pounds 1m bike breaks record by going nowhere

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The Independent Online

Bruce Bursford's bicycle took more than four years to build and cost pounds 1m. Yesterday he rode it for 30 seconds and set a new world speed record of 208 mph.

He hit 60mph in two seconds at the start. "It's like sitting on a wing," said Mr Bursford, after his record-breaking ride on a rolling road at the Malcolm Campbell building at the famous Brooklands race circuit in Surrey, yesterday.

The bike, which he designed himself, weighs only 11lb, one third the weight of a mountain bike and has a theoretical top speed of 250 mph."I wanted to have the fastest cycle and for me to design it was the icing on the cake, " he said.

To achieve the record-breaking speed, conditions were simulated whereby Mr Burford was "towed" until he reached 100mph. The towline was then "released", and he was left to pedal flat out. His speedometer was contained in an eyepatch. The previous speed record for a pushbike is 152mph, set on Utah salt flats in 1985.

The carbon-fibre frame is four times stronger than steel, its metal parts are made from titanium and its bearings are ceramic, producing 30 per cent less friction. Its tyres are filled with helium.

Built for him by British racing car firm Lola, the bicycle also has a chainwheel 2ft in diameter, a rear cog the size of a 50p piece, and travels 150ft for every turn of the pedals.

A former schoolboy cycling champion, he spent three years researching aerodynamics for the bike and and describes its aerodynamic qualities as "absolutely unique".

Now it appears that Mr Bursford's years of struggle may have paid off. Speaking to Sky News yesterday he said that cycling champion Chris Boardman had expressed interest in the bicycle, which bears a striking resemblance to his own record-breaking machine.

He added that he had also had an inquiry from the US Olympic team, who were considering ordering 25 of the same design.

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