What middle-aged male raised in the British Commonwealth wasn’t entranced by stories of the Blue Bird land speed racers, attempting to break the ‘Flying Mile’? Or the streamlined Golden Arrow? Numerous airstrips and Royal Air Force bases in the United Kingdom have played host to record attempts over the years, a list which is about to include a Donhou Bicycle.
To build a serious land speed record breaker you need to be both a brilliant engineer and a little nutty, perhaps less so if it’s a bicycle. Still, Tom got the bug and, with a disused airstrip just near his house and the skills to fabricate any beautiful bicycle he likes, designed a contender for the British land speed record on a motor-paced pushie.
Tom maintains that despite appearances, this is a relatively ‘normal’ bike, similar in construction to one he’d build for any customer. There’s extra rake on the forks to increase stability at speed, assisted by the frame’s oversized Columbus Max tubing and the extra low bottom bracket supporting that incredible chain ring.
The 104-tooth ring was machined by Cliff Polton and the team of four engineers that make up Royce UK LTD, who also donated the rear hub to the project. The hubs were laced into tubular ENVE SES rims by August Wheelworks, to minimize the risk of losing a clincher tire at untested speeds. Naturally, an Avid disc brake was used to brake the front wheel and avoid cooking the rim.
By the way, I came up with the name ‘Flying Miler’ myself, as Tom’s land speed bike didn’t have a romantic title such as ‘Bluebird’ or ‘Golden Arrow’. Perhaps it should be named ‘The Gannet‘, after one of the United Kingdom’s fastest birds—although it can be used as reference to someone who eats too much, similar to ‘glutton’. Still, that chain ring does bear a certain resemblance. What do you think?
For the full build process and complete component list, head to the Donhou Bicycles website. Tom is also producing a short film in association with Spindle Productions. The full length version will be released shortly but here’s a teaser to tide you over: