 24 November, with over a month of the year left to go.[117] Guinness did not ratify Billie Dovey's record, and had set a target of over 50,000 km. Tylen cycled all over the UK and Europe, encouraging others to join her every day, and make 'sweat pledges' of support. Tylen set the Guinness World Record for females at 52,025 kilometres (32,327 mi).[118]

On 5 April 2017, the 326th day of her year-long record attempt to ride more miles in a year than anybody ever, Amanda Coker broke the women's, as well as the overall mileage record, when she exceeded Kurt Searvogel's previous record of 76,076 miles (122,432.7 km). The Guinness Book of World Records certified Coker's record at the end of her record-breaking day at 76,233.9 miles (122,686.81 km).[109] Coker completed her year-long mileage record with 86,537 miles (139,268 km).[110]

On June 4, 2016, Alicia Searvogel became the first woman over 50 years of age to make an attempt the Highest Annual Mileage record. On June 3, 2017, Searvogel finished her attempt with a total of 32,415 miles (52,166 km).[95] While she fell short of breaking Amanda Coker's overall woman's record, Ms. Searvogel was awarded the highest annual mileage record,[95] and highest month mileage record 4,021 miles (6,471 km) in the 50–59 age category by the UMCA (now WUCA).[80]

Road bicycle racing records

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

Track cycling records

Wheelie records

Kurt Osburn (nicknamed Wheelie King) from California, United States is the Guinness World Record holder for Longest Bicycle Wheelie, riding on the back wheel of a bicycle.[124] On 8 August 1998, he rode a wheelie for a record 11 hours at the Anaheim Convention Center, California. In June 2012 David "Pixie" Robilliard failed to break the record.[125]

From 13 April to 25 June 1999, he rode 2,839.6 miles from Hollywood to the Guinness World Records Experience in Orlando on one wheel, also for a Guinness World Record, becoming the first person in history to ride a bicycle wheelie coast to coast. During his attempt he rode an average of 50 miles per day, sometimes with winds in excess of 40 miles per hour. Other facts: He cycled on the 110 Highway, had 4 flat tires (on the rear tire of course), over 1.8 million pedal revolutions from start to finish, and was chased by dogs almost daily.[126]


  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.

See also


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