I got excited when I caught a glimpse of this picture…Thinking that it was a geared flywheel that could transfer the energy in braking, into usable force for acceleration and/or adding to cruising speed. Alas it’s just an insanely large chain-ring designed to demonstrate the size of the nuts carried by this French rider.
In 1962, José Meiffret used this odd-looking bike to ride down the German Autobahn at an incredible, record-breaking 127 miles per hour. That gigantic gear had 130 teeth. The bike had wooden rims to keep it from overheating. It weighed 45 pounds. And it went fast. As. Hell.
Meiffert practiced a type of cycling called “motor-paced racing” in which, rather than riding with a group of other cyclists, the racer rides behind a motorcycle or a car equipped with a wind-screen. American Cyclist explained it like this, in a 1965 article on Meiffret’s exploits:
Racing behind motorist is quite different from racing in a group. Behind motors, the speed is higher, the pedaling faster, the concentration greater. It is like a continuous sprint. A motor-paced rider must have suppleness rather than strength. And he must have flair.
Also, a high tolerance for risk. Riding at these speeds —…
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