Denise Mueller-Korenek smashed the paced bicycle speed record along Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats by more than 16 miles per hour.
You read that right: Mueller-Korenek, a 45-year-old mother of three, reached an astounding 183.932 miles per hour on a nonmotorized bicycle. The feat occurred on September 16 at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, home to many land-speed record attempts.
Photos courtesy of Matt Ben Stone
Dubbed “Project Speed,” Mueller-Korenek’s record sets the new bar for top speed on a paced bicycle. That means she tucked into a slipstream behind a specially designed windbreaking vehicle.
Her record eclipses the 167 mph mark set by Fred Rompelberg in 1995.
“It was a crazy wild ride to 183.9 mph, but so worth the sacrifice and years of focus on becoming the fastest human on a bicycle in the world!” Mueller-Korenek said in a press release.
Paced Bicycle Speed Record: 184 MPH
Mueller-Korenek rode a purpose-built, specially modified KHS bicycle. It includes 17-inch, high-speed-rated motorcycle wheel construction and tires to keep the center of gravity low, an elongated frame with a short-travel suspension to dampen vibrations, a steering stabilizer to prevent treacherous “speed wobble,” and — most importantly — double-reduction gearing and drivetrain that make such high speeds possible at human RPMs.
But to achieve the monumental speed, she kept pace inside a wind pocket created by a 1,000-horsepower, 26-foot-long, methanol-fueled rail dragster.
In fact, the dragster is the same vehicle that helped pull Rompelberg to the record over 20 years ago. This time, the dragster was piloted by professional racecar driver Shea Holbrook. Together, the two women crushed the record on their second attempt of the day.
“This is the most intense thing I’ve ever done for obvious reasons — having responsibility for someone else — but you know what’s crazy? I’d do it again!” exclaimed the 28-year-old Holbrook. “We made history at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.”