Cycle Heroes December 17, 2009

Obree attempts to beat hour cycling challenge

Graeme Obree is a legend in British cycling. Coming from nowhere and riding a bike he made himself, Scotsman Obree broke the World Hour record twice in consecutive years, in 1993 (cycling 51.596 km) and 1994 (cycling 52.713 km). Last month, and having trained for 18 months around his home town of Ayr, Obree tried to regain his old record, once more on a home made bike. But he was not able to make it a success, third time round. Unfortunately his fixed wheel bike, made using Reynolds 653 tubing and sporting a huge 67 inch chain-ring was not well suited to the banked circuit of Manchester's Velodrome. The main problem arose from Obree's riding style and the influence of the banked corners. Although it was suggested (by his psychologist) he should not make another attempt, Obree said he would have regretted it had he not given it one last shot.    

Obree has had a chequered life outside of his cycling achievements, suffering from clinical depression and twice attempting suicide. He is currently writing a book about the illness called "A Survivor's Guide to Depression'. If you are interested in learning more about Obree he wrote his autobiography in 2003, calling it 'The Flying Scotsman' (his nickname). In 2006 a film with the same title was released telling his story, starring Johnny Lee Miller (of Trainspotting fame). 

Earlier this month, British Cycling honoured the Top 50 cyclists in it's Hall of Fame - and Obree was included amongst those individuals. Obree's inclusion came from public nominations and shows he has a very special place in the history of British cycling. 

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