Tag Archives: Graeme Obree

Obree’s 2009 hour record bike

I have had the photo below, (by Andy McAndlish, originally published in an article on bikeradar) on my desktop for a while and the moment had been lost to blog it. Sometimes you have to be quick, which is why I try to stay away from race news and results.

But I have started listening to old episodes of the Velocast again (still available on podomatic), and in episode 10 they discussed this bike, albeit with aero bars.

(Photo: Andy McAndlish)

There’s another great shot of Obree riding the bike if you click through to bikeradar, showing his outstanding aptitude for innovating to find an extremely aerodynamic position. He used his trademark custom parts to get an aerodynamic position, but within the “new” UCI rules, which aim to keep bikes within the style of Eddy Merckx’s 1972 record.

Velocasters Scott and John covered Obree’s attempt on the hour record, which at 43 years old would have been a great challenge, but alas the machine did not work on the velodrome bankings as expected, which hit Graeme hard. He was advised to abadnon the hour attempt.

The bike remains though (and I wonder where it is now). It has a Selle Italia Flite saddle with a purple fluffy cover reminiscent of some sort of muppet. The Reynolds 653 steel frame catches the eye, with it’s 1-and-1/8 inch tubing that is very thin-looking by today’s standards. Added to this are aluminium time trial handlebars that were hand-whittled by Obree for for three months! And some custom pedals, again hand-whittled! The sort of obsessive attention to detail that made Graeme such an amazing time trialler.

More shots of the bike

Bikeradar interview with more great pics

Scottish men’s 10 mile time trial records

Scottish cycling records are ratified and published on the Scottish Cycling website. I was passed a detailed compilation of historic records that were compiled by Jock Shaw for posterity, and decided to publish them here for information. See my Scottish time trial records post for a full index list of records. Unless otherwise specified, these are SC records, so subject to BC/UCI rules.

Scottish men’s 10 mile time trial records

1971 P.Templeton Dundee Thistle R.C. 22 mins 14 secs
1972 D.McCallum Dundee R.C. 22 mins 13 secs
1978 D.Hannah Regent C.C./Connors Cycles 22 mins 01 secs
1978 D.Hannah Regent C.C./Connors Cycles 21 mins 58 secs
1979 D.Hannah Regent C.C./Connors Cycles 21 mins 47 secs
1980 A.Hewitt Glasgow United C.C. 21 mins 27 secs
1981 D.Whitehall Regent C.C./Connors Cycles 21 mins 25 secs
1982 D.Whitehall Regent C.C./Connors Cycles 20 mins 49 secs
1989 G.Obree Wallacehill C.C./AOS/Olympia 20 mins 48 secs
1989 G.Obree Wallacehill C.C./AOS/Olympia 20 mins 40 secs
1989 G.Obree Wallacehill C.C./AOS/Olympia 20 mins 28 secs
1989 G.Obree Wallacehill C.C./AOS/Olympia 20 mins 21 secs
1990 G.Obree Wallacehill C.C./AOS/Olympia 19 mins 49 secs
1997 G.Obree Unattached 19 mins 29 secs
2007  Jason MacIntyre Unattached 18:49

Scottish CTT men’s 10 mile time trial records

Cycling Time Trials is the governing body for time trials in the UK – it’s separate to Scottish Cycling (which is a regional body of British Cycling and is the ‘official’ UCI-affiliated governing body. CTT operates under slightly different rules As such the CTT records have to be treated separately.

2017 John Archibald Pro Vision 18:38 (CTT event)
2018 John Archibald 18 minutes 18 seconds ( WW10/03) (CTT Scotland, not the official Scottish record)

Jason MacIntyre beat Graeme Obree’s 10 mile record in 2007 recording 18:49 on the West Ferry course, on the A8 at Langbank, in a Glasgow Wheelers open event. The quote below originally came from Jason’s personal website, which has since gone offline.

