In 1995, a Dutch cyclist named Fred Rompelberg rode his bike at a speed of 167.044 miles per hour, which set the world record. How does one go that fast? He did what’s called a “motor-paced” run, meaning he rode behind a vehicle and stayed within its slipstream to cut down on wind resistance and make it possible to reach such speeds. That’s a pretty impressive record… but now, it is no more. On September 16, the feat was bested by Denise Mueller-Korenek, who managed to reach an astounding speed of 183.932 miles per hour (via Digg).
Bicycling has more details about the process, and it’s pretty nuts. Mueller-Korenek was on her custom bike, which was tethered to a race car. The bike is so intense that Mueller-Korenek had to get to over 100 miles per hour before she was even able to pedal and turn the gears on her own. Once that happened, she unhooked from the vehicle and stayed closely behind it, eventually reaching the incredibly high speeds that she did. Mueller-Korenek described what the ride was like, and it’s scary just to think about being in her position:
“It’s like a dance. Behind the fairing, I’m constantly adjusting, floating forward and floating back. [Driver Shea Holbrook] is doing her own dance, accelerating and decelerating so she doesn’t drop me as I’m floating back or have me hit the car as I’m coming forward. She has to match my stride. Imagine being in the back of a box truck with no windows. Everything is just white with no reference points, like cars or telephone poles zipping by. You can hear the engine start and you can feel them taking off and the sound of the engine, and what you feel tells you when you’re going fast.”
What do you think is the fastest speed you’ve ever done on a bicycle? Share you fast and furious stories down in the comments!
Featured image: Project Speed Denise Mueller-Korenek Project Speed