Dennis Sets the One-Hour Record

rohan_dennisAs the number of riders committing to attempt the one-hour record grows, 24-year-old Rohan Dennis has become the latest – and the first Australian – to claim glory. Dennis, a member of the BMC road team, and a silver medalist at the 2012 Olympic Team Pursuit and 2011 Team Track Pursuit World Champion set a distance of 52.491km beating the 51.852km set by Austrian Matthias Braendle last October.


Commenting on his success the Adelaide rider said: ‘There was a lot of pain, I couldn’t really enjoy it too much to be honest, I knew it was 208 laps and when I went past 208 it was just go as hard as you can… It’s a great event and hopefully that record stands for a little while.’ Confidence in that record having any longevity may however be precarious as a queue of new challengers – including Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin, Alex Dowsett and even Bradley Wiggins – await their turn.


Dennis’s successful attempt at the one-hour record took place at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen; the 250m track, constructed from the highest quality, slow-growing Siberian spruce, is considered the fastest in Europe.


Previous record holders in the event, first staged in 1893, include cycling giants Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Chris Boardman and, of course, Eddy Merckx. Merckx called his hour record attempt in 1972 as: ‘The hardest ride I have ever done.’



Jens Voigt Sets New Hour Record

Jens VoigtJens Voigt has set a new Hour Record of 51.11k in front of 1,600 fans at the Velodrome Suisse, beating Ondrej Sosenka’s record of 49.7k which has stood since 2005.


Voigt comments: ‘I started as usual too fast, but that is just me I can’t control myself, and I realized that I was a second faster on the first lap than on the timetable so I tried to pace myself a little. But I was in good shape, just right. I am perfectly fit for this moment, I am in very good shape, and after 20 minutes I had gained one lap but I was still feeling in control. Then from 20-40 minutes I had a comfortable lead and I paced myself and was still gaining a little time. Then in the last 20 I sped up a little and gained another lap. The last 10 minutes were flat out – all-in.’


In 2014 the UCI unified the two previous classifications (Athlete’s Hour and Best Human Effort) into a single classification in line with regulations for current track pursuit bikes and Voigt was the first attempt under the new ruling.


Photo credit: Ulf Schiller

Featured Features

Matti Hemmings Interview

Matti HemmingsMatti Hemmings is a professional Flatland BMXer, double Guinness World Record holder and founder of the UK Flatland BMX Championships, which brings all levels of riders together to ‘…show off their skills.’ Clearly living the dream, Cyclo caught up with Matti at the end of a busy and successful year to talk world-records, inspiration and plans for the future…


Cyclo: How and when did the cycling bug bite?


Matti Hemmings: The cycling bug really started to bite at a young age. Living in a village in Wales near the Brecon Beacons gave me a good place to start with mountain biking. Then, while watching the Extreme Sports Channel, I came across BMX Flatland and decided to give that a go. I’ve been riding ever since…


Cyclo: Can you explain what Flatland BMX is exactly?


Matti Hemmings: Flatland BMX is the ultimate – and by far the hardest – discipline to master in urban freestyle. It could be described as breakdancing on a BMX. It takes on more of an art-form than any other style of BMX disciplines with an emphasis on creativity, style and originality as riders create their own tricks and combinations.


Cyclo: What was you first bike? 


Matti Hemmings: My first ever bike was an Apollo – I don’t think I need to say anything more here…  (smiles.)


Cyclo: Who inspired you to ride?


Matti Hemmings: My parents gave me a lot of support and inspired me to keep pushing my progression in BMX.


Cyclo: When and how did you realise that riding a bike could be a profession?


Matti Hemmings: I didn’t realise that riding a bike would potentially be a profession for me; I just went with the flow and enjoyed riding – at the same time working hard to progress with my own riding and keeping it fun and fresh.


Cyclo: You founded the UK Flatland BMX Championships – can you tell us about that…


Matti Hemmings: The UK Flatland BMX Championships give something back to the sport by organising a free event for riders of all levels to come along and have fun, whilst competing for some amazing prizes from the sponsors. The support was amazing for both 2011 & 2012 event; but due to a busy year with events I couldn’t find the time to organise it this time around…


Cyclo: You run shows and demos for schools too – the kids’ reactions must be hugely motivating…


Matti Hemmings: Yeah, this year has been busy. Visiting a number of schools across the UK to inspire young people to get involved with cycling. The reaction has been awesome – more young people taking up cycling. But it’s not just about inspiring young people to get on their bikes, as most kids are interested in other things too – so it’s trying to get the message across about working hard in school too and in whatever they enjoy doing. Practice makes perfect across the board!


Cyclo: Tell us about the two world records.


