Steve Abraham has said that he will make a third attempt on the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance cycled in a year – with his target likely to be the 82,000 miles or more that American rider Amanda Coker is on course to achieve during her current attempt.
Abraham’s first attempt at the record was effectively ended in April last year when he sustained a broken ankle after a moped rider crashed into the back of him in Somerset.
He set out on a fresh attempt four months later but abandoned in January this year, saying “It isn’t working.”
In the meantime, the American Kurt Searvogel broke Tommy Godwin’s record of 75,065 miles, set in 1939 and long considered unbreakable. Guinness World Records has recognised his distance of 76,076 miles as the longest distance ridden under Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA) rules.
Writing on his Strava page, Milton Keynes-based Abraham said: “I've started setting up for another go at the year in 2017.
Still quite a lot to do before I can start but this time I'll start fit instead of having not ridden a bike for 2 months before I set off because of getting everything ready.
“Amanda is doing brilliant and it will most likely be her record of over 82,000 miles I'll be after.”
Coker, aged 24, is also riding under UMCA rules, which are less stringent than those stipulated by Guinness World Records, which forbid drafting and require riders to set off in the morning from the point they stopped the night before.
Starting her attempt in May, she surpassed Billie Fleming’s 1938 record of 29,603.7 miles in just four months and with an average distance of well over 200 miles a day is on course to smash Searvogel’s record with time to spare.
Nottingham-based Swedish national Kajsa Tylen has also surpassed Fleming’s distance this year, and earlier this month reached her goal of 50,000 kilometres for the year. Her ride will finish at 0815 on New Year’s Eve.
Coker is riding laps of a park near Tampa in Florida, which has led some to question whether her attempt is in the ‘spirit’ of the record, but Abraham is quick to defend her.
He wrote: “I don't think she has it as easy as lot of people think. The circuit she rides is known locally as ‘The Windy Woods’, because it isn't that well sheltered from the wind.
“I could easily do a similar amount of climbing to Amanda by staying in the Fens.
“The problem with that is the wind. Any wind over 5mph lowers the speed too much.
He added: “My month record was all about seeing if I thought I could have a go at the year again and from what I did, I think I can. So I’m going for it.”
We’ve asked Abraham for more details about his new attempt at the record.
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.