I once rode a Schwinn (!) bicycle down the side of a mountain in the dead of night at an indicated 60 mph. The term “scared spitless,” or something similar, applied.
It’s a feat inconceivable to most sound-minded mortals: This past Sunday, Denise Mueller-Korenek rode a bicycle more than 180 mph — 183.93 to be exact, which is faster than the takeoff speed of an Airbus A340 — and crushed the motor-paced bicycle land speed record.
This was not just any other ride, of course. Mueller-Korenek mounted a specially equipped bike with a massive gear and tethered it to a race car, which then accelerated to 100-plus mph — the velocity necessary for the rider to turn over the cranks on her own volition. Then she unhooked from the car and stayed in the slipstream, smashing the pedals around to hit the highest speed possible under her own power.
Note that term “motor-paced.” There’s no engine on this bike. The race car drags it up to some absurd speed, and then the rider pedals like crazy.
The whole thing took about five miles, Mueller-Korenek, a 45-year-old national champion cyclist from Valley Center, California, told Bicycling. She and her driver Shea Holbrook, a seven-time Pirelli World Challenge winner, already held the Guinness World Record for the fastest female motor-paced time at 147.7 mph, a speed they hit using a specially adapted Range Rover in 2016. (They had hoped for another record-setting attempt that year, but were rained out.)
I am properly awed.