James Cracknell to attempt Raleigh Chopper Hour Record

Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell to ride as far as he can in an hour for Sport Relief charity - Photos: Sport Relief/Victoria Dawe Photography

James Cracknell hopes to set a new Hour Record on a Raleigh Chopper
(Image credit: Victoria Dawe Photography)

Olympic rowing legend James Cracknell will face a new challenge this evening (Friday, March 18) when he attempts to set a new Raleigh Chopper Hour Record at the Lee Valley Velodrome, London.

"It’s going to require a lot of pedal power, but I’m excited to push myself to the limit and set a new Sport Relief record on my trusty Chopper," said keen cyclist Cracknell.

"I feel hugely proud to support such an amazing charity and hopefully inspire people to take on their own challenges in the Sport Relief Games. Get fit, have fun and raise much-needed cash to transform lives here in the UK and around the world"


Cracknell is using a modified 1970s Chopper during the attempt, and has received advice from Matt Richardson, who currently holds the Chopper Hour record of 31.87km set in May last year.

Although retaining many of the original, rather un-aerodynamic traits of the Chopper, Cracknell's bike features several modifications carried out by Rikki Pankhurst of Pankhurst Cycles including racing handlebars, a fixed gear, thinner and larger wheels and clipless pedals.

>>> Raleigh Chopper: bicycle classic

The bike retains the all-important Chopper saddle, but this has been raised so that Cracknell isn't hitting his chin with his knees on every pedal stroke.

James Cracknell and modified Hour Chopper

James Cracknell and modified Hour Chopper
(Image credit: Victoria Dawe Photography)

Cracknell's feat is in aid of the Sport Relief charity, and his efforts will be filmed by the BBC. However, the result won't be revealed until the attempt is broadcast on Sunday, March 20, during the Sport Relief Games Show at 1.15pm on BBC One.

At the same time as Crackenell's attempt is taking place at the Lee Valley Velodrome, a team of riders will be circling around him as they attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for one hour ridden by a relay team. The team includes Sally Gunnell, Alastair Campbell, Mike Bushell and Richardson, and each rider will spin around the track for a kilometre.

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.