# 26mph on a Coker?

Here are some notes and stats associated with riding a Coker at 26mph:

A cadence of 116 (116 revs/min) is about 12mph. To go 13mph, up that
another 10% for a cadence of about 128. Now, to hit 26mph, just double
that last cadence: 256 revolutions per minute!

If that’s hard to relate to, 26mph is basically like pedaling a Coker at 4
revs per second.

Perhaps the rider who posted this speed (I’ve since chucked the e-mail)
would say that this speed was just momentary, but in order to hit 26, you
would have to be able to keep up 20mph for awhile before suddenly
accelerating to 26. And then there is the deceleration problem.

Speaking of problems, falling (esp with no protection) at that speed would
be nigh on fatal. The humans who can run that speed all have numbers on
their back and can be found passing batons to one another at the Olympics.

There is only one way I can envision someone hitting 26mph on a Coker, and
that is off a small cliff. Not counting air resistance, one would hit this
speed from a drop of about 38’ (a fall lasting one second). But that would
be hard to maintain on account of the rider being dead.

In other words, I don’t think anyone can hit 26mph on a Coker, period,
regardless of crank size, hills, tire pressure, etc.

BTW, I went for a ride today and at the end pulled off another 4min mile.
I was chugging, but had there been a better track, I feel I could have
pulled off a 3:45 or even a 3:30. Zipping down a decent hill, I’ve hit
19mph, and my brother has recorded 20mph. But there is a BIG difference bw
20 and 26mph (30% increase).

David Stone

First, I was testing to see how fast I could get going. Seccondly, I
probably wasn’t going 26mph, for more than 8 seconds. Third, since I have
been training to ride in Europe I was/am in good shape. Deceleration isn’t
too much of a problem, where as all you have to do is quit pedaling, well,
I should say quit pushing the pedals, and kind of coast, with feet still
on the pedals, to a slower speed, and then eventually.

Chris Cline MUni-Cow

At 08:13 PM 06/29/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>Here are some notes and stats associated with riding a Coker at 26mph:
>
>A cadence of 116 (116 revs/min) is about 12mph. To go 13mph, up that
>another 10% for a cadence of about 128. Now, to hit 26mph, just double
>that last cadence: 256 revolutions per minute!
>
>If that’s hard to relate to, 26mph is basically like pedaling a Coker at
>4 revs per second.
>
>Perhaps the rider who posted this speed (I’ve since chucked the e-mail)
>would say that this speed was just momentary, but in order to hit 26, you
>would have to be able to keep up 20mph for awhile before suddenly
>accelerating to 26. And then there is the deceleration problem.
>
>Speaking of problems, falling (esp with no protection) at that speed
>would be nigh on fatal. The humans who can run that speed all have
>numbers on their back and can be found passing batons to one another at
>the Olympics.
>
>There is only one way I can envision someone hitting 26mph on a Coker,
>and that is off a small cliff. Not counting air resistance, one would hit
>this speed from a drop of about 38’ (a fall lasting one second). But that
>would be hard to maintain on account of the rider being dead.
>
>In other words, I don’t think anyone can hit 26mph on a Coker, period,
>regardless of crank size, hills, tire pressure, etc.
>
>BTW, I went for a ride today and at the end pulled off another 4min mile.
>I was chugging, but had there been a better track, I feel I could have
>pulled off a 3:45 or even a 3:30. Zipping down a decent hill, I’ve hit
>19mph, and my brother has recorded 20mph. But there is a BIG difference
>bw 20 and 26mph (30% increase).
>
>David Stone

In article <fc.000f4e670052b4b6000f4e670052b4b6.52b53b@packer.edu>, David
Stone <dstone@packer.edu> wrote: ) )Perhaps the rider who posted this
speed (I’ve since chucked the e-mail) )would say that this speed was just
momentary, but in order to hit 26, you )would have to be able to keep up
20mph for awhile before suddenly )accelerating to 26. And then there is
the deceleration problem.

It’s reasonably likely that the rider didn’t actually hit 26mph. Cycle
computers of the reed-switch type (basically everything except Avocet)
have a tendency to register false top speeds; when the bike/uni hits a
bump or is just vibrating a lot, the switch can register extra counts,
which translates into extra wheel revolutions, which translates into false
top speed.

