New world record for bicycle-generated electricity

500 riders take part in Soreen challenge at Manchester Velodrome

Dedication, Ross and Norris McWhirter, and Roy Castle making music with a teapot – for those of us of a certain age, Record Breakers was a teatime inspiration.

The latest people to follow in the footsteps of that legendary TV show are a group of 500 cyclists who gathered at Manchester Velodrome on Friday for an event organised by Soreen, the fruity malt loaf company.

Their aim? To generate as much electricity as possible in 24 hours using static bicycles and beat the Austrian record set in 2008 of 12,953 watt hours.

Olympic sprint star Iwan Thomas started the riders off at 5pm, with a pep talk and half an hour of painful pedal turning. He was joined by the first 49 other cyclists on Wattbikes. They included three men who were attempting to ride all 24 hours – Carl Cleghorn, Stuart Kinsey and David Clark – joined later that evening by a fourth, Darren Riley, who completed 18-and-a-half hours.

As well as trying to beat the record, the riders were raising money for The Christie, a specialist cancer hospital in Manchester, as Soreen had agreed to donate 5p per watt hour. And they succeeded on both counts – generating around 72,414 watt hours (this still has to be officially confirmed) to smash the previous record and raising over £3,500 in the process.

Invigilators from Guinness World Records were on hand to ensure there was fair play, with a final official figure due to be released later today. At the end of the 24 hours, they handed over an official framed certificate to Soreen's delighted MD, Paul Tripp.

What of the endurance cyclists? Carl and Stuart made it all the way while David dropped out after 23 hours after suffering from sleep deprivation and cramps. Along with Darren, they were rewarded by Soreen for their tremendous efforts – having almost broken the record on their own.

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