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New Human-Powered World Hour Record 257

jesterpilot writes "Last weekend, the limit of human propulsion was pushed another kilometer. At the 2006 Dempsey-MacCready One Hour Record Attempts on the Nissan track in Arizona, Fred Markham set a new World Hour Record by cranking 85,4 km in a fully faired recumbent bicycle. This is about 1 km more than Sam Whittinghams 2004 record. Noting Fred's age of fifty years, it seems the boundaries of human propulsion are not even close yet. Read a report of the decisive runs on Rob English' diary."
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New Human-Powered World Hour Record

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  • Way cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:47PM (#15652332) Homepage Journal

    I know fast freddy, or at least I've met the guy. I met him at Calfee in Santa Cruz, Calfee makes "the best" carbon fiber diamond-frames. He was getting ready to move over to Easy Racers, whose bikes have set numerous human-powered land speed records. They even sell one of those designs, the Gold Rush, to consumers. It's way sexy for a bicycle. Another friend of mine works for them, designing and prototyping bicycles, and doing side work on electric bicycles. Very cool stuff.

  • Re:Way cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Codger ( 96717 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:53PM (#15652357)
    Freddy was associated with Easy Racers for years. He did some work with Calfee but ended that relationship a couple years ago. He has since returned to Easy Racers as one of the owners, having purchased the company, with a partner, after Gardner Martin passed.

    His success in setting this record is a real triumph, and gives me, as another relative codger, hope.
  • Re:Way cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:57PM (#15652382) Homepage Journal
    Freddy was associated with Easy Racers for years. He did some work with Calfee but ended that relationship a couple years ago. He has since returned to Easy Racers as one of the owners, having purchased the company, with a partner, after Gardner Martin passed.

    Yeah, I wasn't familiar with the extent to which he was involved with calfee. I think it was more than a couple years ago that I saw him there, when he was then supposedly breaking up with 'em. I know he's been involved with easy racers for the long term.

    I hadn't, however, heard that he had co-purchased the company. That's great, because people were worried what was going to happen what with Ms. Martin in control - whether it would be sold off to some larger company, or what have you, destroying the work environment.

  • Just for comparison (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chanrobi ( 944359 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:00PM (#15652403)
    World class elite athletes are doing about 31mph ~ 50kph (1 hour, outdoors) in individual time trials on upright bikes (non faired TT/Tri bikes). It's pretty much entirely the aerodynamic efficiency of the low/faired enclosure that is giving the recumbents such a huge speed difference over an hour in these record attempts.

    The guys powering these things aren't couch potatoes either.

  • Re:Weird Phrasing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by usrusr ( 654450 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:32PM (#15652552) Homepage Journal
    it's the usual phrasing for that certain kind of bicycle speed record.

    i wonder if this one is standing start or flying start.
  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:38PM (#15652590) Journal
    My work commute is 31 miles by car, 34 by bike. It takes me 48-65 minutes by car, and 80-95 minutes by bike. And that's a long, long commute with much of it out on country roads. Back when I was going to college 17 miles from where I lived, given the parking situation on campus and my ability to ride my bike directly to the lecture halls, it was *significantly* faster to ride than drive, like 40 minutes door-to-door on the bike and almost an hour by car.
    (note I was a pretty serious bike racer and wasn't dawdling along at 15 or 18 mph; I usually average about 23-25 when I'm out riding. That's not the case for people who don't really enjoy hurting a lot. Plus side: at those speeds, ya burn something like 1000 calories an hour. It's pretty nice to be able to eat a whole quart of ice cream for dessert almost every night and not worry about gaining weight.)
  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:53PM (#15652694) Homepage Journal
    I live in Vancouver, B.C. I looked at recumbents, but found them to be a little pricy for something I wasn't fully committed to. My last tour on a mountain bike took me over 6000 km over plus 4 months. I crossed the rockies, went down south through the Cypress hills and across Canada to Montreal. Once I'd crossed the Rockies I really didn't experience any fatigue until Montreal. I found that once my body fat had dropped to next to nil fatigue began to take a toll at the end of the day. I could pinch my skin at my waist and it was fatless like rubbing two pieces of paper together.

    Also as you spoke to various physical pains I experienced little or no pain, there was rather almost a daily endorphine high.

    I'm presently rebuilding my mountain bike. I'd rather build the drive chain myself from quality parts then buy a bike new.

    There are very few recumbent bikes on the west coast but I hope their numbers grow as I'd like to buy one.


  • Re:Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jesterpilot ( 906386 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:55PM (#15652704) Homepage
    I wanted a recumbent for years (long wheel base) but because of their low production, they tend to be more expensive, are also heavier, and most look funny.