Or maybe he meant 26kph, which is fast but possible. -Tom

According to my cycle computer (cateye mt300) I have reached 26 mph many
times. Granted, it was probably only seconds and I my have been going
downhill, but it felt like 26 mph to me. Yes, the computer can be reading
a false top speed at times, but I think I have truly reached that speed at
some point in the last two years.

unicycle-guy@webtv.net writes:
>According to my cycle computer (cateye mt300) I have reached 26 mph many
>times. Granted, it was probably only seconds and I my have been going
>downhill, but it felt like 26 mph to me. Yes, the computer can be reading
>a false top speed at times, but I think I have truly reached that speed
>at some point in the last two years.
Here is a test which may be impossible: Run a tenth of a mile at top speed
and see how long it takes. Of course, the only viable way to do this is to
find a marker which is independent of the cycle computer. Anyhow, my top
speed on a tenth of a mile is about 21 seconds. Ten of those would be 210
seconds, or a 3:30 mile, which is still well under 20mph (a 3 minute
mile). I would guess that you would have to maintain 20mph for awhile in
order to shoot up another 30% to 26mph.

With the right cranks and really high tire pressure, I bet a good fast
rider could hit 22 or 23, but it’s really hard to imagine doing what it
would take to really hit 26. I’d love to see it tho!

David

> In other words, I don’t think anyone can hit 26mph on a Coker, period,
> regardless of crank size, hills, tire pressure, etc.

David, Do you think we’re all making up these speeds? I used to discount a
lot of my “maxs” to cycle-computer error. But, these speeds were
consistent maxs on the same downhills. The same effort required to go
18-19mph on the flat, can easily produce 22mph on the slightest of
downhills. So why not 25-30mph on a moderate hill? In theory, your legs
should be able to move fast enough to go 40mph if your brain would allow
you to let go on a long/steep downhill. I think it would be more
appropriate to question someones sanity for attempting such speeds. Max
speed isn’t about being fast, just brave/crazy/stupid.(depending on how
fast) -Mark
P.S. My max is 23.8mph (or 177mph if I count computer errors)

>>
>> In other words, I don’t think anyone can hit 26mph on a Coker, period,
>> regardless of crank size, hills, tire pressure, etc.
>
>David, Do you think we’re all making up these speeds? I used to discount
>a lot of my “maxs” to cycle-computer error. But, these speeds were
>consistent maxs on the same downhills. The same effort required to go
>18-19mph on the flat, can easily produce 22mph on the slightest of
>downhills. So why not 25-30mph on a moderate hill? In theory, your legs
>should be able to move fast enough to go 40mph if your brain would allow
>you to let go on a long/steep downhill. I think it would be more
>appropriate to question someones sanity for attempting such speeds. Max
>speed isn’t about being fast, just brave/crazy/stupid.(depending on how
>fast) -Mark
>P.S. My max is 23.8mph (or 177mph if I count computer errors)
Well, it’s probably, as you say, more about brain letting go than legs
just going, but it’s hard to imagine that I am one of the slow ones – I
have never even cracked 20mph on a downhill, let alone on a straightaway.
18mph downhill feels scary (as noted), and there is also the problem of
slowing down from that high point. Of course, I could hope that my cycle
computer is the one that’s off (set too high), but I measured it against a
marked mile on the bike path and several other locations and mine seems
correctly set. There is also the finding that the wiggle causes about 1-3%
miscalculation in speed (that is, a true mile is longer than one
calculated by the wheel size alone), but that can’t account for much.

I am about to get a new cycle computer, so I will need to set it again.
What are the #s people are putting in for wheel size (in mm)? I can’t
recall the one I set but will check it against the ones I see here.

I’d still love to know what people are capable of maintaining over 1/10mi
(or more) and what mile times ppl can generate (I rode another 4th
4-minute mile today). I’d be really impressed with 1/10mi times under 18
seconds (a 3:00mi = 20mph) or mile times under 3:30 (= 17.5mph).

David

> Well, it’s probably, as you say, more about brain letting go than legs
> just going, but it’s hard to imagine that I am one of the slow ones – I
> have never even cracked 20mph on a downhill, let alone on a
> straightaway. 18mph downhill feels scary (as noted), and there is also
> I’d still love to know what people are capable of maintaining over
> 1/10mi (or more) and what mile times ppl can generate (I rode another
> 4th 4-minute mile today). I’d be really impressed with 1/10mi times
> under 18 seconds (a 3:00mi = 20mph) or mile times under 3:30 (=
> 17.5mph).
>
> David

A four minute mile is more impressive than a 20+ max speed.

