A police officer who helped make Camden’s streets safer for cyclists has smashed the ‘Side to Side’ record for riding the width of Great Britain from Pembroke in Wales to Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast.
Nick Clarke, a sergeant with the Metropolitan Police Service, undertook his record-breaking ride last Thursday 4 October, covering the approximately 350-mile route in 15 hours and 25 minutes dead.
In doing so, he knocked almost an hour and a half off the existing record of 16 hours 51 minutes and 56 seconds, which had stood for 15 years.
Clarke, who rides for Hertfordshire-based Lovelo Cinelli RT stopped for a total of just 18 minutes during his ride, in which he had two support vehicles, one carrying Road Records Association President Audrey Hughes.
He is the second cyclist based in Berkhamsted to have broken one of British cycling’s main distance records in recent weeks, with Mike Broadwith setting a new record for riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats in June.
In July the pair finished second and third, respectively, in the National 24 hour Time Trial Championships .
Clarke said “It’s utterly amazing, the pressure is so very different to a Time Trial, it is not about where you come, it is simply succeed or fail, and with everyone at the side of the road you pass, it pushes you on more, knowing so many people are watching and rooting for you.
“I cannot wait to be that person willing on someone to try and take the record lower; Mike Broadwith, my friend, put the seed in my head when he started to plan for LEJOG and it was a great end to the season after also podiuming in the National 24 hour TT this year.
He added: “Everyone that helped was fantastic, the crew, and my coach Mark Powell who traipsed all the way from Birmingham, people are so willing to help it is so touching, it was really very special.”
We’ve featured Clarke on road.cc twice before as a result of his work with the Metropolitan Police in the London Borough of Camden.
In January last year, he said that officers in Primrose Hill would no longer penalise cyclists seen riding on the pavement, and would focus instead on the reasons they might not feel safe riding on the road.
The previous year, under his own initiative he trialled a scheme targeting drivers who overtake cyclists without giving sufficient room after learning of the award-winning close pass operation from West Midlands Street.
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.