Unicycle top speed

>Speaking of speed, I wonder. Is the world’s top uni speed 52 kmh ridden by
>Floyd crandal on his Big Wheel? John Foss should know the answer to that.
>Perjhaps we need (or do we have) and an ftpable file with uni records?

>Regards, Jack Halpern

I’m sorry, but I can’t put my hands on my information, but the only ‘unlimited’
speed record for unicycles was one set by Floyd BEATTIE in 1986. He rode his
brand new 45" big wheel through a 200 meter speed trap set up by the IHPVA
(International Human Powered Vehicle Association) at one of their meets in
Indianapolis. His speed was equal to about 22 or 23 mph. Even at the time, he
said with practice he could do better. Any takers?

John Foss, president International Unicycling Federation unicycle@aol.com

Re: Unicycle top speed

— Forwarded mail from Julian Orbach <julian@cs.uq.oz.au>
>> sure I was going over 30 mph, but didn’t have measure other than pedal
>> cadence which probably exceeded 200 full cycles per second.

>Reality check!

>200 cycles per second on a 56" radius wheel (ignoring the width of the
>tyre/tire which would make the speed higher, and slippage which would make the
>speed lower) gives a speed of :

56" would probably be diameter not radius, is that right?

>- did you mean 200 full cycles per minute? No, that still leads to 66
> miles/hour.

dividing by two gives 33mph, consistent with the original guess of > 30mph.

>-- Julian Orbach (julian@cs.uq.oz.au)

Sounds kind of scary to me. I’ll stick with two wheels for anything over about
10 or 15mph. (Two wheels generally come with brakes also.)

Alec

Alec Bateman Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute batema@rpi.edu

Re: Unicycle top speed

John Foss writes:

>I’m sorry, but I can’t put my hands on my information, but the only ‘unlimited’
>speed record for unicycles was one set by Floyd BEATTIE in 1986. He rode his
>brand new 45" big wheel through a 200 meter speed trap set up by the IHPVA
>(International Human Powered Vehicle Association) at one of their meets in
>Indianapolis. His speed was equal to about 22 or 23 mph. Even at the time, he
>said with practice he could do better. Any takers?

Are you sure, John? That sounds very slow for a running start on a 45". I
remember going so fast on my 56" wheel, there wasn’t enough time between pedal
strokes to change foot pressure to slow down. I’m sure I was going over 30 mph,
but didn’t have measure other than pedal cadence which probably exceeded 200
full cycles per second.

However, I was going down a slight incline with the wind. What I vividly
remember though, is being very scared I’d wipe out before I reached the bottom
of the hill. Going down that slight slope, I was barely able to avoid further
acceleration!

Maybe I’ll put on full protective gear and give it a go this summer with a stop
watch. I’m sure many others could go far faster though.

Stay on Top, at goal 55 mph,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com

Re: Unicycle top speed

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com> originally wrote:

>Are you sure, John? That sounds very slow for a running start on a 45". I
>remember going so fast on my 56" wheel, there wasn’t enough time between pedal
>strokes to change foot pressure to slow down. I’m sure I was going over 30 mph,
>but didn’t have measure other than pedal cadence which probably exceeded 200
>full cycles per second.
^^^^^^^ minute.

Sorry, it should have been “minute”, not “second”.

>— Forwarded mail from Julian Orbach <julian@cs.uq.oz.au>

>>200 cycles per second on a 56" radius wheel (ignoring the width of the
>>tyre/tire which would make the speed higher, and slippage which would make the
>>speed lower) gives a speed of :

Sorry. I didn’t say radius or diameter, but assumed diameter. So the corrected
calculations should be (Sorry to cause this trouble, by not doing them in my
first post; thanks to Julian for pushing me to this):

200 cycles/minute * (pi * 56") inches/cycle
= 35168 inches/minute [using 3.14 for pi] 2930.67 feet/minute .55550
= miles/minute
= 33.330 miles/hour [53.328 kilometers/hour using 1 mile = 1.6 km]

Alec Bateman <batema@rpi.edu> writes:

>56" would probably be diameter not radius, is that right?

>>- did you mean 200 full cycles per minute? No, that still leads to 66
>> miles/hour.

>dividing by two gives 33mph, consistent with the original guess of > 30mph.

You’re right, Alec!


You should have heard the singing of the 80 spokes of my 56" wheel and the tire
against the smooth, oily tar road at 30+ mph. It’s strange, the things one
remembers about the times one’s life was in mortal danger.

Any other mortal danger stories, or even dare devil stories? Speed is one common
aspect, height is another. Hint, …, hint.

Stay on Top, out of danger,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com

Re: Unicycle top speed

In a message to the list, Ken Fuchs wrote:

> Are you sure, John? That sounds very slow for a running start on a 45". I
> remember going so fast on my 56" wheel, there wasn’t enough time between pedal
> strokes to change foot pressure to slow down. I’m sure I was going over 30
> mph, but didn’t have measure other than pedal cadence which probably exceeded
> 200 full cycles per second.

Reality check!

200 cycles per second on a 56" radius wheel (ignoring the width of the tyre/tire
which would make the speed higher, and slippage which would make the speed
lower) gives a speed of :

200 cycles/second * (2 * pi * 56") inches/cycle
= 70381 inches/second
= 1.11 miles/second (1 mile = 63360 inches) just under 4000 miles/hour
= (6400 km/h)

I have tried to work out your mistake :

  • did you mean 200 full cycles per minute? No, that still leads to 66
    miles/hour.

  • did you mean 20 full cycles per secons? No - 400 miles/hour.

  • Do you REALLY have a 56" wheel? It sounds very large for a unicycle, but I
    have learnt to be credulous when it comes to unicyclers and their machines.

Whatever the figure, I am sure it is far more impressive than my meagre rolls on
my 20" wheel!


On a more general note: I got kicked out of the Myer Centre in Brisbane on the
weekend. (For those unfamiliar with it, the Myer Centre is a multi-storey
shopping arcade with a large department store in the centre. I was wheeling my
unicycle (note: NOT riding) in the arcade area and was asked to leave by a
security guard. I volunteered to carry it, but the security guard’s boss (over
the walkie-talkie) told him chapter and verse of all the “public nuisance” rules
I was breaking.

– Julian Orbach (julian@cs.uq.oz.au) (Seeking sponsors for the Juvenile
Diabetes Foundation’s 5km “Walk for the Cure” which I plan to enter on a
unicycle.)