Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mile A Minute

My friend Nelson who surfs a website called "Find a Grave" came up to me the other day to tell me that it was the anniversary of a cyclist called "Mile A Minute Murphy" and that this person had ridden his bike at 60 miles per hour back in the old days of the 18 somethings.

Mr. Murphy attained this speed pedaling behind a train - at that time, the fastest moving machine was a locomotive.  A special platform was built on the back of a railway car to hold the officials who would record the feat and this special construction would also create a vacuum for Mr. Murphy to ride inside.

Maybe I don't understand all the scientific principles involved but it seems to me that Mile A Minute Murphy was drafting the train and that was how he was able, on what appears to have been a fixed gear bike, to achieve such a great speed.
Roy's photo of me climbing Anarchist Mtn.

The fastest I've gone is 50 km. per hour which translates to half of what Monsieur Murphy accomplished so long ago.  It pales in comparison - however that speed for me had "pucker-factor".  My friend Roy and I had spent the whole day climbing Anarchist Mountain and now we were at the long downhill switchback that leads to Rock Creek, B.C.  I prepared by unzipping my cycling jacket so that it would act as a parachute (just like the drag racers) and slow me down.  My concern was that due to fatigue, I would make a misjudgment and have a high speed crash.  Roy - nervy guy that he is raced down the hill and hit at least 60 km. an hour.  My other cycling friend Perry tells me of a time he hit 70 km. and hour which translates to too fast for me!


  1. I'm pretty timid heading down long, steep hills myself.

    Motor-paced cycling used to a more common thing.You may find the following article interesting. It tells the tale of Jose Meiffret and his successful attempt to cycle at 127 mph.

    And there is a picture of the bike in question here:

  2. That front gear is incredible! What an amazing feat!

  3. Thought you might the following to be of interest.

    Wind drag is a square factor, which is why it's difficult to achieve insanely high speeds on a bicycle without a wind block. Risking life and limb, I've hit 74KM/H on what seemed to be a steep hill that never ended. This was off of an Island at least twice removed from the coast of British Columbia. I was not pedaling as that would have slowed me down due to the aerodynamics of the situation. I was tucked and as aero as my loaded touring bike allowed me to be, likely with straps flailing in the wind. Likely approached terminal velocity for that ratio of surface area to downward force provided by gravity.

    There's an association called the Human Powered Vehicle Association that has people ride 'bicycles' with full-wind fairings. 90.6KM/H is the current 1 hr. record without assistance achieved with a recumbent with minimal frontal area and full wind-fairings. 200M record is 130KM/H. Anyway, neat post! And cool chainwheel!