Some of cycling’s distance/speed records are forever out of reach, while others look attainable but keep defeating even the most determined efforts. One record that does look doable if you’re merely almost superhuman rather than an actual mutant is the record for the most distance covered in seven days, and that’s what Richmond bike mechanic Bruce Berkeley is currently taking a crack at.
Berkeley has been told by Guinness that he needs to crack the 2,800km mark to take the record (more of that in a moment) and after his first day he’s on track with 445km behind him. If he keeps that up he’ll smash it out of the park with 3,115km.
A former elite racer, Berkeley regularly manages to push out monster mileage weeks on the bike around his work as a bike mechanic. He’s built up something of a following on Strava and that’s given him the confidence to have a crack at some long-distance records. So putting work on hold for a week, the seven day distance record is the first attempt in a series of future record efforts.
He is going to have to keep up his current, tough pace to be sure of landing the record. The closest thing we can find to an official seven-day record is Pat Hawkins’ 1940 ride of 2,489.3km.
However, other riders can justly claim to have beaten that already. In breaking the record for Land’s End to John O'Groats and back in 2010, Ben Rockett rode 1,880 miles (3,025km) in 141 hours, 8 minutes.
More recently, Mike Hall covered 1,888.81 miles (3,039.7km) in the first 6 days 23 hours 46 minutes of the Trans Am Bike Race - which is still underway.
But the daddies of covering stupendous distances in just over a week are the riders of Race Across America (RAAM). This year’s winner, Christophe Strasser, covered 4,860km in 7 days 15 hours 56 minutes and while we don’t have a breakdown of his times, he must have set a seven-day record on his way to smashing the RAAM record out of the park.
Guinness sets its own rules and has historically looked askance at records that involve long periods without sleep, as is the case in RAAM, so it might not consider Strasser’s ride meets its parameters.
Bruce Berkely is being supported by Canyon Bikes, Sportful, Continental, Noble Wheels, Northwave, i-Ride, Strava and G!ro Cafe. You can follow his progress on Strava, and on Twitter using the hashtag #GOBRUCE.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.