-Mark

A little perspective:
Last year at NUC, I got a time of 14.49 seconds on the 100 meter race with a 24" wheel and 5" cranks. That time is an average of 15.44 MPH and 213 RPM. If you use that RPM to translate this to a Coker, that would be 22.5 MPH average… The maximum would be a bit higher.

I say again, what is your cyclometer’s wheel setting? The wheel is NOT a
full 36" in diameter. Since Gilby has recorded 24.5mph, I belive 26mph is
certainly possible, but 256 rev/min is an amazing speed. I put on 140mm
cranks last week and have ridden them twice but already set a new speed
record: 18.7mph, and 20 is probably within my reach. But 26 is WOW!

Whatever you do, don’t crash at those speeds!

—Nathan

“The Cline’s” <ncline@eup.k12.mi.us> wrote in message
news:3.0.2.32.20010629232204.007a0ea0@eup.k12.mi.us
> First, I was testing to see how fast I could get going. Seccondly, I
> probably wasn’t going 26mph, for more than 8 seconds. Third, since I
> have been training to ride in Europe I was/am in good shape.
> Deceleration
isn’t
> too much of a problem, where as all you have to do is quit pedaling,
> well, I should say quit pushing the pedals, and kind of coast, with
> feet still
on
> the pedals, to a slower speed, and then eventually.
>
> Chris Cline MUni-Cow
>
> At 08:13 PM 06/29/2001 -0400, you wrote:
> >Here are some notes and stats associated with riding a Coker at 26mph:
> >
> >A cadence of 116 (116 revs/min) is about 12mph. To go 13mph, up that
> >another 10% for a cadence of about 128. Now, to hit 26mph, just double
> >that last cadence: 256 revolutions per minute!
> >
> >If that’s hard to relate to, 26mph is basically like pedaling a
> >Coker at
4
> >revs per second.
> >
> >Perhaps the rider who posted this speed (I’ve since chucked the e-mail)
> >would say that this speed was just momentary, but in order to hit 26,
> >you would have to be able to keep up 20mph for awhile before suddenly
> >accelerating to 26. And then there is the deceleration problem.
> >
> >Speaking of problems, falling (esp with no protection) at that speed
would
> >be nigh on fatal. The humans who can run that speed all have numbers on
> >their back and can be found passing batons to one another at the
Olympics.
> >
> >There is only one way I can envision someone hitting 26mph on a Coker,
and
> >that is off a small cliff. Not counting air resistance, one would hit
this
> >speed from a drop of about 38’ (a fall lasting one second). But that
would
> >be hard to maintain on account of the rider being dead.
> >
> >In other words, I don’t think anyone can hit 26mph on a Coker, period,
> >regardless of crank size, hills, tire pressure, etc.
> >
> >BTW, I went for a ride today and at the end pulled off another 4min
> >mile. I was chugging, but had there been a better track, I feel I could
> >have pulled off a 3:45 or even a 3:30. Zipping down a decent hill, I’ve
> >hit 19mph, and my brother has recorded 20mph. But there is a BIG
> >difference
bw
> >20 and 26mph (30% increase).
> >
> >David Stone

At 12:48 PM 07/02/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>
>> Well, it’s probably, as you say, more about brain letting go than legs
>> just going, but it’s hard to imagine that I am one of the slow ones –
>> I have never even cracked 20mph on a downhill, let alone on a
>> straightaway. 18mph downhill feels scary (as noted), and there is also
>> I’d still love to know what people are capable of maintaining over
>> 1/10mi (or more) and what mile times ppl can generate (I rode another
>> 4th 4-minute mile today). I’d be really impressed with 1/10mi times
>> under 18 seconds (a 3:00mi = 20mph) or mile times under 3:30 (=
>> 17.5mph).
>>
>> David
>
>A four minute mile is more impressive than a 20+ max speed.
>
>-Mark

> A little perspective: Last year at NUC, I got a time of 14.49 seconds
> on the 100 meter race with a 24" wheel and 5" cranks. That time is an
> average of 15.44 MPH and 213 RPM. If you use that RPM to translate this
> to a Coker, that would be 22.5 MPH average… The maximum would be a
> bit higher.

