Battle Cranks Movies

Austrian couriers, Tour de France pros, Endurance superstars and Air Race pilots gathered to compete in the small village of Fuschl am See in the foothills of the Austrian Alps in the first ever “Battle Cranks” roller race event, here is the official video and TV Report:

Battle Cranks 2010: The Crankiest Bits from HerrNick on Vimeo.

Battle Cranks on Servus TV from HerrNick on Vimeo.

World 12 hour roller-race record 1968

Cliff Nicholson and Rod Scott, members of the record breaking team share their memories of the attempt.

Harlow Cycling Club was lucky, in having amongst its members an engineer.
During 1961, Ken Wall beavered away (completely unknown to the majority of the Club Members until he formally presented them to the Club at its Annual Dinner) making the world’s fastest set of Racing Rollers. A complete set of 4 rollers with the very latest in gearing were the envy of riders everywhere. Whereas conventional roller drums were made of sheet steel, Ken made his from wooden slats.  These were turned in a lathe to be perfectly round and, as even the thickness of the paint had not missed Ken’s eye for perfection, were accurate to within a fraction of an inch per mile. Fifty years on, these rollers are still the bench mark for any one who wants to build “Competition Rollers”.

12 hour roller race record

Above: Ken Wall, Eric Beachamp, Bob Clifton, Cliff Nicholson, Bob Aucherlonie, and Rod Scott.

This meant that Roller Racing was very popular at the club, winter months saw regular indoor competitions and attracted a good number of youngsters to cycling. The other attraction were some cycling stars and boasted ex continental professional team mate of Jacques Anquetil and Raphael Geminani, Vin Denson and top international track rider, Dave le Grys as members.

Roller racing was highly popular and in 1967 Ken Wall rode the rollers on BBC’s Blue Peter. Ken claims still to have his “Blue Peter Badge” presented by John Noakes and Peter Purves the shows presenters.

In 1968 the club felt they were strong enough on Roller racing to make an attempt on the Team 12 Hour World Record. The team of 6 club members went for the record on 20th July 1968 in Harlow Town Centre. On a Saturday it attracted huge crowds of shoppers and the atmosphere was not just electric but full of embrocation!

112 teeth roller race record chainring

Above: That 112 chainring!

Each rider rode for 10 minutes and the changeover was as the needles of the dial reached the top. Starting at 5.00am in the morning the ride was easy to begin with but as the day wore on so cramp and lack of oxygen in the legs made the attempt daunting. The team were successful with a Record of 554 miles and 1595 yards. This equates to 46¼ miles per hour or just under 7¾ miles per rider every 10 minutes! The record was scrutinised by Dick Taylor, who officiated at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958 and registered the record with the Guinness Records. The gearing could be no higher than 134 inches, which some riders found too low; but that’s the rules! This was especially true when you see the chain ring on the club’s adapted Hetchins. With 112 teeth it provided a gearing of 297 inches! This equated to the bike moving almost 78 feet with every crank revolution! This was used to attempt the 100 mph Roller record! From a distant memory it was pretty scary, riding with no one supporting you and slowly winding that gear up!

Barry Hodson, a club member in 1976 set a new figure for the World Hour Roller Record. This distance of 53 miles 1240 yards stood until Ron Hewes, also a club member who had trained with Hodson back in the 70’s, made a determined effort in 1988 and set the unchallenged distance of 61 miles 540 yards. This achievement was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as a World’s Best Distance.

Sir Jimmy Saville was an active rider of the club’s rollers and in 1968 he set a new Individual Hour Roller Record; sadly we don’t have details of the distance he covered.

Below: Cliff and Rod take to the rollers again in 2009!

Manfred Nüscheler Swiss record-breaker

Manfred has held seven Guinness world records for roller racing related cycling. He has won over 80 roller races most of these between 1983 and 1990, in June1984 he won six events (and six bikes) in one month! The records Manfred has set are pretty mind-blowing, will he come out of retirement to take on younger riders in the growing goldsprints scene?

Manfred Nuscheler beats OlympicChampion Pascal Richard
Manfred Nuescheler beats Olympic Champion Pascal Richard in a 500m roller race.

Manfred’s Amazing Records:

  • Sustained power of 1020 watts average over one minute to power 100 electric razors (13 May 1991)
  • Maximum peak power 2378 watts for 3 seconds to power 200 energy saving light bulbs (22 March 1995)
  • 14.36 seconds for 500 metres, average speed 126kph / 78mph, maximum speed 133 kmh /83mph
    on the CYCLUS 2 Recordtrainer Gear ratio 54×12 / 121.5″ (15 August 1997)
  • 32.48 seconds for 1000m average speed 111kph / 69mph, maximum speed 119 kmh /74mph
    on the CYCLUS 2 Recordtrainer Gear ratio 54×12 / 121.5″ (8 August 1997)
  • Cadence record 271 RPM on 170mm cranks (9 March 1990)
  • Absolute speed record on a standard bike164.1 kmh / 102 mph 54 x 11 gear (16 September 2000)
  • Acceleration 0-100kmh in 1.7 seconds 52 x 13 gear (28 March 1990)
Manfred Nuescheler 1020 watts 100 razors
Manfred Nuescheler 1020 watts 100 razors

Manfred remains a keen supporter and follower of the modern roller-racing scene and claims he has retired from roller-racing… a pity.

Manfred still rides indoors
Manfred still rides indoors

Note: Manfred’s records are unbelievable and he has achieved even more Manfred’s absolute speed record was set on a standard bike, a commercially available Moser frame with Campagnolo gears on standard Minoura rollers. Other faster roller records have been set, however these have been on special non-standard bikes with custom gears made specifically for the attempt, we’ll be bringing you these other record breakers soon.

Crissi, Queen of courier Goldsprints

Crissima Pearce Goldsprints

In the early days of “Goldsprints”, a London female Cycle courier dominated them all, winning the women’s event in the first three, the now famous Zurich 1999 (CMWC) Goldsprints, New York Metroploco 2000 and London Goldsprints 2000. Crissi went on to win multiple  Goldsprints and Rollapaluzas remaining unbeaten until 2004. However Crissi wasn’t just a roller-race star, she was pretty much the face of the London courier scene for many years and partcipated in all forms of cycling, competing in the British track and grass-track National championships (earning a bronze medal to Victoria Pendleton) as well as pretty much every courier event going.

Crissima Pearce goldsprints 1999
Crissi wins in Zurich 1999

Crissi’s Palmares (roller racing in bold)

7th Bavarian MTB Champs ’95
1st ECMC Hamburg ’96
1st Sprint CMWC SF ’96
1st Human Powered Velodrome Vancouver Oct ’96
1st Uxbridge Ice Braker,Ontario (MTB)
1st Paris-Roubaix ’97 (Toronto Zoo-Lake Simcoe)
2nd ECMC Amsterdam ’97
2nd Human Powered Velodrome PR Vancouver Oct ’97
2nd Paris-Roubaix ’98
1st Points race Quebec Track Champs,Bromont ’98
1st Human Powered Velodrome Toronto Apr ’98
1st Sprint ECMC Graz ’98
3rd Sprint CMWC D.C. ’98
1st Human Powered Velodrome Toronto Oct ’98
1st Goldsprint Zurich ’99
2nd Sprint CMWC Zurich ’99
1st Human Powered Velodrome Toronto Oct ’99
2nd Paris-Roubaix Dec ’99 (Toronto Zoo-Lake Simcoe)
1st Goldsprint Metropoloco NYC ’00
1st Goldsprints London 2000
1st Sprint ECMC Rotterdam ’01
1st Fixed Woman 500m NYC Science Centre Mar ’02
1st Women Trackstand CMWC Budapest ‘01
1st London Courier Track Champs (Speed Skill and Sausages) ‘04

This list isn’t exhaustive, apparently the Rollapaluza archives are incomplete, it’s widely agreed that she was unbeaten until 2004 when Charlene got the better of her, plus her track nationals performances aren’t here, if you have further info on Crissi’s wins please let us know.

Crissi features in Goldsprints 1999 and Roller Race the Movie.

Mile a Minute Murphy

Mile a Minute Murphy roller racing against Tom Butler
Mile a Minute Murphy roller racing against Tom Butler Image by © CORBIS

This classic image taken in 1901 shows American cycling pioneer Charles “Mile a Minute” Murphy competing in a roller race aginst Tom Butler.  Though more famous for his one mile in one minute speed record behind a train (see links below) this image and a near identical one of him with Frank Albert show that Roller-Racing was popular, as was bike-racing in general, in late 19th early 20th century America.  This photo has in recent times made Murphy (real name Charles) a roller-racing / goldsprints  icon.

Murphy held many cycling records and medals and also performed in a touring roller-race Vaudeville act between October 1900 and January 1901 alongside another cycling legend Marshall “Major” Taylor, the first black world champion in any sport.

Mile a minute Murphy
Murphy's mile a minute record, thanks to Bikereader and Les Woodland

More about Mile a Minute Murphy:

Les Woodland on Bike Reader

Arrt’s Archives with great pictures.

Free Roller-Racing alive and well at Mildenhall

Previous Rollapaluza winner Matt Rotherham shows how it’s done on the free rollers:

Also a previous Rollapaluza winner Mark Burgess (blue) and Matt Rotherham (red) face off on the Mildenhall rollers.

In pictures, which feature roller-race legend Max Pendleton: