Flying Scotsman Sportive

We are delighted to announce a brand new event, The Flying Scotsman Sportive with the routes specially chosen by Graeme Obree.  Anyone who has followed Graeme Obree and is familiar with his biography 'The Flying Scotsman" will be aware of the history of 'The Valley' with Galston, Newmills and Darvel prominent  during Graeme's early cycling days.

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Two years ago Graeme Obree set himself the challenge to build a bike capable of competing at the IHPVA World Speed Championship at Battle Mountain, Nevada. True to style Obree kept the approach simple, building his bike, The Beastie, in his kitchen using a mix of recycled bits and pieces, including an old sauce pan.  Obree is a man well known for adopting an unorthodox approach, well known for his battles with mental illness, well known for extraordinary achievement. The challenges to his ambition, to make the journey to Battle Mountain and mount a bid for the human powered world speed record, came in many shapes and forms and ultimately turned a one year project into two year marathon. Obree finally made the start line of the IHPVA World Speed Championship in Battle Mountain Nevada during September 2013. 


Journey Pictures has followed Obree every step of the way and has massed over 200 hours of footage which chronicles Obree as he faces up to the size, the scale and complexity of the challenge of propelling the human form through the atmosphere, of training the human body to perform to its maximum. The documentary footage gets inside access to Obree like no other and witnesses the unfolding of a human and personal drama of raw and emotional intensity.

Photo: Humans Invent

However, in order to finish the project Journey Pictures needs to put in place the funding to allow the completion of what has been a very complex jigsaw. With such a diversity of footage the challenge to complete a final edit is time consuming and expensive. Journey Pictures has set up a Kickstarter campaign to enable Graeme Obree fans all over the world to become part of what may become his greatest legacy. Journey Pictures requires £20,000 to finish the project which started in 2011 and deliver what will be an inspirational, captivating and dramatic documentary about one of life’s most enigmatic, interesting and iconic individuals. Individuals who choose to invest in the project will play a vital role to help bring this documentary to fruition.

View the
Kickstarter campaign



General Information

  • Journey Pictures is a boutique filmmaker based in Glasgow. Set up by David Street, the company aspires to deliver captivation, engaging and challenging content, content which is unique and which stimulates thought, discussion and inspires imagination.  More info at
  • Kickstarter is an online funding platform for creative projects. Individuals and groups can pledge financial support for projects in return for defined benefits. Backers pledge support for a number of reasons. Some are rallying around their friends' projects. Some are supporting people they've long admired. Many are just inspired by a new idea. Others are inspired by a project's rewards — a copy of what's being made, a limited edition, or a custom experience related to the project.


The journey home from Battle Mountain is akin to a version of ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’ setting off from Battle Mountain on Saturday to arrive in Glasgow on Monday a battle weary but happy team. How can you sum up Battle Mountain, a town Described as ‘The Armpit of America.’ Whoever attributed that description surely is senseless in the truest meaning of the word. Battle Mountain and the surrounding location is stunning. Located in a valley at over 4000 feet elevation and surrounded by stunning panoramic ranges, this is a location which brings to mind the glorious scenery used in some of the iconic ‘Western’ movies.

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Graeme broke the Prone world record with speed recorded at 56.62mph legal launch and legal wind.


Post by Charlie Milarvie.

Obree HPV

Over the last couple of days the weather has been a bit of a challenge which led to the cancellation of the evening runs on Wednesday and really windy conditions yesterday evening. In the Morning run Graeme secured a time of over 53 mph which is a World Record in the Prone 2 wheeled category.

