Who are the world’s mightiest cyclists?
There a many impressive feats of strength in the world of cycling. Here are some of the most extreme as collated by mountain bikes stockist Leisure Lakes Bikes.
Fastest 10,000km cycle
The time: 22 days, 15 hours, 34 minutes, and 9 seconds.
The record holder: Guus Moonen, of the Netherlands.
Where: Three different circuits around the village of Oisterwijk in the Netherlands.
Could you break the record?: There’s plenty you can do in order to become faster when cycling. Review your positioning on the saddle to begin with, as either sitting too far forward or leaning further forward than necessary will both result in poor energy transfer from your body to your bike.
On the topic of your body, reduce how much energy you lose when cycling by keeping your upper body as still as you can. In this way, the majority of your energy should be put into your pedal strokes.
Be sure to look at how your bike is set up, too. For example, tyres that are inflated correctly will roll faster.
Longest marathon static cycling record
The time: 268 hours, 32 minutes and 44 seconds.
The record holder: Jamie McDonald, of the UK.
Where: Gloucester, Gloucestershire.
Could you break the record?: If you are aiming to go through almost 269 hours of static cycling without rest, it’s obvious that you want to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the record attempt.
Ensure the exercise bike’s seat is adjusted to the height of your hips and that your knees are slightly bent to between five and 10 degrees once you’re sitting on the saddle and the pedal is as close to the floor as possible.
Warming up the muscles for the intense workout to come will be very important as well. Begin by spending at least five minutes stretching your abductor muscles, calf muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Then use another five minutes to cycle at a moderate pace of between 70 and 80 rounds per minute.
Longest static cycling class
The time: 25 hours.
The record holder: New Zealand’s Cadence Cycling Studios, based in Christchurch, with the class consisting of instructor, Emma Trott, as well as: Te Rangimaria Ngarimu, Stan Tawa, James Tawa, Lisa Jackson, Jo Hunt, Bonnie Smith, Natalie Usmar, Steve Cull, Peter Butler, Jonathan Armstrong, Sofia Crosley, and Ben Buist.
Could you break the record?: Find a fitness studio that you can book for more than 25 hours and then seek out a coach that can lead a static cycling class for more than a day. You will also needs some willing participants!
Furthest distance cycled in a year
The distance: 86,573.2 miles (or 139,326.34 kilometres). That’s an average of 237 mile or 381kms per day.
The record holder: Amanda Coker, of the USA.
Where: A seven-mile loop of trails around Flatwoods Park in Tampa, Florida.
Could you break the record?: Well, first of all you will need a year off work. And you need to be fit enough to even start this challenge.
Tips for riding long distance day after day include maintaining a high cadence. Aim for at least 90rpm to allow both your aerobic and muscular systems to enjoy a bit of a break as you cycle, thus reducing how much energy you waste.
Multiple Olympic gold medallist, Laura Kenny (formerly Laura Trott), explains as much to The Telegraph: “If you ride in a gear that is too big, you will eventually wear yourself down because of all the effort required. And if you ride in a gear that is too small, your legs will be working too hard to keep up the cadence and you will get tired.”
Plan out a convenient route for the challenge, too. For this, pick a course that has very limited hills or climbs and is in a location that is shielded from the wind as much as possible.
Longest distance cycled with no hands
The distance: 75.8 miles (or 122 kilometres).
The record holder: V.T Vignesh Kumar, of India.
Where: Pre-measured laps of a flat surface set out in Tamil Nadu, India.
Could you break the record?: There are various benefits to learning to cycle for a long period of time with no hands, even if that world record always seems out of reach.
Scott Bugden, a coach educator for both British Cycling and the Union Cycliste International (UCI), points out to Cycling Weekly: “It helps you to develop control of your bike and increase confidence. It provides a little bit of a core workout and teaches you how to engage your core instead of slumping your weight on the handlebars.”
Make sure you’re sitting upright in the saddle and never ride slower than a jogging pace when trying to cycle with no hands. Cycle too slowly and you will fail to maintain both your balance and your bike’s momentum.
Longest distance cycled backwards
The distance: 209.77 miles (or 337.60 kilometres).
The record holder: Andrew Hellinga, of Australia.
Where: The Holden Performance Driving Centre in Norwell, Queensland, Australia.
Could you break the record?: Recumbent exercise bikes are likely to be the best equipment to use when attempting to cycle backwards. However, research commissioned by the American Council On Exercise and carried out by a research team at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse has highlighted the benefits of the technique.
The study found that those who pedalled backwards on a Cascade CMXRT bike had increased heart-rate and energy-cost values than those who pedalled forwards but with all other workloads kept the same.
“The concept of specificity tells us that pedalling forward should still make up the vast majority of a cyclist’s training, but the subtle differences in muscle activation seen when pedalling backward can be very beneficial,” noted the study’s lead, Dr John P. Porcari.
Longest distance cycled underwater
The distance: 6,708 metres (or 22,007.83 foot).
The record holder: Jens Stotzner, of Germany, by completing 78 laps of a course marked out at the bottom of a swimming pool in Bibert Bad Zirndorf, Zirndorf, Germany.
Could you break the record?: Sometimes referred to as hydrospinning or aqua cycling, underwater cycling has become more and more popular throughout Europe and in American cities, such as LA and New York. So, a great way to improve your technique is to sign up to a class near you.
Aqua cycling offers various benefits, whether you attempt to break the world record or just do it out of curiosity. The support and the pressure of the water means that you can burn up to 800kcal every hour that you cycle underwater water, for instance.
Water’s hydrostatic pressure when paired with the movement of cycling also means that you can increase both your blood flow and circulation substantially — elements which energise your muscles.
Highest altitude achieved when cycling
The altitude: 7,211 metres (or 23,658 foot).
The record holder: Gil Bretschneider and Peer Schepanski, both from Germany.
Where: On the slopes of the Muztagata peak in China’s Xinjiang province.
Could you break the record?: You should never try to cycle at a high altitude without first preparing thoroughly for the conditions. In the weeks before travelling to your destination, build your endurance as much as possible with a series of short cycling workouts and some longer and more intense bike rides.
Give your body time to proceed through the acclimatisation process when first arriving at a destination based at a high altitude, as well. The acclimatisation process is where your body will look to adapt to the thinner air – which will be evident when you begin breathing more quickly and deeply, and your heart starts to beat faster in order to deliver more oxygen to your muscles.
Internally, your body will also be making more of the hormone EPO when at high altitude, which regulates the production of red blood cells that increase the absorption of oxygen. Both your heart rate and breathing will normalise as your body adjusts, but it’s best not to go out on intense bike rides from the first day of arriving at your desired location.
Greatest vertical descent by mountain bike in 24 hours
The descent: 32,796.9 metres (or 107,601.16 foot).
The record holder: Mark Haimes, of Australia, and Reg Mullett, of Canada, individually and concurrently.
Where: Mount 7 Psychosis course in Golden, British Columbia, Canada.
Could you break the record?: Think small at first when attempting to break this world record. Find a steep drop-off on a trail route that you’re familiar with to practice your technique.
Towards the edge of the drop-off, you should be looking to have your preferred foot forward. When it’s time to take off, lean back, gently pull up on the handlebar and bring the front wheel of your bike up.
Just take note that you will be going off the edge, not up from it, so you don’t want to pull up too far and increase the risk of looping out — just give enough effort so that both of your bike’s wheels will touch back down onto the ground at the same time.