Guy Martin back on the bike for human (and pedal) powered flight record bid (+ video)
Next Sunday's episode 3 of Channel 4 series Speed with Guy Martin sees Isle of Man TT racer attempt to take to the sky under his own steam...

Guy Martin, seen on TV last week setting a new British motor-paced speed record on a bicycle, will be using pedal power again on his Channel 4 series next Sunday as he attempts to set a new world speed record for human-powered flight.

A trailer for the show appeared at the end of last night’s episode 2 of the series, which saw Isle of Man TT racer Martin take to the water of Lake Bala in Wales on a motorbike as he sought to establish a new world record for aquaplaning.

The trailer for the programme, which will air at 8pm on Sunday 12 January, included a brief glimpse of Martin riding a time trial bike encased in a transparent fairing with wings, fuselage and tailplane attached to it.

Channel 4 says:

Guy is on a mission to do the seemingly impossible: fly using muscle power alone. He wants to build the world's fastest human powered aircraft: a plane without an engine that Guy will cycle into the air.

He heads to Southampton University where, on 9 November 1961, Derek Piggot became the first man to fly under his own power.

Forty two years later, Guy is ready to break into the history books with another team from the university. They've got seven months to build a plane from scratch and equip Guy with the skill, power and endurance to pilot it.

He begins by learning how to fly a glider with stunt pilot Guy Westgate. He also visits a velodrome to measure his cycling power output and embarks on a programme of intense physical training.

Finally, Guy is ready to put his plane to the test against the UK's leading engineers in the Icarus Cup, where he sets out to pilot the fastest ever human powered aircraft.

Here’s a video of 2012’s inaugural edition of the Icarus Cup, which is organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society.

A teaser video released by Channel 4 ahead of next week’s programme shows Martin finding out first-hand exactly what a glider is capable of when pushed to its limits, in this case by stunt pilot, Guy Westgate.

While Martin’s record attempt relies solely on his own ability to get his machine airborne, there are close links between cycling and the earliest days of powered flight.

Last month marked 110 years since Orville Wright made the first flight in the Flyer aircraft he had designed and built with his brother, Wilbur.

In 1892, the brothers had established their own bicycle sales and repair shop, launching their own brand in 1896. They used the profits generated by the business to fund their experiments in flight.

While there are arguments over whether the brothers were the first to successfully get a powered aircraft off the ground, they are credited with making the breakthrough in developing the three-axis control system still used in fixed-wing aircraft today.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


antonio [1091 posts] 1 year ago

There's a lesson for all in Guy's cycling attempts, after being judged as being 'average' by the fitness boffins and being told no way would he achieve 100 mph, he trained and did it. He proved once and for all that with regular and specific training most people can perform better than they ever thought they could. Guy is obviously of the same breed as O'Bree!

Paul J [829 posts] 1 year ago

Antonio: That lesson being they'd have pushed the record a good bit higher if they'd used a fitter cyclist?  1

Flying Scot [908 posts] 1 year ago
Paul J wrote:

Antonio: That lesson being they'd have pushed the record a good bit higher if they'd used a fitter cyclist?  1

Absolutely, a pro cyclist would have brought home that record.