July the 11th was the day i was fortunate enough to break Graeme Obrees Scottish 10mls TT record. West Ferry, Glasgow was the course and with luck the weather changed for the good as i was about to ride. An average of 31.7 mph was what i needed to get on the record. By the time i reached the turn i was just of the pace, but with a following wind the home stretch brought speeds of up to 42 mph. This was enough to get up to and then over the record average, finishing with an average of just over 32 mph & a time of 18:47. A big thank you to all my friends, family & sponsors without whom this would not have been possible.

John Archibald beat this record in 2017 on the same course and told Veloveritas’ Ed Hood how the day went.

Scottish men’s 10 mile time trial record (team)

1971 Dundee R.C. D.McCallum, J.Miller & J.Petrie 1 hr 08 mins 02 secs 
1978 Regent C.C./ D.Hannah, W.Gibb & S.McGinty 1 hr 07 mins 32 secs Connors Cycles
1980 Regent C.C./ D.Hannah, W.Gibb & A.Bruce 1 hr 06 mins 17 secs Connors Cycles
1981 Regent C.C./ A.Hewitt, D.Hannah & A.Bruce 1 hr 06 mins 14 secs Connors Cycles
1981 Regent C.C./ D.Whitehall, A.Hewitt & J.Clark 1 hr 05 mins 32 secs Connors Cycles
1982 Regent C.C./ D.Whitehall, A.Hewitt & S.Finnigan 1 hr 04 mins 42 secs Connors Cycles
1992 Greenock R.C./ G.Obree, K.Murphy & D.Nicholson 1 hr 04 mins 35 secs 
Castle Levan Hotels
1995 Berwick Wheelers S.McCaw, C.Isatts & G.Johnston 1 hr 04 mins 30 secs 1997 Edinburgh B.C./ J.Gladwell, R.Todd & C.Robertson 1 hr 02 mins 47 secs Montpeliers
1997 Edinburgh B.C./ J.Gladwell, R.Todd & P.Murdoch 1 hr 01 mins 51 secs Montpeliers
2014 Ian Grant, Arthur Doyle and Nick Tryon www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk 59m 55s

Scottish Junior men’s 10 mile time trial record

1975 D.Porter Musselburgh Roads C.C. 23 mins 09 secs
1976 S.McGinty Regent C.C. 23 mins 00 secs
1978 A.Adams Dunfermline & District C.C. 22 mins 43 secs
1980 Steve McCaw Scotia Sports C.C./Dales Cycles 22 mins 05 secs
1981 S.Lawson Clackmannanshire C.C. 22 mins 03 secs
1983 I.Campbell Johnstone Wheelers/Dooleys Cycles 21 mins 52 secs
1983 G.Smith Glasgow Wheelers 21 mins 44 secs
1994 N.Walker Loudoun R.C. 21 mins 26 secs
1997 Martin Lonie Edinburgh B.C./Montpeliers 21 mins 03 secs
2000 Russel Anderson Team Velo Ecosse 20 mins 44 secs
2000 Russel Anderson Team Velo Ecosse 20 mins 35 secs

Scottish junior mens 10 mile time trial team record

2000 Team Velo Ecosse Russell Anderson & R.McNeil 43 mins 31 secs
2019 Oscar Onley, Logan MacLean Spokes RT 43m 29s

Scottish youth male 10 mile time trial record

1975 D.Porter Musselburgh Roads C.C. 23 mins 52 secs
1976 G.Kermode Dundee Wheelers 23 mins 29 secs
1976 G.Kermode Dundee Wheelers 23 mins 18 secs
1976 G.Kermode Dundee Wheelers 22 mins 49 secs
1982 I.Campbell Johnstone Wheelers/Dooleys Cycles 22 mins 33 secs
1987 Jim Gladwell Loudoun R.C./Strathclyde Fuels 22 mins 32 secs
1995 P.Murdoch V.C.Astar/Anderside Tools 21 mins 59 secs
1999 Russell Anderson Velo Sportiv 21 mins 53 secs
1999 Russell Anderson Velo Sportiv 21 mins 38 secs
1999 Russell Anderson Velo Sportiv 21 mins 00 secs

