One hour Guinness distance record attempt

Last Sunday, Zach Warren made an attempt at breaking the Guinness one-hour distance record on a unicycle. The attempt failed, due to a mechanical problem:

33 minutes into the ride, 3 minutes ahead of world record pace (averaging between 16-17 mph), he took a spill from atop the wheel and a bolt connecting the hub to the fork snapped off. Took 5 minutes to temporarily fix the problem, putting him two minutes behind world record pace. The wheel, still loose, flip-flopped back and forth in the fork – a loose wheel doth a nervous rider make! Zach pedalled like a banchee but couldn’t catch up.

Zach feels, however, that the world record is within reach for the next trial - he’s not yet done with this.

On the pictures you see Zach revving up on the long stretch, and (in the second post) at the turning point. The unicycle is a 45" custom machine, built by Sem Abrahams.

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I like seeing attempts at the current 1 hour record. It is certainly within reach and needs to be bettered to advance the sport. The current crop of geared unicycles like the Schlumpf and Pete Perron’s Purple Phaze make the record well within reach of the better riders.

I hope he has better luck on the next attempt and is able to beat the record.

Was it Pete Perron’s record from last year that he was trying to beat, or was that one not official?

It sucks that he failed because of a broken uni, not because he wasn’t fast enough. That doesn’t look like a particularly stong unicycle, but I suppose it wouldn’t be it it was built for speed alone.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before he can organise another attempt at the record!

No longer a question of if Zach will break the record, it’s a question of by-how-much. I’d say it will be around the 27-28km mark.

What a beautiful machine.

I worked hard at my own hour record on a Coker a couple of years back. Pedalling absolutely flat out for an hour on a uni is hard work requiring commitment and concentration. To fall at maximum speed in those conditions is worse than most other UPDs, because you have no margin for error, and BANG! it just happens.

My record (Coker, 150 mm cranks, 1 hour) was 20.83 km.

Yes, that’s the one. Pete Perron broke the Guinness World Record for distance in One Hour on a unicycle on February 26, 2005, using his geared 36" (I think it was called either ‘purple phaze’ or ‘outta phaze’ by that time). The distance was 14.278 miles.

what is involved in getting such a thing set up to be official? i know a rider who could possibly give the hour and 100 mile records a go. how would we go about making his efforts official?

World records

Absolutely everthing you need to know is on the guiness web site-
in particular how to make a record attempt (more details are at)

Except what standards Guinness wants for the record attempt.

General standards would be similar to the UCI one hour time trial methods for bicycles. A short closed course in a loop. Carefully measured. You ride for an hour. When the hour ends you complete the lap you were on. The distance on the last lap is then calculated by extrapolation assuming a constant speed for that lap. Add up all the laps. Add on the calculated distance for the last lap and you have your result. An experienced track (UCI) official to officiate would be a bonus.

I thought Pete Perron’s record was broken.

okay. thanks guys. i might start planning this. not that i’m that fast but i have a friend.

Surely some mistake. That’s only 10.25% better than my best ever (assuming my measuring equipment to be accurate). I am not and never was that good.

That thing is a beast…45 inches…geez
What’s the biggest unicycle ever created and ridden?

What size are those cranks?? They look super short; like maybe only 89’s or less!

I am absolutely amazed by the possibility of someone riding 27+ km in an hour. The concentration required is certainly beyond me. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to ‘run-out’ a UPD at that kind of speed when your too tired and too focused. I hope he can repeat his attempt and make his goal.

That’s cos the previous record was done on a 26", so was there for the breaking by anyone who bothered to organise the timing, rather than a hard challenge for a fast rider on a 36", let alone on a geared 36". Pete was obviously the first person to do so, followed by whoever did the 15.87 mile record, who must be a pretty nifty rider, given they presumably weren’t geared up.


Hmm, I think it would be fair to separate the record into geared and ungeared.

If I recall, the record was not set on a 26. The original Guiness record was done on a 24" and was quite impressive. Last year, the record was broken by someone who simply followed the Guiness rules and regs and rode a geared Coker fairly quick. But the record that he set was something several of us had already accomplished earlier-- just not officially. I’ve ridden over 16 miles in an hour on an ungeared Coker, and I could easily break that record now on my 29" Schlumpf guni. But taking the time and organization (and finding the velodrome) to break the record is sth I simply can’t do now and don’t care enough about.

I think the realistic goal for this record will be set by a fully recovered Ken Looi when he gets on his updated Schlumpf and rides 20 miles in an hour. That’s my guess for now.

monkey man i believe the largest wheel eevr built and ridden was the 48incher of sem abrahms.