Fastest Uni Century

Thanks Terry. Yes, my century was solo and unsupported. But my saddle time was still just under 7.5 hours. I’m sure I could go faster if I did a flat course and I was tapered in my training. Not sure if I could surpass 6:44. Maybe, probably not. Not sure I’m up to that much training anyway. I’m ready to get back to riding more muni.

The guy who rode across the US on his Schwinn 24 (many years back) makes a uni century seem like a walk in the park! And that was ungeared, of course.

And to do it on an un geared 36er is all the more impressive. I wonder if the 6:44 time was also on an ungeared 36er. His average speed over 100 miles was more than 15.5 mph! I can’t maintain that speed (on flat) for more than a a minute or two…owing mostly to the fear of falling! But to be able to maintain that speed for 100 miles is mind boggling to me, even on a GEARED 36er!

Actually, my ride was with a geared 36. I tend to cruise around 14 to 15 mph, but there are enough slow downs here and there to bring my average down to closer to 13.5 mph. Uphills in low-gear with 150s tend to be around 8-9 mph. Gentle downhills are around 17-19 mph. I’m sure being on a course where you don’t have to slow down for intersections, underpasses, and such would make for a faster time.

I’ve been riding the geared 36 since August, as I get more time on it, I am getting faster. It sure beats the hell out of spinning 110’s ungeared.:slight_smile:

The record was set on a cycle path of some sort; according to Foss he had to make a U-turn at each end of the path, but did not have to stop anywhere.

That makes it a mental as well as a physical feat; I would go nuts going back and forth (or around a track) for 6+ hours.

Takayuki did it on an ungeared 43" wheel according to John Foss’ post about it (linked in tholub’s post). I did know this, but reading it again now as surprised to find it wasn’t a solid-rubber tire as I’d assumed. John says it was also a pneumatic tire - high tech for that time! I thought I was going to be the first to do a >36" air tire (assuming I can even pull it off). Oh well!

Look for things to be happening in uni centuries next year. I’m planning on an attempt at the record (on a track, not road) next spring, and I know of at least one more distance-record-holding unicyclists eyeing it for next summer (and they will probably blow my attempt out of the water, record-breaking or not).

I haven’t hit that kind of distance at race-pace yet, but my best time was riding the 180km trip home for thanksgiving in about 8:15 a couple weeks ago. Ungeared 36, 100mm cranks. I wasn’t tracking either distance nor time closely enough to be really confident in claiming the the 21.8km/hr (13.5mph) average, but I was pretty happy with that ride!

Nice work Andy! My fastest time was 6 hours and 55 minutes of riding time; however the total elapsed time with stops was 9 hours and 45 minutes. My goal was to beat the 10 hour mark. I took fairly long rest stops and also had to replace a broken spoke. I was also on a geared 36 with 150 mm cranks.

Wow that means you were averaging about 15mph! I had three broken spokes during my century–each one at a different time–and lost even more time waiting for someone to come along with the right size spoke wrench, as I had brought the wrong one! Plus I was filming my ride while in the saddle so I wouldn’t have to stop. Hopefully my next attempt will go smoother and i will concentrate on just the ride with no filming. I will be happy to have a total time of under 10 hours.

This is true. For my own century ride, it was just me and my Garmin 305. That’s enough proof to satisfy me, but you need to be a lot more anal for Guinness!

Which one? Amazingly, there have been lots. Some I barely heard about and others that got a lot of press. Ow, all those callused crotches! Even Jock Young (Muni-riding dad who came to the early MUni Weekends) did a solo cross-country ride on a MUni-sized wheel a couple of years back…

Congratulations on that! Terry vocalized what I only thought about when I read your post–it’s time for someone to take a serious stab at the old record! But note that the clock doesn’t stop on those types of records, all that counts is start and end times.

I guess that’s why Takayuki Koike never stopped. Insane. As was his average speed, when you think about it. If my math is correct, 100 miles in 6.75 hours gets you about 14.8 mph. Average. That’s frikkin’ impressive on a geared 36", let alone an even heavier, ungeared 43" wheel. It’s enough to make me question the info.

Guinness is not above making mistakes, or being supplied with inaccurate information. Steve McPeak’s 100’ unicycle ride of 1980 is pretty obviously not being balanced by the rider. This was broadcast nationwide on TV at the time, but the Guinness people somehow were not critical on that detail.

What about the Takayuki record? Well, first of all, honor is everything in Japan. I have no reason to doubt any of the people who relayed the story to me, which is why I still tend to believe it’s amazing but true. The event was a race, with two major contenders. The other guy was Floyd Beattie from Ohio, who had previously held the record. He was around 30, and riding either a 40" or 45" Unicycle Factory hard-tire (also heavy) big wheel. He was less than 45 minutes behind Takayuki (I have it somewhere, but I don’t know where). This suggests the course was fast, and obviously that both of them were very well-trained for the event.

