Published 28 July 2005
New USA 1 km record!
Gart Smitt kicked a new USA footbike record on the 1 km in 2.02.29 minutes!
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
July 23, 2005
The first U.S. official time set for a one kilometer time trial on a pushbike was recorded on Saturday, July 23, at the Major Taylor Velodrome by Indianapolis' Gary Schmitt (53).
Schmitt rode the distance in 2.02.19 minutes on the flat lane, or inside apron, of the banked track, with officials of the United States Cycling Federation, Mike Hanley, Ken Nowakowski, and Phil Stephens overseeing the event. The record setting was part of a program of
racing at the Velodrome preceding the start of the annual CIBA Nite Ride and was well-attended by cycling enthusiasts from throughout the Midwest.
The pushbike is an unfamiliar vehicle in the U.S. but is more popular in Europe, especially in countries where scooters and kicksleds are traditionally used and raced. A combination of bike and scooter, the pushbike weighs about 8 kilo. The rider stands on a flat footboard between the front bicycle wheel and the smaller back wheel and powers himself by pushing off the ground with his feet, scooter-style, with five to ten pushes on each side before switching legs. Top speed range for the pushbike is about 29-32 k/h.
Gary Schmitt is a road and track cyclist who has pushbiked for about a year. His time on Saturday was his personal best, and competitive with those recorded by European riders. "I went out a little fast, as I thought I might because of the crowd," he said. "Things went smoothly enough until the start of the second lap when my back wheel lost grip in the turn and skittered sideways a little." Schmitt recovered and crossed the brick finish line after three and one quarter laps in front of an appreciative crowd.
Pushbikes are currently not for sale in Indianapolis bike shops but can be ordered online directly from European manufacturers such as kickbike.com. Schmitt estimates there are very few pushbike riders in central Indiana. He says he gets a lot of curious looks when he trains, primarily at Eagle Creek Park and on local trails. "Pushbikes have been used by marathoners and cyclists as cross-training. They give a great full-body workout similar to cross-country skiing, without much impact stress on hips, knees, and ankles."
As the Velodrome's program of racing was ending at about 10:30 p.m., the Nite Ride was about to start. Outside the gates, there was a party atmosphere as over 2500 amateur cyclists geared up for the annual 20 mile ride through downtown Indianapolis by night. Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA), Major Taylor Velodrome, and Indianapolis Hand Center, were the primary organizers of the evening's activities. The Nite Ride is second only in size to the Hilly Hundred on CIBA's event calendar.
IKSA (international Kicksled and Scooter Assocation)