Scottish veteran men’s 10 mile time trial records

1982 P.Harley Glasgow Wheelers 21 mins 29 secs
1990 J.O’Donovan Deeside Thistle C.C./Cameron Farquhar 21 mins 16 secs
1997 D.Millar V.C.Astar/Anderside Tools 20 mins39 secs
2000 W.McFarlane Fullarton Wheelers 20 mins 35 secs
2002 D.Gibson G.S.Modena/ A.B.Hamilton 20 mins 28 secs
2007 Graeme Obree Fullarton Wheelers 19m 40s

Scottish men’s tandem 10 mile time trial records

1985 R.Wilson V.C.Olympia/ S.Wilson Stewart Wilson Cycles 21 mins 12 secs
1986 R.Wilson V.C.Olympia/ S.Wilson Stewart Wilson Cycles 20 mins 35 secs

Scottish veteran men’s tandem 10 mile time trial record

2018 Mark Leadbetter / Donald Maclean (Stirling BC) 21.51 (SC or SVTTA?)

Scottish men’s tricycle 10 mile time trial record

1976 D.Stokes Musselburgh Roads C.C. 25 mins 52 secs
1983 K.R.McDonald Glade C.C. 25 mins 31 secs
1986 R.Shenton Velo Sportiv 25 mins 17 secs

Scottish time trial records

Scottish cycling records are ratified and published on the Scottish Cycling website. I was passed a detailed compilation of historic records that were compiled by Jock Shaw for posterity, and decided to publish them here for information.

My original interest in time trial records goes back to 2010, when I was searching for Scottish 10 mile time trial champions and found that Scottish Cycling’s information was not up to date. That led to a mini online rant. A few weeks later, I was out for a ride and received a call from none other than the president of Scottish Cycling himself, who assured me that they were working to update things. How he got my number I’ll never know…

The time trial records are interesting, because many of them stood for a long time. At one stage Obree held the Scottish record for the three staple distances of British time trialling – the 10, 25 and 50 miles. And George Berwick still does hold the 24 hour record, a mark that has stood since 1967.

10 Miles  – men’s
10 Miles – women’s
25 Miles
30 Miles
50 Miles
100 Miles
12 hours
24 hours

By Jock Shaw:

Up to 1931 no one in Britain bothered with Competition Records. There was a huge range of place to place records and straightaway records but no such thing as Competition Records. 

“Cycling*” started the B.A.R. in 1930 and later, in 1931, there was an article in “Cycling” pointing this out and saying that the fastest 50 recorded in competition was 2 hrs 05 mins 07 secs at Easter 1927 by F.W.Southall. In that article they also posed the question “What is a Competition Record?” They came to the conclusion that Competition Records should only be recognised if they were done in open races. At that time the vast majority of races were club confined.

In 1932 competition records were first recognised by the Scottish Amateur Racing Association. Which was formed in 1889.They seem to have been a loose organisation of some sort who simply recognised the records set up in 1932 but there are little snippets of information which are intriguing. 

e.g. J.Quigley in his second 25 was “a few seconds short of the 25 miles record”, in his third 25 he “broke the record by 79 seconds” but there was no official record! The same rider “covered 227.00 miles in 12 hours six miles better than the previous recorded best”. (E.McCabe did 221 miles in 1931). 

There were also events where no team time was recorded. The team race seems to have been of little interest up to that time.

I started my search using the S.C.U.’s 1953 handbook, the first one printed after the reconstitution. 

Using the record list published in it I found a number of omissions and errors. There is no mention of a 50 mile team record in 1932 and no mention of a 100 mile team record in 1932. 

I checked all the “Cyclings” of 1932 but not all results are shown so I’ve published the times that were claimed as records. J.Quigley broke the 25 mile record three times in 1932 but only the final record is shown in the published list at the end of the season. We still do this in our current handbook.

As a matter of interest there were no mens 10 mile records recognised in Scotland until 1971 and 10 miles races were only reported in “Cycling” if they were ladies events!

I’ve included all the records I found, some not previously listed and, as far as I could, I’ve eliminated as many of the anomalies as I can but it is very possible that I could have missed something, I cannot be 100% sure. All I can say I’ve done my best.

– Jock Shaw

*The magazine that started as ‘Cycling’ has now evolved into Cycling Weekly.

Pic of the Day: Obree World Champ 1995

Obree World Pursuit Champion 1995

An amateur from Scotland who built his own frames, trained alone and became world champion in 1993 and 1995 and broke the hour record in 1993 (51.596km) and 1994 (52.713km).

If you want to hear about this and his hour-record achievements, you can book him for speaking through Cyclevox, although he also has his own website now and may be taking bookings through his manager Charlie Milarvie.

Obree in 2000

Continuing this weekend’s Obree theme, it’s time to bring out a few links that I have been sitting on. They are to stories on an archive BBC Sport website that I came across by accident after some tweets from SMaryka relating to old doping cases (Virenque, I think it was).

8 November 2000: Obree is considering a comeback, following Boardman’s world record of 49.441km for the hour, on the UCI’s new standard traditional-style bike.

15 November 2000: a date is set for a new hour record.

To those that know the Obree story, the subtext or the following quote cannot be ignored:

Speaking soon after the UCI announced the rule-change, Obree said: “I have nothing against what the UCI are doing.
“So long as they stick to their new rules I will support them.”

As many will be aware, the UCI attempted several times to thwart his success, banning his innovative bike positions, and decreeing at the 11th hour that bikes and equipment must be available commercially.

10 December 2000: due to a virus, Obrees record bid is off.

Obree tuck 1992

In a real Obree mood this weekend so here’s some more. Further to John Galloway’s comment on the last post, here’s a picture of Obree’s tuck position in use with upturned bars before he developed his custom ‘Old Faithful’ bike that won him the hour record.

The sharper eyed amongst you migh notice that this scan of the SCU handbook 1992 was blogged at My Shaved Legs– I’m pretty sure web addresses weren’t in common use back then!

The blogger recounts his arrival in Scotland from the USA and refers to this cover as one of those “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” moments.

Graeme Obree tuck position

Inspired by Graeme Obree’s tweets and the emergence of a long-overdue website, I’m in the mood to blog a few more things about him.

Up to now I hadn’t found a decent picture of his revolutionary tuck position. He used it when he won the world individual pursuit championship and broke the hour record in 1993. I saw the image on Phil Jones’ blog and wanted to add it to my own collection of Obree pictures.

I’d blogged Graham Watson’s pic of the Superman position, which he developed after the position below was banned by the UCI. He won the individual pursuit and broke the hour record a second time riding Superman style in 1995. That too was banned by the officious UCI.

Read all about it, and his other struggles, in The Flying Scotsman: The Graeme Obree Story.

It’s the spirit of innovation and invention that I love about this. That’s a particularly Scottish trait, because as many people know, we invented just about everything.

Graeme Obree gets interactive

Graeme Obree has a new website and has started tweeting.

He is writing again- a new book about training, and I believe has been writing on mental health too. I’m not sure if there are two separate books in the pipeline or if the mental side of an athlete’s training will be part of a single book.

You can book him for talks- he appeared recently in Glasgow and Phil Jones aka Roadphil has met him a few times this year. Looking forward to hearing more from him in the near future.

Tour de Trossachs

October kicks off with the Tour de Trossachs mountain time trial, run by the Glasgow Ivy CC and stalwart race organiser Jeannette Hazlett. It is a true classic in the Scottish, and in fact the British racing calendar. Amazingly it has run since 1943.

The former winners read like a who’s who of Scottish Cycling greatness: Ian Steel in the 50s, Billy Billsland in the 60s, Robert Millar in 1978 and the 80s, Graeme Obree breaking the record on a fixed gear in the 90s, and and Jason McIntyre winning in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and breaking Obree’s record.

Continue reading

Graeme Obree on Islay

Scottish Cycling legend Graeme Obree has been on Islay, taking part in the Ardbeg Gourmet Ride and an dinner at the Ardbeg Distillery.

The pic above is taken by twmp on flickr (aka Brian Palmer’s The Washing Machine Post) – click the image to see more from the day.

Brian had been joyfully tweeting this week about Graeme visiting, and you can read all about it on The Washing Machine Post, including the ride and the custom (of course) steel bike Graeme was riding.