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Faster than a speeding jet! Cyclists win Flight vs Bike challenge in California

Average speed of nearly 25mph sees bike riders make it to Long Beach before jet passengers do

Cyclists have won today’s Flight vs Bike challenge, which has just finished in Long Beach, California, coming in a little after noon local time after leaving North Hollywood at 10.50 am.

The challenge pitched cyclists from the Wolfpack Hustle group of riders against a JetBlue airliner – you can read about the background here –with the bike riders averaging 24.8 mph while the airliner suffered a delay in take-off.

From take off to landing, the airliner, a ‘Carmaggeddon’ special laid on by airline JetBlue as a promotion coinciding with major roadworks this weekend, took just 12 minutes to complete the 30-odd miles between Bob Hope airport in Burbank and Long Beach Airport.

As this map of the flightpath shows, despite the brief time it was airborne, the plane didn’t exactly follow the route of the proverbial crow, with its course dictated by the direction of take-off and approach for landing.

The cyclists were given a one-hour head start to reflect the time airline passengers take to transit the airport on domestic flights. They didn’t need it, completing the trip in 1 hour 24 minutes – less than half the time taken to complete the journey by plane and cab.

Others undertook the journey by a combination of metro and walking, taking 10 minutes longer than the cyclists at 1 hour 44, while a rollerblader did the trip in 2 hours 40 minutes, coming home a quarter of an hour before the airliner passenger.

Bicycles of course regularly win commuter challenges, but this is the first one we've come across that involves an airliner - unless you know differently?

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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