Matti Hemmings: Both records were achieved this year for the Guinness World Records I hold. One was for the most Cliffhanger Spins with one foot on the handlebars in one minute, which was 56 and was achieved on February 22. The other record was live on Blue Peter in April for the most Death Truck Spins in one minute, which was 32.


Cyclo: You were also involved with the London Olympic Torch Relay?


Matti Hemmings: I toured with the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay performing BMX tricks to entertain the crowds that came out to support the touch bearers over the 70 days around the UK. It was an amazing feeling, a one-off moment…


Cyclo: What do you consider your greatest achievement?


Matti Hemmings: By far my greatest achievements would have to be my invite to Action Medical Research for Children champion dinner fundraiser; being alongside world class cyclists such as Sir Chris Hoy, Chris Boardman and many more. Awesome charity to be involved with… being able to give something back is incredible.


Cyclo: What advice would you give kids wanting to pursue a two-wheeled dream?


Matti Hemmings: Again, practice makes perfect. If you don’t get it first time get back up try it again – keep pushing forward and nothing is impossible. It just takes hard work and dedication.


Cyclo: What’s next for you?


Matti Hemmings: Not sure yet; this year has been an amazing year for me with numerous TV appearances, the Guinness World Records, inspiring kids to get involved with cycling and competing in a few professional level contests. There are plans for another single speed film on my Foffa bike with my good friend Alex Allen from Formulate Media. I’ll just take every day as it comes and enjoy cycling to the max.


Find out more about Matti at and follow him on Twitter @mattihemmings Take a look at the incredible videos below to see just what’s possible on two wheels…



Featured Features

28 Days Across Europe

Simon Atkinson4000miles, nine countries, 28 days; three sets of numbers looming large in the mind of Simon Atkinson, a 38-year-old from West Sussex. In July he will attempt to break the Guinness world record for ‘the fastest cycle across Europe’ – which currently stands at 39 days 11 hours and 24 minutes – pedalling his way from Spain to Norway via France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and the length of Finland with an average of 140miles a day. Ahead of his epic quest Cyclo spoke to Simon to talk about the challenge to come…


Cyclo: Have you always been a cyclist?


Simon Atkinson: Yes and no, I rode a lot as a kid and as a teenager. I did a bit of mountain biking and one circuit race but bikes got put to one side when I learnt to drive. I only really got back into cycling in early 2011; I was due to get married in the September and I was over 16stone and didn’t want to look back at my wedding photos forever looking at a fat bloke. I bought a ‘fixie’ (fixed-wheel bike) and started riding to work again. I lost over three stone before our wedding and the obsession with cycling started from there.


Cyclo: Have you ever attempted any long distance challenges before?
SA: Not on this scale. I rode Land’s End to Margate in 2010 with a friend for charity; I was still pretty overweight back then and it was hard to ride 450miles in 5 days. Then last year I rode Calais to Switzerland and back, 963miles in 11 days. My riding partner dropped out two days into the ride and I carried on by myself, which was good really as it made me realise I could do these things alone.


Cyclo: So why this record-breaking challenge now?

SA: Switzerland was a revelation in what I could achieve, so I started looking for something else to do. It took a while and my ambitions often out-stripped time and money constraints but finally I stumbled across this record and thought, ‘I could beat that!’ lets hope I can…


Cyclo: It’s not all about the record of course, you’re doing this for charity too…

SA: Yes, I’m raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. In my line of work as an undertaker, one thing I know is that cancer doesn’t care who you are. My wife lost her dad to cancer just before we got married, and my dad lost his best mate a few years ago; cancer affects so many peoples lives, you just can’t ignore it.


Cyclo: Tell us about the route you will be riding? How did you decide on it?


SA: I’m going south to north as, in theory, the prevailing winds will be with me and if I can get ahead of my schedule I might be able to catch the last of the midnight sun in Norway, which I would like to see. Someone did say it would be all uphill the way I’m going (not sure about that…)
Beyond that the route was pretty easy to decide and to some extent dictated by Guinness; their rules state I have to stay on mainland Europe and ride the whole distance which ruled out going through Denmark as I would have had to take a ferry or train as you can’t ride legally on the bridges across the water…


I nearly chose a slightly more scenic/hilly route but decided it was going to be hard enough as it was and in the end I just Google-mapped the shortest distance between the two points that I could take without hitting motorways.


Cyclo: Where will you be sleeping?

SA: Due to financial restrictions and to keep my daily mileage options open I don’t have specific places to stay, so I’ll be wild camping for the most part. I have a light one-man tent, which is luxurious compared to the bivvy bag I tried in training.


Cyclo: What are the biggest logistical challenges?

