4 novembre 2002

Two new world records for backwards cycling

On Saturday, September 7, on the track of the skeeler club Oost-Veluwe in NL-Heerde, Pieter de Hart (52) became the world fastest backwards cyclist. He was awarded the title after covering 26.9 kilometres in an hour, beating the previous mark of 25.6 km. He also beat the 50 km world record, clocking 2.00.08 to beat the previous best of 2.52.11.

Attempting two records in one event proved to be difficult. De Hart kept his lap times between 44 and 46 seconds per 333.3m lap in the first hour, but this took its toll in the second hour, where he dropped to 48-51 seconds per lap.

De Hart has been riding backwards for over a decade now - in 1990 he was the first in the world to set the hour record in this discipline at 22.6 km. In the last two months trained between one and two hours per day in preparation for this attempt. The conditions on the day (dry weather, no wind) were perfect, allowing him to surpass both marks.

Backwards cycling takes place on a regular bicycle - De Hart's latest record attempt was done on a mountain bike - without the help of any extra aids or appliances: no mirrors, no special adaptations. The rider sits on the handlebars instead of the saddle, facing backwards, and pedaling and steering in reverse.

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