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Whittingham whizzes past at 82.4mph for new world record

Another world best for Canadian recumbent rider

Serial world record breaker Sam Whittingham has broken his own time for the fastest speed achieved in a human-powered vehicle, reaching 82.4mph yesterday during the 10th annual World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada.

The Canadian set the new benchmark on his Varna Tempest recumbent, beating the 82.3mph he achieved in last year’s event. The speed is taken over a 200-metre section of Nevada State Road 305, which organisers describe as “one of the straightest, flattest, and smoothest surfaces in the world.”

The road, which is at a height of 4,619 feet, has an acceleration zone of more than four miles, allowing riders to hit maximum velocity before the timed stretch. A special legal dispensation applies during the event so that competitors don’t have to worry about being flagged down by the Nevada Highway Patrol for exceeding the speed limit.

Records are sanctioned by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association. The event is sponsored by energy drinks company Hydrive and continues until Saturday, with updates available at

Whittingham, who also owns the British Columbia-based custom frame and component maker Naked Bicycles, which numbers Lance Armstrong among its customers – the Texan bought an award-winning hand-made fixed gear bike – has broken a number of human-powered speed records since 1998.

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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