Rick Robson is following Graeme Obree as he attempts to break the human powered vehicle world speed record in the USA

With The Beastie handling better and Graeme getting to know how to get the best out of the machine, hopes were high as we left the hotel for another dawn run. With Beastie out on the tarmac and ready to go, Graeme climbed into it with the parting words, “Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be done in 10 minutes”

With another super-balanced start, due largely to the pushing prowess of Daily Record journalist, Gary Ralston, Graeme was away, smoothly accelerating down the road. I jumped in the chase car for a rear view of the run. Gone were the wobbles and twitches of early runs, The Beastie and Graeme are following the centre line like you would expect a former World Champion Pusuiter would. The car speedo was up between 55 – 60 mph after three miles, then the speedo dropped to 50mph before the timed 200 speed trap. Graeme slowed gradually and was caught by the catch team.

Climbing out, Graeme was breathing heavily and looked like he had pushed hard. “I went too early building the speed, then I just tried to hang on but the speed dropped. But hey-ho, no one’s died, the fish and chip papers will still be blowing around Saltcoats, the clouds rolling in over Arran”

After having a few minutes to recover, and after getting his speed confirmed as 52.9 mph, I asked Graeme how he felt regarding the record attempt. “Well, Homer Simpson said the key to happiness was to lower your expectations, and with the World Record a long way off, on a well-timed effort I could get to the British record, but the Prone record is achievable.”

Graeme got the okay to go again, so thirty minutes after the first run, we headed down to the start again. The wind seemed to be picking up. Graeme was first out on the second session after another flawless start. Jumping in the chase car, Graeme was trying a new tactic again; slow start build speed with a mile to go.

Once again, Graeme was looking smooth and balanced. As we got to the mile to go board Graeme was pulling away strongly, seemingly increasing speed through the speed trap. Another great catch by the catch team and Graeme got out looking pleased with his ride. “I didn’t quite get it right but its about timing when to push hard, it felt good.” Soon after the speed was confirmed, 53.3mph, but with an illegal headwind – yes, headwinds are illegal in HPV racing.

“The gear is right, the handling is much better, it’s all about pacing and timing the big push.”
Back at the Battle Mountain Civic Centre and Graeme got some unexpected good news, he had broken the World Record for Two-Wheel Prone Recumbent.

“Great news, but let’s give it another big punt tonight!”

Dawn start


Related links

Beastie Blog part four

Obree makes last-minute tweaks ahead of HPV speed attempt

Beastie Blog part three

Beastie Blog part two

Beastie Blog part one

  • Jamie C

    Just imagine if these bikes were UCI legal…..A whole peleton of them would certainly be a sight to behold, and descending would definitely be more exciting!

  • john scarlett

    a great acheivement ,many congratulations.
    However,I am puzzled why Graham’s prone faired recumbent was some 30 mph slower that Sebastiaan Bowles “normal” faired recumbent – Velox 3 which broke the hpv record at 83.13 mph?
    Is the prone position inherently less efficient?

  • john

    Congratulations -a great acheivement – but I am puzzled why Sebastiaan Bowers non prone Velox 3 was some 30 mph faster?
    Is the prone position inherently less effecient?

  • Richard

    Great to see Graham doing well once more and shaking-up the way we think about cycling.

    Many years ago I helped my friend Ben build and test his recumbent cycle. It too was powered by a linear drive like Graham’s although it used two ratchets to turn the push into circular motion. The difference was that in Ben’s bike the drive was to the front wheel which sat between his knees (it was rear-wheel steered).

    I was truly impressed by the mechanism. The torque the rider could generate at the wheel was immense and it seemed to me then that a long-stroke linear drive should have a real future. I have always regretted since that so little innovation appears to be allowed in mainstream cycling sports.

    I wish Graham every success in getting his technology recognised and understood.

  • Rick Robson

    The Prone recumbent world record 54.9 is for a trike. Graeme’s 52.9 is the 2 wheel prone
    recumbent world record.

  • John

    This is great; Obree is a living legend however I’m slightly confused by the “new record” bit as the Daily Record in Scotland is reporting the current prone recumbent record is 54.9mph, 2mph higher than Graeme’s offical speed.


  • richcyclo

    I heard Colin Murray talk about Graeme on Talk Sport today.

    For someone in the mainstream media to speak with such passion about the man, his life, achievements as well as this current attempt was up lifting.

    Murray may not know all the finer details of cycle sport but he recognizes a genius and a champion, brought a tea to my eye.

  • lee

    Brilliant, well done that man….

    I hope Graeme carries on tinkering to take the world record next year… a total genius!

  • Nick G

    Sputnik was a Manchester Wheelers thing. Apparently it enabled one man to beat a four man pursuit team. You can still see it on display the Manchester Velodrome.

    You can find a picture of it in our 130th Anniversary Brochure, downloadable here (link takes you straight to the PDF).


    Nick Green
    Social Secretary
    Manchester Wheelers

  • barry davies

    Great to wake up and read the latest news from Graeme – well done to the whole team..

    I am old enough to remember a streamer called the ‘Sputnick’ which used to be used on the old track at Fallowfield in Manchester, cannot remember who used to ride it ..

  • Alan Sanders

    LOL ‘Chip papers blowing around Saltcoats’ I know what he means..I’ve been there 😀

    Fantastic achievement so far by Graeme and his team, hopefully more to come from the Beastie yet.

    Loving the gaffer tape