Today (Friday) is a big day and we hope the weather allows Graeme the opportunity to do a good run on The Beastie. Part of the learning curve at Battle Mountain is to work out how to read the conditions and most importantly how to manage your effort on Highway 305. Graeme now has a few rides under his belt so can judge his effort with much more precision. Earlier in the week he was peaking too soon with maximum speeds being achieved some way before entering the traps.It is clear that the aerodynamic shape of The Beastie is a limiting factor in terms of speed but we can find out for certain today if the weather permits and he gives a well judged ride and maximises output and speed on entry to the speed traps. Mechanically Beastie is now sound and the limiting factor in terms of speed are the aerodynamics. We are unsure of the maximum speed potential for Beastie but feel that it will not be too far removed from the speeds outputted at present - a +55mph would be a great result for Graeme.

Yesterday Graeme was offered a ride on another bike 'Vortex'which is a bike designed by a team from the University of Toronto and has a good record in terms of spped and stability. Graeme is scheduled to run a qualifier on Vortex at 0940 this morning. A good old Scottish /Canadian collaboration

Post by Charlie Milarvie. Photo - Rick Robson, Cycle Sport Photos.

Obree-post-rideHaving spent much of Tuesday on the challenge to re-gear The Beastie it was good to arrive at the start of the 5 mile route on Highway 305. However squally winds and a cloudy sky were pointing at less than ideal conditions. It proved to be a difficult morning with a number of bikes crashing but Graeme manged to complete the course despite mechanical issues and an unshipped chain and clocking just short of 51 mph through the traps.

The weather deteriorated through the day leading to the cancellation of the event.

For his Birthday Graeme was again buried deep in Beastie parts as he carried out emergency repairs to alleviate some friction issues as the rear tyre had been rubbing on the run and to determine how the chain had unshipped. Hoping to see some better weather Thursday.


Photo - Rick Robson, Cycle Sport Photos.

Graeme Obree HPVGraeme did not get a ride in either the morning or evening sessions. Instead the day was spent regearing The Beastie - which is much more complex than it sounds. Essentially Graeme had to strip The beastie down bit by bit, exchange one 17 sprocket for a 12 sprocket then rebuild the entire bike. This takes hours. Then he travelled to one of the quiet surrounding roads to test and ensure mechanical integrity then reinstall into the fairing. This type of thing is normal at Battle Mountain. Around the Motels open sided tents are a feature at IHPVA Speed Challenge - these serve as workshops for the teams and team mechanics/engineers. There is work going on at all hours with bikes being stripped down, a constant flow of repairs to the bikes and their fairings.

Earlier in the day we attended a 'Show and Tell' where most of the teams take their bikes where they are open for the public to inspect. There are no trade team secrets secrets at Battle Mountain, you can inspect the inner workings of all the bikes, the steering systems, gearing used, the body styling and material preference. Not many other sports would have such an openness regarding design - but the event is all the better for adopting such a culture and spirit.

Graeme is riding on Wednesday morning at 07.45.

CSP 1705s

The journey to Battle Mountain has been one of the long and winding sorts. Graeme has been working on this for 2 years and in that time never had an opportunity to test The Beastie in anything like the conditions at Battle Mountain. Highway 305 is a work of wonder - it is as straight as a die for over 5 miles and has the smoothest road surface. Not only that but it is one of the most beautiful locations surrounded by mountains and nature. We passed a herd of Long Horn deer on Monday as we recced the course and we have been told to watch for scorpions and snakes! We are fortunate also in that the IHPVA community have been very welcoming and helpful. There is a great deal of experince, insight and intellect represented at Battle Mountain and teams are happy to collaborate and share information.

The runs on the Beastie have been really useful - Graeme is on the steepest section of the learning curve. The runs yesterday have shown there is some work needing done - most importantly a change in the gearing. Graeme felt undergeared on the runs yesterday and the impact on cadence did not help with steering meaning Graeme had to back off on the effort as he was concentrating so hard on staying upright. His speeds through the traps do not reflec the speed achieved on the course where he topped out at over 55mph on the short course according to information from The Chase car.

