Guy Martin is no slouch on two wheels – the motorbike racer has been on the Isle of Man TT podium 13 times – so aiming for a speed of 110mph may seem sedate by his standards until you find out he’s doing it on a bicycle for a new Channel 4 series that debuts later this month.
Alongside his racing, Martin works as a truck mechanic but has also been building a career in TV over the past couple of years, including the BBC documentary, The Boat that Guy Built, and the Channel 4 series, How Britain Worked.
His latest venture is a six-part series called Speed with Guy Martin and the opening episode, which goes by the name Britain’s Fastest Cyclist, sees him attempt to break the British motor-paced speed record of 110mph on a specially adapted frame made by Rourke.
The chainset is a crossover drive to get a high gear without using a huge chainring – which is what Tom Donhou used in his Experments in Speed video. It’s a clever set-up, and while we’re not sure of the gearing, we suspect all will be revealed in the show.
We’re not certain what the function of the bit protruding from the front of the frame is; our best guess is it’s in case the bike gets too close to the drafting vehicle and ensures the frame will be the contact point – not the front wheel, which would have disastrous consequences.
Again, the programme should reveal all.
Here’s a film of Dave Le Grys setting the current British and Commonwealth record of 110mph on the M42 motorway in 1986.
The Channel 4 episode guide says:
Guy attempts, with the help of slipstreaming, to break the British record for outright speed on a bicycle: an incredible 110mph. Guy recruits an unlikely team made up of a truck racer, an Olympic gold medallist, a bicycle builder and a design engineer more used to working on next-generation military aircraft.
Together they work out how to modify a 1000-horsepower racing lorry to create a large enough slipstream for Guy to cycle in, and build a unique bicycle gearing system capable of triple-figure speeds.
With help from British Olympic track cyclist Laura Trott, Guy undergoes a relentless training regime to get fit enough for the record attempt.
As he lines up at Pendine Sands in Wales – the scene of Sir Malcolm Campbell's historic land speed record attempts in Bluebird – it is without question the most dangerous thing this Isle of Man TT racer has ever done.
The programme airs on Channel 4 on Sunday 29 December at 8pm. There’s a video here of Martin talking about his new series.
This is our life. Could be worse.
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