California cyclist Denise Mueller set a women’s world speed record of 147mph Saturday, drafting an SUV on a wildly unique, fixed-gear bicycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah in the United States.
The 147mph marked a new Woman's Paced Bicycle Land Speed Record, a style of extreme speed that dates back to 1899 when Charles "Mile-a-Minute" Murphy drafted a train on a bike, with sheets of plywood laid down between the rails the tracks for a riding surface. Murphy completed a mile in 57.8 seconds, according to newspapers at the time.
Ah yes, who could forget old man "Mile-a-Minute?" Even though I was but a schoolboy and still in short pants in '99, I remember it like it was yesterday. And it wasn't just any train, either. It was a Long Island Rail Road train:
(PDF)He'd have gone even faster if he hadn't had to change at Jamaica.*
*[That's a little Long Island Railroad humor for you.]
Murphy, by the way, totally invented the concept of "aero" and DON'T YOU FORGET IT:
He also had an onion on his belt, which was the style at the time, and it's inspiring when you consider that we owe some of the greatest advances of modern civilization to the exploits of these brave and visionary proto-Freds.
Anyway, here's Denise Mueller's bike, which I suppose is officially the World's Fastest Fixie:
The bike is a fixed gear; there is no coasting or shifting for Mueller, who must be towed up to speed with the gigantic gear. "We are trying to get up to speed as fast as possible in the first mile before I drop the tow," Mueller told BikeRadar. "Then we have until mile three to get up to ultimate speed. Between mile markers three and four is where I am being timed."
When Mueller is going 140mph, her cadence is 100rpm.
Presumably once she passed mile marker four she threw a leg over the bars and set yet another record for the World's Sweetest Elephant Trunk Skid:
And if you weren't there, here's video of the momentous event:
Here's Mueller pacing behind the car:
Driver checks mirror:
Driver looks ahead:
Driver looks ahead:
Driver swerves around Lot's wife, who like totally came out of nowhere:
And finally driver makes a celebratory gesture when Mueller hits 147mph, which I guess we can now call "Frederica World Record 'Woo-Hoo-Hoo-Hoo!' Speed:"
Though oddly this celebratory gesture evolves into a sort of wanking gesture, though I'm going to assume that's an accident of the safety gloves and not an expression of derision:
And through it all the mummified co-pilot's expression remains inscrutable:
In any case, good for her, though I'd still like to know from Mueller #whatwheelcounterbalancekityourunning.
As for Old Man Murphy, he was a Brooklyn cop, and today his fellow officers honor his memory by arresting cyclists after they're assaulted by racists:
WILLIAMSBURG — A Brooklyn cyclist claims a passenger in a car yelled a racial slur at him, spat on him then punched him in the face — yet he was the one who spent a night in jail.
The passenger was charged with assault and given a ticket for attacking Nikolas Padilla last week — then he was allowed to leave the scene, police said.
But Padilla was charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon for swinging his bike lock — which he denied, saying the lock was fastened round his waist when police arrived — and was taken into custody.
Sounds about right. If a driver tells the police a cyclist swung a bike lock they'll make an arrest, but if a driver tries to hit a cyclist with a minivan they'll let the driver go. As for the cyclist's claim that the lock was still around his waist when the police arrived, there are two explanations for that. The first is that he's got some crazy Pootie Tang-type bike lock-swinging skills, and the second is that either the people in the car or the police (or both) were lying.
Call me a cynic, but I'm inclined to go with the second explanation.
Anyway, here's how it all happened:
"I wasn't looking for any trouble," said the cyclist, who rides competitively with Echelon Cycles. "I was just going about my day."
Padilla said he was stopped at a red light in front of a car that started honking repeatedly at him once it turned green.
Yep, yet another reason not to stop for red lights: it makes drivers crazy. And, in this case, racist and violent:
"This dude just lowered the window. He spit on me twice," Padilla said. "He basically told me to, 'Shut the f--k up, n---er.'"
And here's your assault:
As he approached the car, he said he checked the driver's side mirror, as he's grown accustomed to doing since he's been hit by doors twice before. In the mirror he made eye contact with the female driver right before she swung open the car door, he said.
"She opened the door at me. I had nowhere to go because I was basically trapped," he said.
Padilla rammed into the door and fell to the ground.
The passenger in the car got out and punched him twice in the face, Padilla said. He claimed the driver then backed over the wheel of his bicycle, he said.
So after the driver intentionally doored the cyclists, the police arrested the cyclist and gave the passenger a ticket:
Police arrested Padilla and the car's passenger, Christopher Cicero, the president of SmarterWiki Inc, a company that claims to lobby Wikipedia for its clients.
Cicero was given a Desk Appearance Ticket for punching Padilla, though the arrest report does not mention the claims that he uttered a racial slur or spat on the cyclist.
Sure, it's bulky and you can't conceal it, but there is still no better assault weapon than a car.
By the way, running a company that "lobbies Wikipedia for its clients" sounds like the world's nerdiest e-protection racket. ("You better take that part out about how my client's company poisoned the local groundwater or you're gonna have to deal with some really annoying edits.")
Lastly, here's an article from Bicycling that makes all those flat repair tips and training "hacks" seem like Pulitzer material:
When you've got to go, you've got to go— how to poop on a ride: https://t.co/Dg0YtqKjQv pic.twitter.com/tzEerWIfXA— Bicycling Magazine (@BicyclingMag) September 13, 2016
Wow. I'm looking forward to the review of the new Rapha bib short liner, for the rider who doesn't want to interrupt that "epic" in order to answer the call of nature:
The line between chamois cream and diaper rash cream has always been a thin one, and I think cycling may have finally reached the point where it's disappeared entirely.