Mueller sets new Women's Paced Bicycle Land Speed Record
On Saturday September 10 2016 Denise Mueller pedalled a bike at 147mph at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to become world record holder.
The 43 year old from Carlsbad California had been first started planning her attempt back in 2012 when her cycling coach mentioned the idea.
Mueller’s coach just happened to be John Howard, previous owner of the men’s record. She began ‘Project Speed‘ shortly after.
Watch: Project Speed’s trailer video
On a four mile track, Mueller was towed up to approx 90mph for the first mile (towing is permitted because the massive gear is impossible to turn from a standstill) and then she had the remaining three miles to basically go as fast as she could.
You could say she went pretty fast. 147mph to be exact.
She was riding behind a specially designed pacing vehicle with a built-in fairing for reducing wind resistance.
The car was driven by pro driver Shea Holbrook (in the pic below on the left, Mueller on the right) who had to maintain an extremely high level of consistency seeing as Mueller was only a few inches behind his bumper, as it were.
A lot of planning went into this attempt. Right down to the clothing. Mueller was wearing a bespoke leather and lycra bodysuit affair that offered a combination of required aerodynamic efficiency, pedalling movement and protection (well, a bit of) should a crash occur.
The bike she used was quite a funky looking thing. We’re used to hearing about how big wheels are best for speed but the custom bike built by SD Wheel Works (in conjunction with KHS and tandem-makers DaVinci) rolled on 17″ cruiser wheels.
Why? For a low centre of gravity.
The bike in general is extremely long and sports a chopper-style super slack head angle. Stability is the name of the game here. With stability in mind the headset features steering damping as well.
It’s a hardtail but one that sports a triple clamp suspension fork up front and a BodyFloat Isolation suspension seatpost at the back.
A suspension seatpost was felt to offer the best compromise of comfort, control, weight and pedalling efficiency.
Mueller is actually going to have ANOTHER attempt at breaking her new record next week. We’ll let you know how she gets on.
Due to the relatively short nature of the track she won’t be aiming to best the men’s record (167mph, requiring at least a six mile track) but she is going to try and beat 152.2mph.
Why 152,2mph? That was the best time ever posted by her coach, John Howard.