The website of Sam Wakeling


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World Record

 24hr Unicycle Record on YouTubeMe on my unicycle during the record I hold the current Guinness World Record for unicycle distance in 24 hours: 281.85 miles (453.6km).Between 9.30am on Saturday 29 Sept and 9.30am on Sunday 30 Sept 2007 I rode 1140 laps on my 36 inch wheel unicycle around the 400 metre track at Aberystwyth University Sports Centre. The previous record of 235.3 miles (378.7km) was set in 2005 by Ken Looi in New Zealand.I have put all my lap times into a graph I took a total of 1h 59:09 of rests, so I was riding for over 22 hours out of 24. That made an average riding speed of 12.81 mph (20.61 kph). The first 43km (Marathon) was completed in 1h 43 minutes.For the first 80 miles or so I was trying to keep an average speed of over 15mph, which would be enough to break the 100 mile record time of 6h 44m. It was going pretty well, but became clear that I couldn’t quite make it, so I settled down to a more comfortable pace. My 100 mile time was 7h 05m.Bored of numbers yet? OK, one more…Christian AidIt was a fun thing to do, but it also raised over £1600 for Christian Aid who do aid, development and campaigning against poverty around the world.Many, many thanks to all my friends who cheered me on and helped organise things, to the respectable people who took shifts recording my laps all day and night, staff at the university who offered time and facilities, and all sorts of unicycle-related people from all over the world who encouraged me via the internet (during this event, and for years previously!). All I had to do was pedal around in circles for a while.Guinness World Record certificateUpdate May 2008: It’s official. The certificate came through and it is now the accepted record. Woo!

News reports

Thanks to Arthur Davis, press officer at Aberystwyth Uni, I got pretty wide news coverage:

Newspapers with stories or little mentions:
  • Daily Telegraph
  • The Times
  • The Mirror
  • The Sun (I never saw a clipping of this one)
  • The Chronicle (Bath local)
  • The Cambrian News (Aberystwyth Local)
Technical Details

For the unicycle geeks among us, here are the full specs for what I rode for the 24 hour record:

  • 36 inch wheel:
    • Airfoil aluminium rim
    • Continental 29″ inner tube, around 30psi (the track wasn’t totally smooth)
    • Wheel TA tyre, with cut-down tread modification (I cut about 3/4 of the outer ridges of tread off with a knife to save 140g, and give more supple performance and grip off-road)
    • Stainless steel spokes, 4-cross pattern built up myself
    • square-taper CroMo hub 100mm flange width, (not the ultra-wide)
  • 90mm standard steel cranks for first 235 miles, then changed to…
  • 102mm standard steel cranks
  • VP196 pedals - lightweight cage pedals (260g/pair) with plastic partial toe-clips (no straps)
  • Steel Quax 36″ frame, old fashioned pressed bearing holders. Frame blinged up with stickers
  • Stock steel quick-release clamp
  • Steel seatpost 22.2mm diameter (without rails)
  • Kris Holm Fusion seat (2005), with air cusion conversion
  • Home-made handle set-up built from
    • micro scooter aluminium stem and T joint
    • two random bike handlebars
    • steel nuts and bolts
    • wooden broom handle for aero bar basebar
    • aluminium moutain bike bar-ends
  • Cinnelli aero bars
  • Halfords cycle computer (very handy for checking on my speed)

Basically, the wheel and pedals were as light as possible, but for the rest weight didn’t matter much and was quite heavy with handlebars etc. As there were no hills, the only part needing constant acceleration force was the slight wobble of the wheel.Other equipment:

  • Basic SPD shoes, without cleats (from Lidl!)
  • Padded lycra cycling shorts
  • Butt Butt’r chamois cream (plenty of)
  • Short and long-sleeve cycling tops
  • Cycle helmet (mainly out of habit, and to look less ‘circus’)
  • Full-finger gloves (ideal for keeping the squashed banana, doughnut, etc. off my hands)
  • Generic water carrying backpack
  • 2 litre water pouch with drinking tube
  • MP3 player/radio with lots of up-beat cheesey tunes

I’m afraid I didn’t keep a full record of what food I ate or when. I had a couple of good hot feeds of pasta (after ~7.5 hours) and pizza (after ~12 hours). Other than that it was about a dozen Geobars (cereal bars), 5 bananas, handfuls of crisps, peanuts, chocolate, couple of Kendal Mint Cakes, electrolite drink (for cramp), 6-8 litres of water, hot chocolate, tea and the odd piece of cake.