Speed kills/thrills?

by OldRidgeback   May 6, 2011  

I see that a lad on in-line skates was clocked at 50mph in Sussex in an area where the limit is, I believe, 30mph. Sussex Safety Partnerships has said it is aware of the incident but will not be taking action as the speed limits are for motor vehicles. So where does this leave cyclists? Does it mean that unless a speed limit is specifically set for cyclists as well as motor vehicles, cyclists can ride as fast as they like? If that's the case, then I reckon some cyclists who have already been stopped might like to challenge any charges.

Years ago a friend and myself were stopped for speeding in a 40mph limit in Scotland on our bicycles, different laws there though. We were told not to do it again, rather than being fined.

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The fastest I've gone is a touch over 50mph down, I think it's called, Clifton Drive just north of Brighton, at the end of the London to Brighton Bike Ride a couple of year ago. I was on an elderly Condor Cadet at the time, with a speedo on the handlebars, and the road had been closed to traffic. It was exhilarating, but I don't think I'll be doing it again in a hurry. After all, I'll be 70 in November!!!

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [72 posts]
6th May 2011 - 22:40

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52.3mph is my known person best Big Grin and that was on a mountain bike! Ive never had a computer on a road bike yet, but, I never took a computer with me to Portugal on my new pinarello so I'm pretty sure I beat it! Especially defending in to Monchique.

David Clark- Competing in the 1st ever Global race, covering 18,000miles in over 20 Countries. 18th February 2012.
While trying to break the following world records at the same time;
- Fastest person to cycle the world
-Youngest person to cycle the wor

posted by David cycling t... [66 posts]
6th May 2011 - 22:51


My wife and I in our 64th year managed to trigger a 30mph sign at a measly 22 mph.

Mixte Rider

posted by adriank999 [72 posts]
7th May 2011 - 6:57

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Cool Clocked 69mph down a newly laid straight mountain road in Lanzarote. Paul lazenby who I was behind reckoned he reached 71mph. both of us agreed how stupid we had been when we safely reached the bottom.

posted by rusty28a [1 posts]
7th May 2011 - 7:58


69mph is insane. Sean Yates was once clocked at 70 once coming off the Galibier (I think), I reckon if that's as fats as Sean can go, that's about as fast as anyone can go Smile

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
7th May 2011 - 9:26

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Down here in NZ I regularly hit 80kph + on a short hill going to work. My max ever is 122kph (76 mph) on a long down hill into Wellington with a fierce tail wind. I've regularly topped 100kph on flat roads behind trucks, with my max on the flat 108kph. And as a side note, when descending or going fast aerodynamics is everything unless drafting vehicle, but heavier people tend to descend faster than lighter people because of a greater mass vs surface area ration.

posted by madcarew [1 posts]
7th May 2011 - 10:31


Well if the old GPS can be believed then I've clocked 86kph..and it wasn't a particularly steep downhill either...but did take a fair bit of pedal mashing...and the tractor driver I overtook was well impressed.. Cool


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posted by The _Kaner [500 posts]
7th May 2011 - 11:28


I like setting speed cameras off; there is one in Hayfield on the descent from Peep O Day. Set at 40mph - can set that off on my mountain bike. The road is fastest before the camera, I'm usually braking to trun into the village by the time I hit the speed camera.

On my road bike - a white van man hung out of his window and told me how impressed he was that I was doing 55mph, my reply "oh I can go a lot faster than that". My cateye cordless tells me I have hit 65mph on that stretch - personally I think Peep O day is faster going down to Chinley.

When you stop and think about it - yes it is stupidly fast, lycra isn't known for its protective proerties is it?

posted by radar [55 posts]
7th May 2011 - 12:01


Wind resistance does count - coming over one of the hills in Arran into a fierce headwind I stopped pedalling on the downhill and was slowed to a stop by a 50mph wind. Other than that 43mph on a mtb on a forest fireroad - which was a bit scary (but strangely smooth)

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posted by richdirector [55 posts]
7th May 2011 - 12:46


Re the OP: no there's no speed limit for bikes so you can't be done for going 40mph in a 30 zone for example. You can however be done for the wonderful "furious cycling" which I think a rider in Cambridge was charged with several years ago. (anyone remember?)

I think if you did that kind of speed through a town and knocked someone over the police would take a fairly dim view of it.

That said, I've had over 50mph plenty of times and just over 60mph on an Alpine descent in France. There were still French roadies coming past me even then, they reckoned that hill was good for about 70mph in places! Surprise

posted by crazy-legs [568 posts]
7th May 2011 - 17:41


I once hit 45mph downhill in Teesdale in a mountainbike (BSO). All was great till i realised there was a sharp right hand bend and the brakes weren't designed for those speeds.

I slowed down enough to go round the bend without ending up in the river Tees.

posted by rokapotamus [19 posts]
7th May 2011 - 18:36

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madcarew wrote:
but heavier people tend to descend faster than lighter people because of a greater mass vs surface area ration.

that explains why i can outpace bigger blokes uphill yet always get caught on the way down.. its a constant yo-yo-ing on a hilly sportive/audax/etc etc

well that and a lack of nerve whilst descending, tend to chicken out round the 35-40mph.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1085 posts]
8th May 2011 - 5:21


Well, what has become obvious to me is that I'm clearly not trying hard enough Blushing

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posted by simonmb [360 posts]
8th May 2011 - 6:06

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The fastest I've been was 47.6mph down the String Road on Arran but that was a national speed limit road so I wasn't braking the limit anyway and even if I was bikes can't be prosecuted. My max last year was 44.4mph (somewhere in the Lammermuirs) I think it was the strength of the wind rather the steepness that made the difference. I've not broken the 40 yet this year though closest Ive been is 39.6mph down the Uquart Cut with a strong tail wind (its a short sharp hill which falls steeply but rises steeply).

