The UMCA announces that it will certify attempts for a new category of Highest Annual Mileage per the rules below. Here is a bit of history for such a record.
In 1911, a weekly cycling magazine began a competition for the greatest mileage cycled in a single year, with the first record established at 34,666 miles by Marcel Plaines. And that record stood until the 1930's when the record was broken six times in quick succession until the record stood at 62,657 miles, with the record being held by an Australian. So, three English cyclists set out to reclaim the record for the mother country. They all started riding on January 1, 1939 to see who could log the most mileage in one full year. One of them crashed soon thereafter and the race was now between Bernard Bennett and Tommy Godwin. Before two months were up, Godwin was almost 1,000 miles behind the record pace, so he started increasing his daily mileage. Bennett was soon left in the dust as Godwin upped his average to 200+ miles per day.
In September of that year, Great Britain declared war on Germany and blackout restrictions were imposed, forcing Godwin to ride in the ever-lengthening night hours with only a dull glow allowed to show from his bicycle headlight. More amazing for an Englishman, Godwin was a vegetarian. But food rationing soon depleted even his simple diet of bread, eggs, milk, and cheese. But on he pedaled! By October 26, Godwin broke the record set by the Australian. But he did not stop there. He continued riding until December 31, amassing an unbelievable mileage total of 75,065 miles in one year. But even then, he did not stop. He wanted to get to 100,000 miles in the fewest days possible, so he rode on and in May 1940, he hit 100,000 miles in exactly 500 days.
Then Godwin dismounted and spent weeks learning how to walk again. Then he joined the RAF for the war effort. And his record has stood unchallenged since 1939.
Note: The record by Godwin was never officially certified by any sanctioning body, though Guinness Book of World Records did offer belated recognition of Godwin's remarkable achievement.
So any rider making an attempt per the rules below can get a record certified at a mileage below that recorded by Godwin, but we all know that Godwin's mark is the target. The corresponding target for women is the mileage of 29,603.7 miles logged by Billie Dovey in 1938.
Rules for Highest Annual Mileage
These rules shall be considered an addendum to the Rules for Record Attempts
- All references to the Records Chairman shall be interpreted to mean the Records Chairman or delegate thereof.
- Application fee for this record will be $300 to be submitted with an application at least 21 days prior to the start of the attempt.
- The Records Chairman will serve as the official of record for the attempt.
- A record will be recognized for any solo rider in any age category and either gender (as stated and defined in the UMCA Rules for Record Attempts).
- Rider may use any bike type, or combination of bike types, except for faired recumbents. There will not be separate record categories based on bike type. (This means standard frame bikes and recumbents will be on equal basis for this record.)
- Solo riders only; no teams.
- Advance notice of routes will not be required. Riders will be required to have an active live tracking device in operation for all mileage to be credited for the attempt. In addition, riders will have a trip recording device (such as a Garmin) that will record the route taken, speed, elevation/gradient and at least one of heart rate or power. Riders will be responsible for carrying backup batteries to power whatever device/app we decide upon. The devices used will be subject to the approval of the Records Chairman. Ride data will be posted daily within 24 hours of the completion of the ride. Tracking/recording devices shall be tested at least two weeks prior to the start of the attempt to ensure that the Records Chairman will be able to access the data.
- The Records Chairman shall be given access to the information from the live tracking device and the uploaded data.
- Rider is encouraged to provide photos or brief video clips from the daily rides. It is recommended that the rider carry a witness book so that independent witnesses can sign to verify the riders progress. Carrying a witness book is not mandatory, but failure to do so will jeopardize mileage ridden if electronic devices fail.
Possible setup could look similar to this:
Date and Time Location Name Signature Contact info for witness GPS coordinates
- If both/either tracker and GPS data fails, the distance credited will be the shortest distance via cycleable road between locations documented in the witness book.
- In the case of communication failure where either/both of the live tracker or trip recorder data is unavailable, the rider shall send an explanation (email or text message preferred) as soon as possible to the Records Chairman. The mileage involved shall be considered to be provisional until the Records Chairman can decide on the validity of the explanation.
- Riders will be responsible for carrying backup batteries to power the required lighting. If the lights go out during night conditions, the rider cannot continue. No mileage may accrue when riding without lights in night conditions. Be aware that "night conditions" can occur during the day, such as heavy fog.
- If the bike/rider must be transported, the tracking devices must be turned off during transport.
- Daily mileages shall be recorded to the nearest tenth or rounded down to the nearest mile.
- Current rules regarding helmet use will apply.
- Current rules regarding use of bike lights and reflective material during night riding will apply.
- Definition of year: Attempt may start on any day of the year and will run for 365 consecutive days.
- There is no prohibition on drafting during this record attempt. (This is a mileage record, not a speed record.)
- Follow vehicle: A follow vehicle will be allowed, but not required. If used, a follow vehicle must comply with current rules, especially regarding signage and lightning.
- For a rules violation, the Records Chairman may impose a mileage reduction penalty of ten miles for each infraction.
- When a ride spans midnight of any day, it is recommended that the rider restart the tracking devices as soon after midnight as is feasible. On the last riding day of the rider’s year, all tracking devices must be turned off before midnight. (added May 2015)
- UMCA reserves to modify the rules during the attempt. Reasonable notification will be sent to riders involved in an active attempt. A new rule may not be made retroactive in effect.