I’ve been reading along with all of this, and now I’m jumping on:

Gilby is offering up his average speed for a 100m sprint on a 24" wheel.
Even including the fact that this speed includes the acceleration time at
the beginning of the race, it would suggest to me a pedaling speed you
would probably not want to duplicate on a big wheel like a Coker.

I’ve been clocked on my big wheel at up to 22mph, and I think I’ve gone a
little faster. But those speeds are scary! Going down at that speed would
definitely “round the corners off” one’s body.

So going downhill I think a speed of 26 is possible, but quite risky. On
level ground, the low twenties are probably more realistic. Even then, the
foot speed is still quite high.

Ride on, big wheelers, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone jfoss@unicycling.com
www.unicycling.com

“Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night” –

>certainly possible, but 256 rev/min is an amazing speed. I put on 140mm

When I had a fixed wheel bike set up with 5" cranks I could hit over 250
rpm before my feet got thrown off the pedals going downhill.

(Thankfully it was a bike so I could coast the rest of the hill before
putting my feet back on.)

The limiting factor was the wobble introduced by my knees and feet
at that cadence. It should easily be possible with a lot of bottle
on a coker.

Lightweight pedals, Alu short cranks and lightweight trainers might help.

Leo White, Cheltenham

On Mon, 2 Jul 2001 19:45:11 +0000 (UTC), Gilby
<forum.member@unicyclist.com> wrote:

>A little perspective: Last year at NUC, I got a time of 14.49 seconds on
>the 100 meter race with a 24" wheel and 5" cranks. That time is an

Gilby,

Am I correcty assuming that this is with a flying start?

## Klaas Bil

“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked
automagically from a database:” “Anthrax, killed, Sudan”

Nathan Hoover wrote…
>I say again, what is your cyclometer’s wheel setting? The wheel is NOT
>a full 36" in diameter. Since Gilby has recorded 24.5mph, I belive
>26mph is certainly possible, but 256 rev/min is an amazing speed. I
>put on 140mm cranks last week and have ridden them twice but already
>set a new speed record: 18.7mph, and 20 is probably within my reach.
>But 26 is WOW!
>
>Whatever you do, don’t crash at those speeds!

All this talk of speed reminds me that more than 20 years ago Floyd
Crandal is reported to have momentarily reached a speed of I believe 50
have such facts at your fingertips. WEhat speed did he it? I think he was
using a 43" big wheel

Stay on top, Jack Halpern Executive Director for International Development
International Unicycling Federation, Inc. Website: http://www.kanji.org

> All this talk of speed reminds me that more than 20 years ago Floyd
> Crandal is reported to have momentarily reached a speed of I believe 50
> have such facts at your fingertips.

Floyd Crandall dominated unicycle racing in the early days of the USA
(through the 70’s). In 1980 he set the first Guinness record for the 100m
sprint (standing start) at 14.89 seconds. He did this on a bent-up old
Schwinn with 5.5" bent cranks that were welded on (the old-school way to
keep them tight).

Also in 1980 Floyd rode with Cathy Fox on a 100 mile speed record attempt.
Floyd had a heavy wagon wheel uni, and didn’t finish the 100. Cathy went
on to break the record, with what must be the standing female record of 10
hours 37 minutes 10 sec.

I am not aware of any Floyd Crandall speed records on a big wheel. I am
very skeptical of anyone going over 25 mph, and 50 kph would be way above
that. Alas, Floyd was only human.

Meanwhile, another Floyd set some speed records at an IHPVA (International
Human Powered Vehicle) convention in 1986 or so. This was Floyd Beattie,
who held the second-to-most-recent 100 mile record. Floyd did their 200m
speed trap, which is where I believe you are timed in both directions and
then the time averaged to cancel out any tailwinds. I don’t remember the
time, but the resultant speed was around 22-23 mph. This was done on a
brand new unicycle, so it is assumed Floyd could have done it faster with
more practice.

Also at that IHPVA event, Floyd set the modern-day hour record for
unicycles, at something like 13.99 miles. He was shooting for 14, but just
before that mark he had to make an unscheduled stop to relieve his stomach
of all its contents. Evidence of maximum effort!

I think those two records were done on 45" wheels.

Somewhere in one of the old USA newsletters (Bill Jenack era, '75-'77),
there is a chart of speed records set by a guy with a big wheel in 1886 or
so, up to one hour. The wheel size was unknown, but this pioneer also did
about 14 miles in an hour.

Also it is reported that Steve McPeak, when he rode across the USA in
1970 or so, did an all-time 24 hour distance record of 186 miles.
According to what I read, he took the next day off! But I don’t know how
solid that data
is. I think it was either in the original Unicycle Book, or also in old

Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone jfoss@unicycling.com
www.unicycling.com

“Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night” –

Nope. It is from a standing start.

john_foss@asinet.com writes:
>Also at that IHPVA event, Floyd set the modern-day hour record for
>unicycles, at something like 13.99 miles. He was shooting for 14, but
>just before that mark he had to make an unscheduled stop to relieve his
>stomach of all its contents. Evidence of maximum effort!
>
>I think those two records were done on 45" wheels.
>
>Somewhere in one of the old USA newsletters (Bill Jenack era, '75-'77),
>there is a chart of speed records set by a guy with a big wheel in 1886
>or so, up to one hour. The wheel size was unknown, but this pioneer also
>did about 14 miles in an hour.

On his Coker w/ 5" cranks my brother was recently able to log maintain
15mph over 21:30 (I tihnk the distance was 5.3mi). I am sure he could
crack the 14mi mark for an hour if given the proper incentive (a good dare
might be enough). I wonder what he thinks. John?

> On his Coker w/ 5" cranks my brother was recently able to log maintain
> 15mph over 21:30 (I tihnk the distance was 5.3mi). I am sure he could
> crack the 14mi mark for an hour if given the proper incentive (a good
> dare might be enough). I wonder what he thinks. John?

No way. I don’t think a fat, heavy Coker wheel could do an hour faster
than a thinner, lighter wheel from the Unicycle Factory did, or even
faster than a guy in 1886 did!

So there. The glove is down. No, I’m not going to race you.

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone jfoss@unicycling.com www.unicycling.com

“Our time is a most precious commodity, but it’s how we spend it that
makes us rich.” - John Foss

This is not a problem on a Coker, I regularly average over 14mph for over
an hour on my regular rides. Only the week before last I went for a little
ride up to Durham from where I live in Stockton; this is also not flat by
any means! It is 19.8 miles and I did it in 1 hour 30 mins… but the ride
did include a stop for a >20mph fall at about the 15 mile mark. The Speedo
clock read an average of 14.35. Also during the MN ride a few years ago I
did one day averaging 13.8mph, it was one of the shorter ones I think
maybe only 55 miles.

What I really want to do is do a >15mph for an hour, I have been close
several times but I don’t think I have ever done it for an hour. This is
partly due to living in a hilly area and that I have not really tried.

The Cokers are good I think up to about 15mph for consistent riding
because they do have a heavy rim and large balloon tyre not inspite of it.
Above that you actually have to start pushing the pedals so I guess that
the weight might be more of a factor there. It will depend, I am sure, on
a play off between balance and strength. The heavy wheel really helps
getting the balance better for going faster.

By the way I am really looking forward to UNICON next year. I hope that
there are quite a few of these faster Coker riders there to make the
marathon more interesting, in China I felt rather alone. Could we make it
longer as well? I don’t warm up till I have done about 5 miles.

Roger

``````                     The UK's Unicycle Source
<a href="http://www.unicycle.uk.com/">http://www.unicycle.uk.com/</a>
``````

----- Original Message ----- From: “John Foss” <jfoss@unicycling.com> To:
“David Stone” <dstone@packer.edu>; <john_foss@asinet.com>;
<jqs9979@nyu.edu>
Cc: <jack@kanji.org>; <nathan@movaris.com>; <unicycling@winternet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 4:37 AM Subject: RE: Distance record
for one hour

> > On his Coker w/ 5" cranks my brother was recently able to log maintain
> > 15mph over 21:30 (I tihnk the distance was 5.3mi). I am sure he could
> > crack the 14mi mark for an hour if given the proper incentive (a good
dare
> > might be enough). I wonder what he thinks. John?
>
> No way. I don’t think a fat, heavy Coker wheel could do an hour faster
than
> a thinner, lighter wheel from the Unicycle Factory did, or even faster
than
> a guy in 1886 did!
>
> So there. The glove is down. No, I’m not going to race you.
>
> John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone jfoss@unicycling.com www.unicycling.com
>
> "Our time is a most precious commodity, but it’s how we spend it that
makes
> us rich." - John Foss