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Flying Scotsman talks to Channel 4 News

He’s already a living legend and national treasure for his many achievements on the track, but now Graeme Obree is going after the human-powered land speed record on a home-built bike dubbed the Beastie. In this report from Channel 4 news he talks about his demons and motivations.

Graeme Obree twice broke the World Hour Record, amending his bike design as the UCI banned it to try and prevent an unknown upstart from Scotland challenging cycling’s greats.

He walked away from a professional road contract because the team expected him to participate in a doping programe.

In retirement, without the self-medication of racing targets and huge amounts of training, he succumbed to severe depression and attempted to take his own life.

In 2011, Obree came out, explaining that suppressing his gay identity had been a major cause of his depression.

In this interview, Obree talks about what he will personally get out of breaking the 83mph speed record, and how it felt to attempt the Hour Record over 20 years ago. As ever, he’s fascinating.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

6 comments

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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I've met many people who think doping should just be ignored in sport, let them all do it - this man is a great example to say why not. We've all been robbed of the chance to see him perform on cycling's greatest stage, who knows just how many more greats we could have had who's careers have been taken way before even starting that we could have enjoyed watching.

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DrJDog [293 posts] 2 years ago
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If Graeme Obree is thinking "maybe I could have done more with my life" what the hell does that say for the rest of us?

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TeamCC [146 posts] 2 years ago
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and here I've been using my kitchen for cooking when I could have been building bicycles

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SteppenHerring [322 posts] 2 years ago
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I met the man a while back. Talking to him (OK, listening to him) is an intense experience. I'm not sure if "genius" is the right word but the world certainly needs people like him.

Now to watch the video.

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Leviathan [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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Graeme Obree to play Lex Luthor in upcoming Batman Vs Superman pic.

You heard it here first.

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griggers [17 posts] 2 years ago
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You're my hero Graham - you can do it but you might need some faster runners!!