World records on a bicycle

World records on a bicycle

After 200 years of cycling there must be some crazy records set on a bicycle. Speed, distance, endurance, those are the obvious records. But what other extraordinary things have we done on a bike? Let’s go over the top 10 world records on a bicycle and see if there is anything out there left to beat.

So first things first…speed. In 1995, a Dutch cyclist by the name of Fred Rompelberg decided he wanted to break the speed record achieved on a bicycle. On the Salt Flats in Utah, behind a windshield, Fred registered a top speed of 166.95 mph or 268.68 km/h. This record was recently broken by Denise Mueller-Korenek who reached a speed of 183.93 mph or 296.12 km/h. Both these records are set in slipstream to shield them from the wind.

This was the fastest bike ride ever, but it was done using slipstream. For the record without a windshield or slipstream we have to abandon the Utah Salt Lakes and move to France… to the mountains….in the snow… where Eric Barone cycled downhill in the middle of a ski resort. Using an aerodynamic bike, helmet and clothes, but without windshield, Eric registered a top speed of 138 mph or 222 km/h.

After speed comes endurance. Cycling around the world on a bicycle, a line from the average adventurer’s bucket list. Something that Mark Beaumont achieved in only 74 days, starting in Paris and ending back in Paris. One year later Jenny Graham repeated the adventure. Circling the world in only 124 days she set the world record for women.

Around the world does mean that sometimes a boat or airplane were used to bridge the watery gaps where we cannot cycle (or can we? Just keep reading!). Michael Strasser saw it differently and looked for a body of land to cross without water holding him back. The Pan-American highway – from Alaska to Argentina – was crossed in only 84 days, covering more than 14,000 miles.

So ok, we are not supposed to cycle underwater, it’s impossible. However, there are two underwater cycling records…. The first was set as you would expect. Someone in full scuba gear on a heavy bike. German-born Jens Stotzner decided to give it a try and broke the world record by cycling 6708 meters at the bottom of a swimming pool.

For Fabio Falla riding with scuba gear was not a record worth setting. Fabio was chasing the same world record as Jens, but decided that using oxygen tanks was too easy. In the same year, one month before Jens’ record attempt, Fabio cycled 67.60 meter underwater without oxygen. 

So we’ve covered land and water. Surely there is no record involving flying bikes… But there is one for riding a bicycle on a tightrope. Nik Wallenda, an American tightrope specialist, crossed a 238-foot high (72 meter) rope between the Royal Towers in Nassau, Bahamas. Not only is that crazy, it was done untethered and without support. With balls this big you almost wonder if they made for extra support on the rope.

Now that we’ve covered the speed and endurance records, here are some other remarkable world records involving a bicycle.

Longest Rideable Bicycle

  • Longest wheelie in one hour – 16 miles
  • Longest wheelie – 11 hours
  • Longest distance backwards – 209 miles / 336 km in 24 hours
  • Most stairs climbed in one minute – 119 steps up
  • Highest bunny hop – 1.4 meter jump