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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 06-03-11, 09:02 AM   #1
Machka 
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Distance Record

Did you notice this post in the Road forum about the cycling distance records?

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...cycling-record

The record for most miles cycled in one year has been standing since 1939. One person tried to beat that record in the 1970s but his attempt was disqualified.

I find it interesting that the record has stood for so many years. Do people just have so many more things they need or want to do, in more recent times, that we don't have time or energy or desire to ride the kind of distances mentioned in the link in the original post of that thread?

I've done a little over 14,000 km one year, but I was off for 3 months of that year on a bicycle tour (and the Great Southern Randonnee), so I had the time to ride. While working full time, I've only ever managed just slightly over 10,000 km in a year, for several years.
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Old 06-03-11, 10:46 AM   #2
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Breaking that record will be really freaking hard. 14000km in a year is one thing, but doing 9 times that is whole different kind of game. Sickness, injuries (even small ones), crashes, bad weather, mechanical problems, financial problems, family problems, support team problems, or any number of unpredictable events can throw you way off pace. Oh, and you have to be fast too, because you won't be able to sustain 320+ km/day every day for a year and still have time to recover/rest if you spend too much time riding. I'm not surprised the record has stood for over 70 years. It was incredibly difficult then, and is incredibly difficult now even with better bikes, clothing, nutrition, etc...
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Old 06-03-11, 12:22 PM   #3
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Remember that part of the reason that record has stood for so long is that Guiness officials said they would no longer certify any new attempts.

Still, that's a freaking lot of pedaling.
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Old 06-03-11, 02:18 PM   #4
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Several of those distance records were sponsored by bike and component manufacturers. Often most of the distance involved repeatedly riding (for instance) a known mapped 100 miles to a cyclists' cafe where the staff signed proof of passage for the cyclist.
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Old 06-04-11, 03:38 AM   #5
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Yeah - I posted my skeptical - non-believer response. For one thing - the roads, another thing - the climate, oh and one more thing - there should have or would have to be many other "supporters" that would have written and commented on this.

Remember this is 1939 - finding good pavement without being hit by a car would be next to impossible.
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Old 06-04-11, 02:14 PM   #6
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Bollocks RC.
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Old 06-05-11, 12:48 AM   #7
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I recall reading about a fellow named Hoffman - an American - who had been averaging around 200 miles a day for more than a decade and had surpassed one million miles on a bike. This was only a few years ago. Seems like he might be a candidate, but I can't remember his first name and a quick Google doesn't turn anything up. Perhaps someone's memory will be jogged...
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Old 06-05-11, 01:00 AM   #8
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Six jours, you might be referring to Freddie Hofman - he claims to have ridden 1.3 million lifetime miles.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2458325&page=1
http://miles4melanoma.com/freddiehoffman/

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Old 06-05-11, 01:27 AM   #9
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Ah, that's the one. Thanks, mate!

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Old 06-06-11, 07:14 AM   #10
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If one carefully reads the history of those old distance records ... not much documentation.

Everybody wants documentation now.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Above written knowning that there is not much documentation for most of the cycling I've done.
Do I care?
No.
But, I'm not trying to get someone to recognize me as a great-record-holder.
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Old 06-06-11, 11:15 AM   #11
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Hey - if these guys say its a record - its a record. On the other hand if someone says "bollocks" well - that's no more no less than either.

This reminds me of when I was using my Lucas Cyclometer (made in England) - in the 1960's --
It seems no matter how well you treated them, the "star wheel" which turned, each time a "striker" on spoke would slap it - well they all wore out after about thousand miles. I guess this guy went through at least 50 or 60 of these in one year. Oh wait - maybe he used other measurements........ of course my Columbia racer weighed about 32lbs - but this was the "60s".......

Never mind.
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Old 06-06-11, 12:26 PM   #12
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If you do some searching on the 'Net and follow some of the links embedded in some of the results, it seems that the reason the 1-year, lond distance endurance record was "ended"/is no longer recognized by Cycling/Guiness Book is that documentation was at times, "suspect". (Coincidentally of course, 1939 if you remember your high school history, was the beginning of WW2 for Europeans so I'm sure that had at least SOMETHING to do with it.)

Of course, part of the "problem" with such a record is it's mostly a solo endeavor - these guys rode from place to place solo (pubs, bike shops, etc.) and only occasionally had others along/at the start/end. Solo endeavors are inherently open to questioning whether all miles were actually ridden in accordance with "the rules", whatever those might be. I mean, no one followed the riders for all those miles, right?

Fast forward to today. Digital cameras, using receipts to document stops/route, and other ways of using modern technology such as GPS/SPOT trackers would seem to alleviate some of the documentation issues - if there were a record certification entity. Simply using a cyclometer wouldn't seem to be sufficient in today's cynical environment/society where cheating is always suspected (or actually present, think about Rosie Ruiz skipping parts of the 1980 Boston Marathon). Of course, there's still the possibility of falsifying pics using Photoshop.

I think that one of the few viable ways to document something like this today would be in conjunction with a randoneering org like RUSA which has at least the basics of documentation/recordkeeping already in place for "certification" purposes - though of course, this is not their primary purpose. You'd need a pretty cooperative RBA.

But a retired or fully-sponsored cyclist should, theoretically, still be able to at least challenge the record IF a certifying authority could be found.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 06-06-11 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 06-06-11, 12:50 PM   #13
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RC, you don't know what the cycling conditions were like in Britain between the wars. I know several people who know first-hand. There were very few cars and lorries were governed to quite a low speed. Riders would happily use the main A-roads (generally flatter than smaller lanes, easy navigation and well-maintained) drafting lorries for many miles.

You don't know how much proof was provided. Cycling, a weekly national paper, received postcards (daily in most cases), usually signed at start, turn-around and finish by bystanders. These records were publicity and there were updates in the cycling press regarding their progress. One of the reasons Webb's record was rejected was because other riders wrote that Webb was not seen on roads he was meant to have ridden on specific days. There is no doubt about Godwin's record, I've seen his signatures in a cyclists' cafe record book, along with the thousands of normal cyclists that ate there through the year.

Talk to the man himself and ask to see his scrapbooks. When I met him a few years ago, he was still as sharp as a tack.
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Old 06-06-11, 01:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LWaB View Post
Talk to the man himself and ask to see his scrapbooks. When I met him a few years ago, he was still as sharp as a tack.
The Tommy Godwin we're talking about died in 1975. You might be referring to the other Tommy Godwin (b. 1920), and while he is an accomplished cyclist, he's not the one with the distance record.
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Old 06-07-11, 12:46 AM   #15
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I hate it when I do that...
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