SA: Probably staying hydrated. Spain in July could be pretty hot so I’ll be stopping a lot to fill up my bottles. Eating enough could be a consideration too. I stand to burn quite a few thousand calories each day and the general consensus is that I’ll lose some weight, however I think the people that are saying that are underestimating my ability to eat, I can be a proper pig when I get going.


Cyclo: Will you be supported on the trip or are you flying solo?

SA: I’ll be totally alone for the whole trip. No doubt I could do it quicker with support, but again the logistics and financial considerations ruled it out. I quite like the adventure side of it, being self-reliant and dealing with the daily challenges, motivating myself too when things get tough and there is only me to deal with it. I guess I want to see what I’m made of.
Simon Atkinson GiantCyclo: What bike are you using?

SA: I’ll be using a Giant TCX1, supplied by my local Giant store in Shoreham. It’s a cyclo cross bike so you have the best of all worlds in being hard wearing with a good riding position. The wheels have been hand-built by a local company to be strong and bullet proof but otherwise she is basically standard, the only other changes being an 11-32 cassette and long cage rear derailleur to help on hills when loaded up, plus a set of aero bars to lean on for the long miles.


Cyclo: What about other kit?

SA: I’m only taking the basics and essentials to keep my set up as light as possible. The bike will have no panniers fitted and I will be using a saddle bag, frame bag, top tube bag and hanging stuff off the aero bars. It will be a similar set up to Mike Hall’s round the world record bike. It might not sound it, but I wanted to keep the bike as aero as possible and with limited space to put stuff I won’t be tempted to overload it. My only concession to ‘luxury’ is a lightweight cooking kit; I think it will be great to be able to have a cup of coffee when I wake up in the middle of nowhere.


Cyclo: And technology?

SA: The technology I’m taking is very important. I have a Garmin Edge 800 with European maps so I can see how far I’ve gone and to record for Guinness, but mainly to help navigating through towns. I need to document all aspects of my journey for Guinness verification. I will also have a Spot GPS tracker to show where I have been and to alleviate any worries my family have.


I’ll also have a Go Pro Hero 3 camera strapped to my aero bars and I can update my blog and post pictures via my iPhone, but probably the most important piece of technology is going to be my PowerMonkey Extreme solar charger, without that nothing will work for very long.


Cyclo: How can people get involved in supporting you?


SA: I’ve had a lot of help already and I’d like to thank the Giant Store Shoreham, Strada Wheels, Dignity Funerals, Granville Upholstery, Gamma Communications, Carradice and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute for their help, support and belief in me to do this.


Of course if anyone would like to donate to my charity they can do it via the JustGiving link on my website. There is also a link to my tracker page if anyone wants to see how I’m getting on in real time and I will (hopefully) be updating my blog and twitter daily. In the meantime I have a contact page and I would love to hear from anyone that wants to support me or if anyone has any advice to offer or to just say hello and good luck, I will need it!



Around the World in 140 Days

On July 23 Juliana Buhring will set off from Naples in an attempt to set the first Guinness World Record for female circumnavigation by bike – the strict rules mean that 28,970km must be covered by pedal power (40,075km totalled including sea/flight transits) and no more than 5 degrees variation off a strict East to West or West to East course is allowed. Buhring intends to cycle an average of 210km (135miles) per day for 140 days with her route set to cover 18 countries:  Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia.


Speaking recently to The Sunday Times Buhring explained her motivation, ‘I would like to see what I am capable of, mentally and physically. I would like to push myself to the limits. I seem to thrive on pain…’ As a childhood survivor of the notorious ‘Children of God’ cult and author of the painfully honest book on her ordeal ‘Not Without my Sister’, Buhring has already repeatedly proven her ability to rise beyond what most would consider physically and mentally tolerable; a cycling circumnavigation record will, Cyclo are sure, be hers. Funds and awareness are being raised through the event for the Safe Passage Foundation (, which helps provide support for children raised in cults; you can track Buhring’s progress at




He’s a Record Breaker…

31-year-old Mike Hall has become the fastest person to circumnavigate the world by bicycle – indeed he did it in quite some style, smashing the previous record by almost two weeks and even managing to complete the epic ride on his birthday. Undertaken as part of the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour (and thus also competing against nine other riders) Hall averaged 200 miles-per-day for 92 days to cover the 18,000+ miles required to see him across 20 countries and four continents. Beyond being an incredible achievement in its own right, Hall also took the opportunity to raise funds for the Newborn Vietnam charity.



Tour de World

Vin Cox At 3.21pm on Sunday August 1, 2010, Vin Cox, champion cyclo-cross racer, mountain biker, mountaineer and long distance trekker peddled his way, after 29,000km, into the record books by circumnavigating the world on two wheels in just 163 days, 6 hours, 58 minutes. Never one to rest on his saddle, he now he has something else up his sleeve and this time he wants you to come along too…



Cyclo: Many cyclists will have dreamt about doing something like this – what was the tipping point when you realised you were actually going to go for it?


