Did you know that the current land speed record for a bicycle is 170 miles per hour? In order to achieve this speed, the bicycle must pace behind a motorized vehicle. The bike is towed for the first mile and then released and the rider cycles in the slip stream of a race car for four miles and the last mile is where the speed is measured. The current speed record was set by a woman on the salt flats of Utah. This story, called The World of Speed, was one of the short films as part of the Bicycle Film Festival Chicago #2.
Let me make it clear I have no intention of riding across the country or the world on a bike if there isn’t a support vehicle or a warm bed and flush toilet involved. But it is a guilty pleasure of mine that I like to read about others who have. I can’t really explain my fascination with long distance cycling because it is a hard, uncomfortable way to see the world with a few moments of wonder from the landscape or encounters with kind people interspersed with lots of drudgery, hardship, danger, and bad weather. But learning about those moments of wonder and figuring out the motivation and perseverance of those who take on the challenge of a multiday long distance bike trip is an opportunity to live vicariously.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories