It is considered one of the most challenging feats of endurance on two wheels — the hour record. Simply put, cycle as far as you possibly can in one hour in the hope of proving you have the mettle to be the best. Sir Bradley Wiggins recently had a pop at it in the Lea Valley Velodrome, breaking the world record while using a bike so aerodynamic, parts of it had to be 3D printed to perfectly fit him.
Cyclist Rob Holden had a different plan to Sir Bradley when he set out on his hour challenge, in aid of the cancer charity Macmillan. Like Sir Brad he would also be riding on a velodrome (albeit the slightly more outdoor Herne Hill Velodrome), but his trusty steed wouldn’t be one designed in a wind tunnel — it would be a Boris Bike.
Rob managed an astonishing average speed of 19.4mph as he completed the challenge.
Name: Sir Bradley Wiggins
Lives: Eccleston, Lancashire (formerly Kilburn)
Bike: Pinarello Bolide HR
Bike Weight: Unknown
Special kit: 3D printed titanium handlebars
Distance covered in 1hr: 54.526km (33.880 miles)
Name: Rob Holden
Lives: Hampton Wick
Bike: Standard issue Santander ‘Boris’ bike
Bike weight: 23 kg
Special kit: Gaffer tape to attach feet to pedals
Distance covered in 1hr: 31.285km (19.439 miles)
"Never again! But if we can, in some small way, get more people on to bikes and raise some money for Macmillan, then it was all worth it.
"If you've never ridden a Boris bike, try it. It's 50lb, 23kg; it's got fat tyres, an upright un-aerodynamic position, and only three gears. While it's a perfect bike for cruising the streets of London, in truth it's built for anything but speed.
“To reach the target speed of 30-32kph (19-20mph) I had to ride with a cadence of over 110 revs per minute. This means I needed to tape my feet to the pedals to stop them from moving around, something I didn't think about when I came to stop!"
Rob’s no stranger to taking on challenges on these types of bikes. He’s previously ridden up the punishing Mount Ventoux in France (even managing to return the bike to the docking station within 24 hours) and has been up Mount Washington on New York’s version of the bike — raising £16,500 in the process for Macmillan.
At the time of writing, Rob has only made 34% of his £1,000 fundraising target for this amazing feat, so if you’ve got any spare change, please go to his Justgiving page and donate.