    Why not a short wheel based? They are lighter, faster and especially the dutch ones like Challenge [] or Optima [] don't particulary look funny.
  • Re:Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:16PM (#15652829) Homepage
    That's not true. Recumbents are faster on flat road and more aero-dynamic but try climbing hills with them. With a normal bike you can stand up and push if you really need to. A recumbent doesn't have room for that extra push. A recumbent won't have much of an advantage, if not a disadvantage, in something with mountains like the Tour de France.
  • by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:28PM (#15652909)
    The recent record was set at a track (in Arizona) that was different from the previous record holder's ride (in Germany). In fact, aren't there bound to be many differences? Like time of day, weather, and especially wind speed and direction? Is a different of ~1-1.5% within a margin of error or a bona-fide new record? Sure it is technically a longer distance, but it seems like it would be impossible to fully normalize against the different conditions. I guess one would have to atleast do it one the same track, with approximately equivalent weather conditions. Considering that these speed bikes are so precision tuned to add seconds here and there to a time trial, such margins of error should be at least be acknowledged.
  • 70MPH (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:57PM (#15653477) Homepage Journal
    I was passing cars *fast*, riding down the center line betwen the two lanes. t-totally completely bonkers nuts. Was going to work, it was around 7 long twisty miles downhill to work (you know, more or less descending), then in the afternoon an terrible 7 mile climb back home when I was already tired from working in an orchard all day. I was laid down over the bars, tucked in for that run, I did it every day but usually I braked some and stayed in my lane, that day I just went for it,you know how you just get feeling *good* ands things are flowing smooth? In the groove? whatever the saying is now. I just went for it zooooom! big fun! It was the cops radar gun, you'd have to question him, he said 70, but I think it was the second fastest I have ridden on a bike. I hit another LONG hill once with little traffic and built up a dang good clip, again, passing cars in the middle. I was a biking fiend back then, and shortly after the radar incident I moved and opened a bicycle shop, were I also built one of the first prototype "mountain bikes", although it wasn't called that then and there weren't any for sale anyplace..

    Anyay, it's my story from my youth and I am sticking to it! Got a few more stupid human tricks I fortunately lived through,. another time perhaps...
  • I think a big part of it is social stigma. I had considered biking to work before, but didn't really take the plunge until after a move when my new cycling enthusiast neighbor suggested it. My commute is about six miles and five or ten minutes slower than by car; I'm lucky to live close and have a low traffic route to work. I'm also lucky to have a shower and a locker at work, and the weather here is fairly nice year round (summers are a cool 70 in the morning even if 85-95 by midday; winters don't often dip below 15 degF; snow is rare). Aside from all the technical aspects in my favor, I get the feeling that bicycle commuters are a bit odd. I don't feel any animosity from others, but I do feel a little "oh, you're one of *those* people" (well, occasionally immature-types have yelled insults from their cars, but this is fairly rare). Also the bicycle commuters themselves can often be offputting. Our corporate website includes a cycling section written by bike commuters, and one of the first tips is "What to wear: or why jeans are a bad idea" which goes on to suggest the traditional tight-fitting cycling gear that professional racers wear, yet fails to explain exactly why jeans are bad. Chaffing is the reason I assume, but I personally commute in jeans with no problems. The website caters to the "cool kids" or fairly hardcore bikers with expensive road bikesand gear and not more casual cyclists such as myself. I'm hoping to help improve this somewhat during my tenure as employee, but who knows how many people it has put off?

  • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fess_Longhair ( 695896 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:23PM (#15653629)
    And they have been setting records for years but unfortunately they have been banned by the UIC (they define the standard bike as a bike). It is said a mediocre (professional) cyclist could beat someone like Armstrong in a normal one day race due to the inherent advantages of the recumbent.

    Unlikely, even if you had a clone of Armstrong riding the recumbent. Road races take place on rolling terrain, and involve acceleration tactics. Recumbants lose their efficiency uphill because you can't change position on the bike to exploit different muscle groups. Tactics involve a lot of short burst acceleration followed by recovery. The recumbant advantage is due to sustained power, not sprinting.

  • Re:Wow! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Two99Point80 ( 542678 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:42PM (#15653710) Homepage
    There is a lot of development work going on amongst the riders of "Crank Forward" bikes such as this one []. One applies greater force to the pedals by pulling on the handlebars, it's possible to tuck (albeit in a jacknife position), and some models also allow standing. The main attractions, though, are the comfort and convenience. Many owners also report feeling substantially younger :-)
  • Re: Groceries (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheStonepedo ( 885845 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:00PM (#15653789) Homepage Journal
    You will sweat if you leave for work with a ride that takes at least 40 minutes and give yourself 40 minutes to arrive at your destination. If you time your ride such that you don't have to hammer up hills and race between traffic lights and stop signs you can ride in most weather without sweating.
    Trunk Space:
    Most road bicycles (there's no good reason to ride mountain bike sized wheels and knobby tires on pavement) can be equipped with rear and front racks. With a pannier on each side of the rack, you can add more weight than you'd be willing to carry walking. Add a backpack and you're a big rig. If you don't want to put your 30 inch CRT on the rear rack, you could always pick up a gaming laptop with the money you've saved over a year or two in fuel and car maintenance.
    Are you sure you're a geek? Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but second best is buying your woman a nice bicycle she can ride next to you. If you're the old-fashioned, dominant type you can get a tandem bicycle and make her ride behind you, serving merely as a means to get more power. If she's the new-fashioned, dominant type you can get a tandem bicycle and let her steer while forcing you to ride stoker.
    A/C and Sun:
    If you're going to work in the morning, the angle of the Sun in the sky is probably low enough that a little sunscreen will keep you from burning. If you ride outdoors frequently you'll become better accustomed to the heat and humidity and not find the lack of air conditioning to be so awful.
    It is not easy to bicycle with an umbrella, however the same full-body rainsuits that can be rolled into tiny little bags for backpacking work when cycling. If you can keep your work clothes at work, who is going to care if you arrive a little wet with time to dry and dress?
  • Re:Way cool (Score:4, Interesting)

    by g00bd0g ( 255836 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:54PM (#15654269) Homepage
    I am the "friend" that works for Easy Racers. Wassup Drinkypoo! We just got back a couple hours ago and I see this is already posted on Slashdot, cool! I have already put up a couple photos. I will add some more photos/videos and stories over the next couple days, after I sleep for about 20 hours. readid=2669 []

    Check our website and forums over the next couple days for more info!

    Gabriel DeVault
    Easy Racers, Inc.

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