Manufacturers from all over the world strive to make fastest, lightest, sturdiest and most beautiful bicycles. New and new “-est” models keep appearing every day, and such new are actually not surprising. Well, how about the longest bike ever made?
Second-year students of an Austrian university joined forces with Santos company staff to design the world’d longest bicycle. The length of this contraption ― if measured from the forwardmost point of the front wheel and to the rearmost point of the rear one ― is a whopping 41.9 meters (161 feet)! The project was implemented in steel by Wildrite company. But why would students waste precious time on developing something like that instead of reading up for upcoming exams? The major driving impulse for creating the bicycle was motivation. Wildrite and Santos are the largest companies in Austria to offer employment for students graduating from engineering departments. Needless to say, the designers of the longest bike just couldn’t miss the opportunity to demonstrate their technical and creative skill to the potential future employers.
The main requirement for the new record to be recognized was not so simple to meet: the vehicle had to ride at least 100 meters (328 feet) without any of its riders touching the ground. This particular distance was covered in the Netherlands when the previous similar record was set. At that time the length of the bicycle was 35,79 meters (117, 4 feet). Well, on January 17th, 2015 the previous record was officially surpassed when twenty riders managed to cover the coveted 100-meter track.
As if sheer length wasn’t impressive enough, the giant Austrian bike features other mind-blowing parameters. The total weight of all the details joined together (excluding the seats) was almost 2500 kg, which is more than 5500 pounds. The bike’s design includes six identical parts (each accounts for approximately six meters), which bridge together the front and the rear wheels to give us the total length of approximately 42 meters. Three hour of hard work were required just to put all the parts together.
However, they had to make the thing move, so it was fitted with several really complex engineering know-hows. Naturally enough, the most challenging part was the 90-meter chain which served to link dozens of gears into a smoothly running mechanism. The rear wheel was a truly unique piece of engineering. Only one copy was manufactured from a metal cylinder with a diameter of 80-centimeter (31.5”). The front wheel was easier ― the resourceful students just used a chassis wheel dismantled from a plane.
The mechanism was expected to move with the average speed of 10 kmph (6.2 mph) while the pull was supplied by 19 diligently pedaling people. The bike accommodates 20, but the first rider (the lucky chap) just manipulates the handle bar. The last rider (the unlucky chap) as two responsibilities. Not only he pedals like the rest 18, but also controls the disc brakes installed on the rear wheel.