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24 Aug 2010


I like recumbents for their comfort, fun, practicality and safety. And their was something else too... Speed potential. This post isn't about cruising speed, or average speed. It's about the kind of speed less used and that's actually isn't important at all. This type of speed is there for only one reason, fun. I'm talking about top speed.

In the past weeks I found out that, without significant wind and elevation, Jenease's top speed is 61.5kph, when I'm riding. Thus far that is. Two years a go I reached 72kph down a large bridge with Yavixa. Complete with race hood and strong wind gusts from the side. My all time record is 76kph, down a small hill on my previous Fuego. The fastest descent ever reported about on a Fuego is 106kph. Set by Ian Fardoe in Great Britain. The bike feels rock solid at such speeds. He did it twice to make sure the GPS was right.

Yesterday there blew a strong wind over my flat country. Good circumstances to try to break the wind assisted record. You need a good location for such an attempt. When I reached to first location, a cyclepath next to the TT-circuit, the circumstances where ideal. The wind was so strong that I could feel my helmet being pressed against my helmet. However, I didn't turn around to 'max it', I went further on to Hooghalen. The road is wider there and I thought the wind would be similar.

It wasn't. I had a strong wind gusts from the side, and at normal speeds that doesn't bother me. Now I didn't go any faster than 64.4kph. Before doing this, I'd checked my tyres, just to be sure. I felt like more was possible and I headed back to the first location. Again, the wind was strong. The concrete cycle path was clean and all mine. There was a bit of lose gravel at some point. I turned around at the far end of the straight and accelerated.

30 was reached almost instantly, 40 didn't cost much power. Reaching 50 went surprisingly easy. The gravel was crossed at 50 too. I kept shifting at the right moment, at a cadence around 110-115. 60 was known terrain for me. The wind gusts did ask my full attention. The 2.5 metre wide cycle path started to look narrow now. It was a small movement of my right had that engaged top gear, sprocket number 10 on the mid-drive, at 63kph. From now on all I had to do was keep it steady and pedal really hard. The number on the speedo kept going up. I lifted the throttle once at 65 because of a minor left bend in the cycle path. I ran out of straight at 68kph. So 70 is reachable. Freewheeling at 60kph is great fun. I lightly tipped the brakes and took a turn right on to the military practice area. That piece of road is open to cyclists. I kept doing 45 for a while and everything went back to normal. 

Grotere kaart weergeven

The map shows the problem of this straight, it's only 1.3km long. The good things are that it's tree free and that the grass is at the same level as the cycle path.

Warning: 70kph with strong wind gusts feels alright to me. I've got over 40.000 kilometre of velomobile experience. Practice at lower speeds before attempting such high speeds. Mango's have gone faster than 100kph down hill. Humans are not made to travel at almost 20 metre per second.

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