Howl Like a Bianchi

HLaB's picture

posted by HLaB [55 posts]
8th May 2011 - 10:55


The fastest I have been was 43 mph on a 14kg mountain bike, coming down a small cliff. I loved the feeling. If the road was straight I could go faster. Problem is how you stop at high speeds...

posted by insane_obsession [6 posts]
8th May 2011 - 15:52

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69.6kph (about 43mph?) during the first 5 miles of the West Riding sportif yesterday. That was downhill, with a tailwind, in a large bunch. I suspect I wasn't going quite that quickly as my computer is from Aldi and I don't think I've got the wheel travel (IE circumference) set right.


posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
8th May 2011 - 16:08


60mph on the decent of the Izoard Nerd

posted by Old Cranky [276 posts]
8th May 2011 - 16:26

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According to my computer, this morning I clocked 47.1 MPH down Trow Hill in Devon!

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posted by Comrade [165 posts]
8th May 2011 - 18:39


All time max is 61mph in the Tour of the Black mountains a couple of years ago, bunny hopped a cattle grid half way down the descent as well which could of gone horribly wrong!!

My club hilly time trial course has a great twisty descent which i stay in the tri bars for, hit 56mph many times on it which I think is an unofficial club record. Had a front puncture descending it in the wet once, continental supersonic went from 170 psi to flat in about two tenths of a second. my bumhole sucked in the saddle and most of the aero seatpost I reckon, probably what helped me stay upright Big Grin

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posted by stuke [329 posts]
8th May 2011 - 19:41


Touched 50mph on the descent into Malaucenne off the Ventoux, and was blown away by two of my team-mates who hit 60+. Scared witless all the way down to the tea-shop and nearly lost it (and myself) at one of the last hairpins.

Timbo13's picture

posted by Timbo13 [272 posts]
8th May 2011 - 20:06

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I think you've got the record so far Rusty, 69mph is impressive. Seems like quite a lot of us have topped 50mph. I remember reading years ago how a (then) cycle speed record was attained with the rider pedalling furiously behind a car with a partial enclosure fitted and designed to deflect airflow and reduce air resistance. The speed record then was 140mph, which was plain nuts on a bicycle with no suspension.


posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
9th May 2011 - 8:00


I see madcarew has 76mph down their in NZ

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
9th May 2011 - 8:43


As a young and foolish 20 year old, I slipstreamed a container lorry into Cambridge at 49mph on my new 531 road bike. It was smooth and stable as a rock.

The truck had a bumper sticker - "If you can't stop, please smile as you go under".

Much fun.

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posted by neildmoss [211 posts]
9th May 2011 - 8:57


Oops, missed that one Tony. Yep, Madcarew is officially the maddest so far with 122kph/76.25mph under the wheels. Any advance on that?


posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
9th May 2011 - 9:35


48mph/76kph down a rough single laned country backroad... terminal velocity at normal pace seems to be around 41mph

posted by hagi [19 posts]
9th May 2011 - 9:56


how about a 107mph faceplant?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
9th May 2011 - 11:16



Looks like the frame gave way at the headstock, needs a redesign methinks. Maybe the bike designer should take a look at the telelever steering system BMW uses on some of its motorcycles. I think a design based on that would allow for a much stronger headstock and give the ncessary suspension travel and steering capabilities.

Main thing is he got out of it (pretty much) in one piece.


posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
9th May 2011 - 11:33


Take great delight in tripping a speed camera on Great Western Road, Glasgow. So far, I've hit 35mph Smile Record is the drop into Lochwinnoch - 45mph. Seriously scared the **** out of a motorist who pulled out in front of me and I had to pull out to pass him. He just shook his head at me in shock at the lights in the village Big Grin

Some of the speeds in the other posts are seriously scarey mind!!!

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posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
10th May 2011 - 11:31


OldRidgeback wrote:
Gravitational effect of being large? Err, gravity affects all bodies the same way and heavier ones don't fall faster.

Bear in mind we are not falling when we are going down a hill....

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [492 posts]
10th May 2011 - 16:18


crazy-legs wrote:
Re the OP: no there's no speed limit for bikes so you can't be done for going 40mph in a 30 zone for example. You can however be done for the wonderful "furious cycling" which I think a rider in Cambridge was charged with several years ago. (anyone remember?)

I think if you did that kind of speed through a town and knocked someone over the police would take a fairly dim view of it.

I think I read more about the "furious cycling" offence in Michael Hutchinson's bookThe Hour. I believe the offence is actually "wanton and furious driving" of a carriage (a bicycle counts as a carriage in law), and you have to have caused bodily harm. The cyclist in question would go out to "train" in full time trial gear in the centre of Cambridge at night around the time the pubs were closing, screaming at people in the road to get out of his way.

EDIT: Or, it may relate to this incident.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1380 posts]
10th May 2011 - 17:23