Californian cyclist Denise Mueller flew 147mph to set a new women’s world speed record at the weekend, drafting behind the world's fastest production SUV on a bizarre-looking custom-built bike.
The bike was built by Chris Garcia of SD Wheel Works, with help from DaVinci Bikes and KHS Bicycles. It’s designed to provide extra stability at high speeds far beyond any regular bicycle, and features two 60t chainrings for double-reduction gearing.
One full revolution of the pedals equals 125 feet. When Mueller is travelling at 140mph, her cadence is 100 rotations per minute.
The bike is a fixed gear, with no coasting or shifting for Mueller, who requires towed up to speed with the enormous gear. It looks like some sort of cross between a Brompton, a downhill bike and a space buggy designed for riding on the moon.
The wheels on the bike are only 17-inches in size and use shaved tyres spread at the end of the lengthy frame. The reason for the huge fork is, along with an isolation seatpost, to soften the blow at the rear of the bike.
The 147mph recorded marked a new “Women’s Paced Bicycle Land Speed Record", and one that Denise achieved with the help of three-time Olympian John Howard, her coach, who set a land speed record of 152.2mph in 1985.
Speaking to BikeRadar, Mueller said: “We are trying to get up to speed as fast as possible in the first mile before I drop the tow. Then we have until mile three to get up to ultimate speed. Between mile markers three and four is where I am being timed."
She is set to continue to try and up that record, and Mueller expects to beat the 152mph mark in the near future, though the men’s record of 167mph, Howard says, is out of reach due to the terrain.
“We don’t have enough track to beat the men’s world record," he said. “We’ve got four miles and we’d need six."
But how do you slow down on a 147mph fixie? Well, Mueller’s SUV driver, pro car racer Shea Holbrook, will stay in front of her until they fall below 100mph, and then drive away to let wind resistance slow Mueller down.
Simple. As long as there’s no traffic lights along the way.