Vin Cox: I started researching the rules after a friend suggested it and I said it was a crazy idea. Something about the freedom the Guinness World Records rules allow made me look a little deeper into possible routes and strategies, and by then I was hooked.


Cyclo: The logistics seem almost unimaginable. How did you prepare?


VC: I spent about a year looking at possible routes and their associated weather, visa requirements, costs, and security issues. I started by researching previous circumnavigations, trying to learn and improve with every step. I still made many mistakes, but that effort paid off.  I didn’t actually need many physical advance visas on my route; just Libya and India. Most places are visa-on-entry via the ports I used or e-visas for British passport holders. Visa problems did prevented me from riding through Saudi Arabia though as I had wanted to originally.


Cyclo: And physical preparation?


VC: I raced a season of cyclo-cross finishing with the World Masters Championships in Belgium a week before I set off. With a month to go I toured Scotland as a dress rehearsal (in incredible cold and deep snow!). All the other prep took so much time I wasn’t really in perfect condition, just good enough to ride myself fit.


Cyclo: Did you have a support team back home?


VC: Yes, my wife, my sister and her fella, other close friends and family, and my dad ready to buy me out of any trouble if I was skint. My sister was medical (she’s a doctor) and travel logistics specialist, my brother-in-law constantly updated the website. I should have handed over to them well before I set off, but in the end it was last minute.


Cyclo: Was this always intended specifically as a record attempt?


VC: Yes and no… I dreamt up a slogan which reflected my priorities and goals: “In search of adventure, in aid of charity, and in search of a Guinness World Record”. The record was always a goal, but not the highest priority. If all you want is a record, there are easier ones to chase, and it would be unforgivable to travel like this and not enjoy it. I raised a lot of money and publicity for the Geoff Thomas Foundation.


Cyclo: 17 countries in total – your best and worst?


VC: There was good and bad everywhere, but to generalise…

Best: Thailand. Very smooth roads, abundant and safe food (so welcome after India!), cheap accommodation, friendly people.

Worst: India. It’s a great place to travel long days on the main roads, but the back roads are very slow, in the towns people can be very dodgy, and getting dysentery is never fun!


Cyclo: Which was your best day in the saddle?


VC: On the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. A beautiful place (and World Heritage site), with smooth quiet roads winding along the flat sandy ‘wadi’ valleys between mountains. The people were very friendly and when I asked for water one evening in a town I was taken in and treated as an honoured guest at a school.


Cyclo: Any low points? Times when there was a temptation to simply stop?


VC: The only time quitting came up was in Libya. I was very ill with dysentery for several days and my wife asked me on the phone “So, is that it? Are you coming home?” – She built up my determination forever more buy voicing that option then. From then on things were never as bad and I always had more to lose by stopping, so I could look back and know that I’d decided I wasn’t a quitter.


Cyclo: What was your diet like on the ride?


VC: Terrible! I needed a huge amount of food, about 10,000cal per day. You don’t really get to be picky when consuming that much in foreign countries. I ate lots of junk food, particularly in the USA, and lots of biscuits all around the world.


Cyclo: Which bit of kit would you definitely not have been without (and anything you wish you’d left behind?)


VC: My dynamo hub (and charge regulator) was brilliant. That simple device, which hardly takes any effort to run, could charge my cameras and phones and power my lights. I had no need to plug anything into a wall socket at all. The only unnecessary thing really was taking a stove across Australia, but I posted it home as soon as I could.


Cyclo: At what point (if any) did you know that you had the record in the bag?


VC: Only with a few metres to go did I really believe it. Until then I knew it was easy to make a mistake or have some bad-luck that would simply end the ride, but for at least the last 6,000 miles I’d been comfortable for record pace.


Cyclo: What’s next for you?


VC: I came up with the concept of a race around the world even before I attempted the record. Now the “Global Bicycle Race” is my next project and I’ve persuaded 10 or more riders to be on the start line in Greenwich on February 18 2012. I’m the organiser and I’ll be trying to raise the profile of the event and the riders while they experience the world. Each rider will travel independently and decide their own route, we’ll track them via GPS and check they are doing okay. There’ll be a really whizzy web-site to track the riders and get frequent updates from them – there’s also various bike industry suppliers going to be offering prizes to members of the public who have encounters with riders and send in photos, articles, or videos of what happens. I hope it will be enthralling to follow…


For more information on Vin’s adventures, details about the Geoff Thomas Foundation (including your opportunity to give generously) and for details of the Global Bicycle Race visit


Cyclo will be following the run-up to, and running of, the Global Bicycle Race. Stay tuned…


Photo Credit: Vin Cox