Pete Matthews uses half leg power in charity fund raising effort

The record for the furthest distance covered in one hour has always been considered one of the most prestigious in cycling.

There are currently three versions, two of which are sanctioned by the UCI along with a third which allows recumbent bikes using fairings. There is, however, no record that we know of for riding the hour one-legged... at least until now. Last weekend 67-year old Pete Matthews from the Liverpool Mercury Cycle Club set a mark for the challenge at the Aintree race track, alternating legs to post an unofficial one-legged hour record. His efforts were all to raise money for the Liverpool-based respite centre Zoe's Place.

Pete was British Amateur Road Race champion in 1968 and notched up more than 350 race wins throughout his long career on the road. He recently retained his National Veterans Road Race Championship title for the third year in a row.

A wheel-builder of some repute, Pete has built wheels in the past for the likes of Chris Boardman and Robert Millar.

He said: “As far as I am aware, there is no record for anyone trying it with one leg. I've done a fair bit of training for it but I've always hated time trialling so it's been a real effort. It’s quite demanding to ride with just one leg at maximum effort for a full hour, so I swapped legs every so often making sure only one was being used at a time. Unclipping and re-clipping at speed with a fixed wheel is a skill in itself!"

Pete makes it clear that his was just a one-off unofficial record for charity. "I didn't do it for publicity or to get in any record books. It was just a bit of fun to try and raise money for a great cause."

As for the distance covered, Pete and his team are keeping that a secret until after a guess-the-speed element of the fund-raising effort is concluded.  The result will be revealed this weekend but we are told he averaged over 18mph.


WolfieSmith [1382 posts] 7 years ago

Thanks for the write up Jeff. Anyone wanting to donate money to Zoe's Place in support of Pete's effort can do so on www.justgiving.com/oneleggedpete.

OldRidgeback [2799 posts] 7 years ago

How do you ride a bicycle using one leg only? In the Outsider by Albert Camus a diabled character with only one leg is described as riding a bicycle using his one good leg. There, a literary reference, is that a record?

WolfieSmith [1382 posts] 6 years ago

Riding one legged? You clip in with one leg and keep the other leg resting on a peg sticking out of the back wheel hub. That's how Peter did it. The hardest bit was swapping over legs.

Funnily enough my Grandfather lost his left leg in 1917 to a grenade fragment and still manages to ride a bike. The local blacksmith made a cup for his left pedal that the end of his false leg could fit into and he could still use both sides to push the pedals.

Simon_MacMichael [2502 posts] 6 years ago

Best on quiet, flat roads but riding one-legged is a good way to increase leg strength, three minutes one side, clip back in, then three minutes the other side  3

Saw a chap at Oxford station one time who seemed a pretty serious cyclist judging by the bike, one of his legs amputated above the knee, very high-tech looking metal prosthetic limb with a cycling shoe on the end of it, thought about asking him how he found it but didn't want to intrude. Plus, I had a train to catch.