The mission today is to alter the gearing and hope to get a slot in the evening run on 305 though we may need to requalify on the short course tomorrow morning. We have a new recruit to the team. Scottish Daily Record Journalist, Gary Ralston who is on location at Battle Mountain following Graeme in hie IHPVA speed pursuit. Graeme needed somebody to assist with the launch of The Beastie - and this can be tricky, gary was not slow in coming forward. He has now assumed the role of Launcher. Welcome Big Chief Launcher!


Post by Charlie Milarvie. Photo Rick Robson, Cycle Sport Photos.



Battle Mountain is a spectacular place and no more spectacular as the teams assembled beside Highway 305 at dawn just as the sun started it's gradual rise above the mountains surrounding the highway. There are quite a mix of nationalities present at The IHPVA Speed Challenge with teams from Russia, Australia, France, Holland, Germany, Canada and of course Scotland / UK. The teams were awaiting the signal for the road closure which only happens once the school bus has gone through transporting the local pupils to school in Battle Mountain.

Graeme was drawn to set of 3rd in the 2.5m trial. It takes a few minutes to align himself inside the Beastie and have the lid sealed. Getting the balance at the launch can be tricky and we were fortunate to secure the services of Scottish Daily Record journalist, Gary Ralson in Battle Mountain to follow Graeme's progress for his paper. Gary stepped up to take on role as launcher a task he carried out with some distinction.

Graeme and Beastie disappeared from view as the speed picked up. The Chase vehicle set off quickly behind. The run proved successful with Graeme returning a maximum speed in excess of 55mph but slowing down on approach to the speed traps.This is an excellent start to the event as Graeme has no experience of the course and little of how The Beastie performs in conditions with a really smooth road surface and minimal wind.

The recorded time will be posted later today and Graeme scheduled for a run on the 5 mile course early this evening.


UPDATE! Time confirmed as 46.8 mph.


Post by Charlie Milarvie, Maximise Sport. Photo by Rick Robson, Cycle Sport Photos

Dugway-Wendover-20130906-00152So we have been in USA for a couple of days now. We had an overnight in Salt Lake City on Thursday and travelled to Elko on Friday.We collected the Beastie from the shipper Enviroco/Asco Freight Management. The drive to Elko takes you past the Bonneyville Salt Flats and over the mountains. The scenery is dramatic and the weather matched with electric storms. We arrived Elko Friday evening. Managed some training for an hour on Friday. Saturday morning was devoted to working on The Beastie with a session on the bike in the afternoon. The weather is hot and the air is really dry. We head to Battle Mounain today with the IHPVA Speed Challenge starting tomorrow morning. 

Charlie Milarvie.


Photos of the unboxing of "The Beastie," the bike Graeme has created to challenge the 85mph human powered vehicle speed record at Battle Mountain.

Photos from Rick Robson,



Obree Sportive2013 Graeme Obree Sportive Times

Thanks and well done to everyone who participated the the Graeme Obree Ayrshire Family Cycle and The 2013 Graeme Obree Ayrshire Sportive at the weekend. We hope you enjoyed the route and the support put into create an event which is challenging but fun also. Particular thanks to the marshals, British Red Cross and St Andrews Ambulance for providing the first aid, the assistance of the Police in managing the main traffic points and also to Greg Davidson at Auchincruive SAC. We will publish dates for next years event soon. The results/times for the sportive rides are available below and as a download here: 2013 Graeme Obree Ayrshire Sportive times

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Come and see Graeme speak at the Keswick Mountain Festival on Thurs 16th May at The Theatre By The Lake.

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The IHPVA Speed Challenge is scheduled from 9-14th September 2013 at Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States. Teams from across the world will be in attendance with an eye on  current record holder, Sam Whittingham's world speed record. Graeme has completed hand building the bike for the challenge, Beastie and is looking forward to unveilling Beastie complete with the new fairing on 25th June 2013.

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The fear is not actually not reaching 100 miles per hour, the fear is being 90, in a chair, in an old folks’ home, saying ‘I should have gone for that.’ - Graeme Obree


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