The story of the event was relayed to me at a dinner in November, 1987. I was in Japan doing shows, and a group of unicyclists took me out to a Chinese restaurant (don’t order the 100-year old egg). IUF Founder Jack Halpern was there, along with the Koike brothers and their dad, who was the leader of a large and influential unicycle club (Kanagawa). I can’t remember if the heads of the JUA were there (Masuda and Sugano), but in any case, it was a group of bigwigs, several of which were present at the race. This is also where Takayuki told me the whole ride was done with zero dismounts, which to me is almost as amazing as his time. Nobody denied this either. I believe it.

Digging back in my head, I think they were on a section of flat bike path that was at least 6 miles (or km) each way, but required a tight U-turn at least at one end. I think the other end had a bigger space to turn around.

Don’t get the wrong idea about those wheels; I’m sure my 45" wheel with wheelchair rubber tire and steel, Schwinn tubular rim is lighter than those industrial-strength rickshaw wheels. Those things were made to last years under constant industrial use. A tire of equal thickness to a 36", only bigger, and a steel rim that would last a hundred years. Heavy! Maybe not so bad on the flat, but rotating weight is rotating weight under even the best conditions. I’ve ridden those wheels (not recently). Smooth but heavy. I wish I knew the crank arm length…

What I need is a nice smooth 3% downhill grade that goes on for about 100 miles. Does anyone have any locations to suggest? Oh yes, a mild tailwind would be helpful. :roll_eyes:

Even if I had all of the advantages, I still don’t see that 100 mile record in jeopardy.


I did the math incorrectly, resulting in my earlier error of 15.53 mph as the average speed. But 14.8 mph is still insanely fast for going non-stop for 100 miles! I don’t think I could do that for even ONE mile! (But then again, I’m not 18 either!)

Edit. I found an online calculator that confirms your time.


That would not count for the record.

The IUF have drafted a set of criteria for the 100 mile record (and others). If you are interested in setting an IUF World Record, then please email me.

It is set to be formalised at the next IUF exec meeting.

Going back to the thread topic, my fastest is 7hrs 43min (total time- I don’t think riding time is relevant). That was on a course with 1600m of climbing, ungeared 36"/110mm.

Wow. Someone get this man a geared diet-Coker! :smiley:

Geoff reminds us that Chuck has bashed out a pretty awesome century a few years ago, which I had forgotten about. He did a geared 36" road century in 6h57m - 7h02m (he didn’t time the non-riding time, so it is an estimate, but still plenty faster than anyone else I know about).

My best one was 8h05m on moderately hilly roads, with ungeared 36/102mm. I did the first 100 miles of my 24 hour track record in 7h05m (ungeared, 36/90mm) but that doesn’t really compare well against rides on real roads with hills etc. - I am more interested by real ‘going for a ride’ centuries… but official records for IUF or Guinness have to be on measured tracks for good reasons.

I am mulling over having a crack at the official (IUF + Guinness) 100 mile record next year. It’ll be on a geared 36 and a nice large track. I have no idea what time to aim at yet.


I’d aim at 6:40 and work my way down from there. :smiley:

Some of you might find this amusing, but when I ordered my 45" big wheel in 1981, I had thoughts of tackling the 100 mile record that existed at that time. It was 10:37 and was set by Cathy Fox (yes, a woman!) in 1980 on a 40" Tom Miller big wheel. So I ordered a 45" wheel.

But it took Tom a whole year to complete the order, by which time the record had dropped to a much faster 9:20 and I was discouraged. Plus you have to remember we’re talking Schwinn seats, no handlebar technology, nobody was wearing bike shorts yet, etc. :slight_smile:

So it only took me another 30 years to get to my first century ride…

I’m still trying to find a nice track before I decide to go all out and train a bunch. I have yet to find anything nice in the area. I’ve been interested in trying to set the record for a while…

I’m making my unicycle century attempt this Sunday (finally!) morning on the Chief Ladiga - Silver Comet paved rail-trail (bike path). Going to ride from Piedmont, AL to just past Hiram Rd trail head and back to Cedartown, GA. I will be riding my KH24 GUni as that is what I’ve been training with and riding many long rides in over the past several months. I really like the setup. My only goal is to finish, but I do think I should be able to go under 10 hours based on a recent 50 mile road ride that was on a much hotter day and on much hillier terrain. I’ll be sure to post my result after the fact. The mileages on the trail are well measured but I’ll be using a combination of GPS and other tracking software to make sure I get my 100 miles in! I’ll have my wife and some friends running some crew support as well.

That’s the killer for record setting. I have spent countless hours of my life on Google Maps looking at aerial photos of places wondering where I could find a good big track. A 400m sports track loop is OK, and I used one last time, but it does kill your speed on every turn as it is so tight at speed.

My eye is currently on a horse-racing track in my home town (a massive factor is being able to practice on the actual track to establish that it will really work), which has an access road loop inside the grass circuit, It is similar shape to a running track oval but with 2km per lap. So it has long, long straights and very gentle corner curvature. If you could get access to an airfield runway that would be awesome for it.

Good luck finding your perfect track. There are plenty of records out there which are due being bettered!