As the creator of Purple Phaze, a geared 36" uni, I wanted to demonstrate it’s capabilities. So today, at age 46 and a rider of 15 months, I went out to the Marymoor Velodrome in my home town of Redmond, WA, and rode 14.278 miles (22.978 km) in one hour. This was on Purple Phaze with a gear ratio of 1.89. The attempt was witnessed by licensed officials of the UCI, and the USCF, as well as a few friends. It will be submitted to Guinness for offcial status (as they are the only ones who recognize the hour and the 24 hour records).
I was averaging just over 15mph, when very near the end I had a severe UPD due to fatigue. It took me many attempts to re-mount and finish. I had been turning laps at under a minute, but that last lap was 3:40 due to the fall, and so diminished my final distance. Nevertheless, I broke the existing hour record of Stefan Gauler, set in 2000, of 13.231 miles.
By doing this, I urge and encourage others to make an attempt to push this record further up where it really ought to be.
I wish to thank my wife, Suzanne Ross, my machinist, Aaron Anderson (who also worked on Sem’s world’s tallest uni), and the entire Seattle gang who inspired me to be the best rider I can be!!
Cool unicycle! The idea of a 1.89:1 ratio is quite exciting. I was fortunate enough to ride Harper’s geared 24" uni (1.5:1, so it rode like a Coker). The others in my club (NYUC) who got to try it out always talk about the idea of gearing a 36" wheel. It seems crazy – so fast!
It looks like you have a small chain running to a tiny axle just below the regular spot for the Coker’s axle. Or is that just my imagination?
As for the record, I believe that Guiness Book people only decided to accept records for one-hour distance based on an ungeared 24" unicycle wheel. Achieving 14 miles on a 24" ungeared uni seems impossible to me. If Guiness decided to allow larger wheels OR geared unis (or both), that would be fine with me, but undoubtedly the record would be much higher (and more dangerous – imagine riding Purple Haze 25 mph for an hour without a UPD! Imagine a 25-mph UPD!!!).
My personal best was riding my regular Coker about 16 miles in an hour during the 2001 Unithon. I know that Christian Hoverath could probably cover something sick like 22 miles in a full hour on an ungeared Coker. In 2003, he and I spoke about the idea of him going for the 24-hour distance record, but I’m not aware if he’s pursuing it.
I’d love to try out the Purple Haze if you plan to bring it to the uni convention!!!
Fortunately the 1 hour record, 100 mile record and 24 hour record are not locked in that old rule restricting racing to a 24 inch wheel and 125 mm cranks. The previous 1 hour record recorded by Guinness was on a 28" uni. The current 100 mile record was done on a custom 42 inch rickshaw wheel uni. The 24 hour record was done on a Coker.
The 100 meter record is restricted to the 24 inch wheel and 125 mm cranks. And that record is about maxed out for that given configuration.
The current 1 hour record can go faster, and should go faster. But someone has to step up and do it. It’s still very much the rider and not the magic of technology. The geared uni gives you a larger effective wheel diameter, but the rider still has to ride it and it still balances like a unicycle and is actually harder to ride than a standard unicycle.
I’m curious to see what kinds of speeds are possible on a unicycle in the 1 hour style time trials. Unicycles can go faster and a 1 hour time trial will push that limit higher. People just gotta do it.
There are restrictions that Guinness has before they’ll recognize the record. Pete and Ken can tell you more. It has to be done on a closed loop course that has been carefully measured. It has to be timed and observed. Pete started from a standing start (no flying start).
The only restriction on Guinness unicycle records have been one human powered wheel. If you don’t like it (jagur), go make an accredited attempt of your own! But please don’t run down my effort…you didn’t give Ken L. any sh*t about his wheel two weeks ago.
Staying on the soapbox here, I also believe that the IUF ought to get their act together and keep all reasonable unicycling records, not just the sprints, but the 10K, the hour, the 100 mile, and the 12 and 24 hour records. Then (and only then) can a governing body impose whatever restrictions they want (Guinness is not, and should not be, our governing body). But, the IUF should keep in mind that the idea here is speed, and shouldn’t limit competition with undue restrictions like crank lengths. Heck, isn’t wheel size itself enough of a restriction already? We need to bring the sporting aspect of unicycling into the 21st century!