Valley Center woman cruises into record books, pedaling bike more than 180 mph

Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 13:23:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A 45-year old Valley Center woman has smashed the world speed record — by either a man or woman — for pedaling a bicycle.

Denise Mueller-Korenek maintained an average speed of 183.9 miles an hour over a mile stretch. 

"We were haulin! So, this is exciting," said Mueller-Korenek in a Facebook live post shortly after her record-setting run at the Boneville Salt Flats Sunday.

"Wow, we're still actually on 'Cloud 9' here, said Mueller-Korenek, "We skipped the entire 170s basically, we'll see what the average is." 

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That average over a mile stretch would be 183.9 miles an hour; Mueller-Korenek actually pedaling the bike at that speed while following closely behind a modified dragster which broke the wind resistance and created drag. Rider and driver must be in sync to keep the rider in a maximum speed sweet spot.

Mueller-Korenek crushed the previous record, set by a Dutchman in 1995, by nearly 17 miles hour; a testament to her athletic ability and a support team that included SD Wheel Works, a bicycle shop in Miramar.

Owner Killian Landers says his lead mechanic, Chris Garcia, became the lead builder of the specialized bike that would be used for the record. Among the modifications, adapting a motorcycle rim to a bicycle tire for optimal strength and speed.

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"They were trying to figure out a way to get rubber that was fast enough and light enough," said Landers, "That they could actually maintain, you know, over 150 miles an hour."

Another big modification: Building a bike geared extremely high. Meaning many more sprockets at the pedals than the drive wheel.

"To give it perspective," said Landers, "One revolution crank - or one crank of the revolution is 133 feet. Is what you're going to be traveling." 

A gear ratio way too high for any person to pedal from a stop, which is why Mueller-Korenek was towed up 80 miles an hour before pedaling on her own and increasing the bike's speed to the 183.9mph record. 

"The fact that we obliterated the record by 15 miles an hour was really a big deal," said Landers, "Usually, when records are broken it's maybe by points or maybe just a mile or two."

Mueller-Korenek trained for six years for the feat. She says she's now ready for a little break.