Graeme Obree qualifies for final of human-powered land speed record

Graham Obree's online video of how the Beastie works

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Former world champion cyclist Graeme Obree has qualified for the final of the human-powered land speed record.

At Battle Mountain, Nevada, the 47-year-old from Ayrshire recorded an official speed of 46.8mph (75.3kph) in his first session. The record is 83mph (133.5kph).

However, he reached about 55mph (88.5kph) within the first 0.5 miles (0.8km)

Following modifications to the bike, he later reached 47.7mph (76.8kph)

Mr Obree is attempting to set a new record with his unconventional bike Beastie.

Start Quote

Really I need to be focusing on my eyeballs coming out of my head”

End Quote Graeme Obree

He will travel head first and face down, his chin 2cm (0.8in) from the front wheel, his eyes peering out of a small peephole.

The bike was constructed by Mr Obree in his kitchen and a friend's workshop.

It is made up of components which include a stainless steel saucepan, acting as a shoulder support, and parts from old bikes and roller-skates.

The revolutionary aspects are invisible: the position of the human being inside it, and the fact that Mr Obree will not be pedalling, but instead operating a couple of push-pull levers with his feet.

He has up to four attempts to beat the current record.

Graeme Obree in Beastie Graeme Obree's bike is made up of items including a saucepan and roller skates

After his qualifying run, the cyclist said: "It feels good to have got my qualifying in and I think I know a lot more about the Beastie.

"I need to work on some modifications tonight, particularly the gearing and some of the bearings.

"The run went well and it was interesting to get out there."

'I am happy'

Mr Obree said he was forced to ride one-handed for a while as he lost his breathing tube and had to reach round to put it back in his mouth.

"So we will need to find a solution to that," he said. "And that's a time on the bike where you have to be careful as you don't want your head crashing into the spokes."

"To get close to 55 mph within 0.5 miles is brilliant but when you start too quickly it's really difficult to get back on it after that and try and find more in the tank.

"I also felt part of the bearing starting to slip, so I was suddenly trying to process lots in my mind, when really I need to be focusing on my eyeballs coming out of my head.

"But I am happy. Qualifying was all about showing that the bike was stable, getting it across the line and trying to learn as much as we could."

You can follow coverage of the week's events at Humans Invent's website.

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