Photo of the ride: A…uhh…bullet bike?

Yesterday while out cycling, I was heading home after a loop around Longchamp – a horse race track that hundreds, if not thousands of cyclists flock to. Especially on weekends.

As I was coming into the loop, I heard a ‘whomp-whomp-whomp – sorta like a disc wheel sounds like. Except with a bit of a low wooden rumble to it.

A couple seconds later, a silver bullet flies by. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. So I propped up by bike against a nearby tree and waited for it to come back around again. It took about 5 minutes, and sure enough, back it came.

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The speed of the pedal-powered bullet was pretty impressive. Even on this corner, he screamed through it before accelerating out of the corner – easily besting cyclists nearby him on both loops that I saw. I’m sure it didn’t take long until he was cruising at 30MPH across the floats – perhaps faster.

IMG_7918

I’d love to see the inside of this recumbent bicycle some day. I’m sure he’s a regular here at the loops, so it’s probably just a matter of time if I keep going back (which I tend to do more in the warmer months). I also suspect that at least one of you (my awesome readers) will know the full back story about this individual. So leave a comment if you know more!

As an interesting side note – while looking at Wikipedia, I found out that the world speed record on a two-wheeled ‘bicycle’ (unpaced) is 363 86MPH. Holy crap.

As always, thanks for reading!

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18 Comments

  1. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    “As an interesting side note – while looking at Wikipedia, I found out that the world speed record on a two-wheeled ‘bicycle’ (unpaced) is 363MPH. Holy crap.”

    It must be a fake data that you found at link to en.wikipedia.org.

    The fastest speed on an unpaced bicycle on flat must be still around 130-135 km/h, maybe a bit more, and not four times of it. Check the next section at link to en.wikipedia.org

    Just think a bit of 363mph and do not rely on Wikipedia, which was modified on 4th of December 2012 by a presumably jolly guy

    Reply
  2. Nebby

    Actually the speed values were edited on 01:43, 31 December 2012‎ by some jolly guy. I went ahead and reverted it to the last edit that matched up with the linked articles. That being said 83 mph is still damn fast on a bike :)

    Reply
  3. Shaun Moran

    Hey Ray – They are called a velomobile and they are on my wish list :-) I have three friends in Brisbane with them (link to sinnerbikes.com) and because of the low air drag they can reach and sustain higher speeds than normal drop bar bikes. The downside in the weight (25kg) so they are typically slower up hills but they make up for it on the downhills/flats. I know people who have reach 100km/h (62mph) on one.

    One of my friends has lots of great videos on youtube showing his – have a look at his channel link to youtube.com

    A great intro video showing it outside and out is at link to youtube.com and a good video showing it in a 100km ride to the Gold Coast at link to youtube.com

    Reply
  4. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Thanks for the correction, Nebby, I am not familiar with Wikipedia, I just had a fast glance on the history and spotted some change on 4th.

    Ray,
    No offence meant, but check some good book about bicycle science like link to books.google.hu

    You will see that it is almost impossible to create a vehicle of so low Cda that 363mph would be possible by one human being while keeping the rule of two wheels.

    Reply
  5. Mean Walrus

    Hey Ray!

    I was just checking your site after ringing in 2013 stateside, and got a chuckle out of seeing what appears to my untrained eye to be a model of a Bluevelo, or something equivalent to one (http://www.bluevelo.com).

    On my rides to the office I actually pass by (or rather, get passed by) someone here in Indianapolis who religiously rides theirs in rain, sleet, or at night – as it seems to be equipped with lights that would compete with those on a car.

    While I can’t speak to the identity of the mystery man in Paris, I too have often wondered about the individual who impressively rides his here and thought that my little bit of research into such a machine might aid in your quest to learn more about the bullet bike. I spied the logo on his yellow bike as he blew past me one day. They look pretty wild.

    Thanks for a great 2012 and what will no doubt be a tremendous 2013!

    Reply
  6. David

    You may be interested to know that the British cyclist Graeme Obree is currently trying to break the record on a self built bike. Aiming for 100 mph i understand.

    Reply
  7. 363 mph is very possible, even on level ground: you just need to pick your location.

    Reply
  8. Bill R.

    Ray, what you saw was a WAW velomobile. Reasonably light, decent turning radius, fast enough, compromised by an unsuspended rear wheel. For more information than you’ll ever want to know, head on over to the Bent Rider Online message boards and look for the velomobile section. Great goofy fun!

    Reply
  9. I see quite a few of these every week. We dubbed one “the banana” (guess why) and the other one is painted like Nemo.

    Not a huge fan of people riding these in high traffic areas, but they’re cool nevertheless.

    Reply
  10. Thor R

    There’s an almost identical “silver bullet” here in Wellington, New Zealand. It races along keeping up with traffic such that the local authorities have required the owner to fit a complete set of lights: headlights, indicators, and stop lights.
    I’ve tried to keep up with it on the open road when on my road bike, but it is fast!

    Reply
  11. > I’d love to see the inside of this recumbent bicycle some day.

    While it isn’t exactly the same, the Danish Recumbent Bicycle do have a few images of the insides of a similar bike at their website:

    link to liggecykelforeningen.dk

    Reply
  12. Mike

    Check out the bike that set both the men’s and women’s flat world record – the Varna Tempest was used by Barbara Buatois and Sam Whittingham. The photographer has many other pictures of human powered vehicles from the 2012 World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, NV.

    link to flickr.com

    Reply
  13. These sort of Velomobiles are normally built around a recumbent trike, a bit like my one here link to gkam84.tk

    I got it for different reason’s than just speed as you can read in my blogs :) Now happily back cycling around the roads of Scotland.

    Reply
  14. Alexandre LEGER

    Ray, I wanted to apologize for the awkward meeting we had today while you were running in Paris and I was on my bike.
    I guess you’re not yet entirely used to being so popular that you can’t even go for a run without being harassed in Paris.
    Anyway, it was cool meeting you and again, great job on your blog.
    If ever you’re looking for some nice bike rides just outside Paris, in the Chevreuse valley, from 50 to 90k, my friends and I who are training for our first triathlon would be happy to show you the way.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Haha…no worries at all! Sorry for being short of breath, I was in the last 15 minutes of a 90 minute tempo run, so no stopping permitted.

      I’m always on the lookout for others in the area to ride with (just did it this last weekend actually). So definitely adding you to my list!

      Thanks for saying hi!

      Reply
  15. Reply
  16. Oops, sorry URLs got messed up…

    Info on WAW: http://www.fietser.be

    link to sites.google.com

    Reply
  17. Jipe

    Velomobiles originate from The Netherlands. The most famous one is the Quest. The lightest one is the Go One Evo K (about 19kg) from Germany. Another also very fast and lightweight is the Milan SL also from Germany. The WAW is from Belgium (made by link to fietser.be).

    The biggest velomobile community in France can be found on this forum: link to velorizontal.bbfr.net

    Other fast bikes are recumbent, the fastest guy on recumbent is Aurélien Bonneteau look here link to aurelienbonneteau.free.fr

    Reply

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