The Flying Scotsman

“Graeme Obree”




A name unknown to people including me.

Yesterday my luck was strong and got an oppurtunity to grab the remote control. Of course it was not so early but had already struck past 10 in the night.Channel 26 on my TV and Star movies was on.

Not aware which movie is on, but an interesting shot of cycling going on. Showed a cyclist riding on a very odd kind of bike riding in a very awkward position. Initially could not guess what is happening but just realized his mission failed.

Later he was shown drinking glasses of water, running to the toilet followed by a set of exercises done done whole night.

Early morning back on the velodrome.

From there on I understood what he is all upto. The target was to brake a record of maximum distance riding in an hour. With in 24 hours of First failed attempt, he was again on the mission. And this time he made it. Riding 51.596 kms in one hour and breaking a 9 years old record. He was Graeme Obree, The Flying Scotsman.

This is a true story of Graeme Obree who broke the world hour record twice in career. He also won the individual pursuit (4000 m) world championship in 1993 and 1995. He was known for his unusual riding positions and for a bicycle “Old Faithful” he built which included parts from a washing machine.


Personal life of Graeme was a bit tragic. Facts like his newly made and 9 years old broken record lasted hardly for a week were rather depressing. His self made cycle called “ Old Faithful” was banned in a dubious manner by the Union Cyclist Internationale. Going beyond this, his riding position was also banned and was kept uninformed until one hour before he began the world championship pursuit in Italy. Result was his disqualification. Later his another newly found riding position called “ Superman Style” was also banned. Being under regular depression, no wonder this passionate guy attempted suicide 2-3 times in life. But something motivated him to stand tall and break records.


I didn't tell myself that I will attempt the record, I said I would break it.”

He returned to the velodrome next year and made a new record of 52.7 kms in one hour.

Such real stories always attract me. I can feel these people's passion for the work and their struggle. It inspires me a lot.

I wish you all also to experience this feeling. So do try to watch or read “The Flying Scotsman”.

P.S.: Just came to know today about a similar story of an Indian player Mir Ranjan Negi, a Hockey player who went through all the humiliations after 1982 asian games, but made it big in the end. A real story transformed into todays well known “Chak de India” movie. More details of it, may be in another post.

The Flying Scotsman The Flying Scotsman Reviewed by Ka Jo on February 12, 2009 Rating: 5
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