Update: The record was broken! Watch the documentary of the event.

After a decade of exclusively representing injured cyclists, Megan Hottman understands the impact of advocating and supporting cycling safety. In May, Megan was hit by a car while riding, and cycling safety became even more personal than before.

On December 1, Megan is leading the spin cycle class of twenty-seven cyclists who are attempting to raise awareness and $100,000 for People For Bikes by breaking the world record for the longest static cycling class in history.

In this interview, Megan shares how she found herself attempting to break a world record, how it’s supporting cycling safety, and precisely what it looks like to break a 28-hour long world record.

Megan Hottman, more popularly known as The Cyclist Lawyer has represented over 120 cyclists in their individual cases.
Photograph by J. Rojas
Q: How did you find yourself attempting to break a world record?
The short answer is Ryan Avery, founder of Breaking History™, is a friend of mine, and he is a professional keynote speaker who likes to say, “He’s in the business of breaking world records.” He’s amazing.

With Breaking History™, he only breaks records around critical issues affecting our local community, making sure there’s a meaningful piece to the record-breaking.

He got in his heart to do a cycling world record, and he found this static attempt. He approached me back in April because of my involvement with cycling, and we started brainstorming.

“This is bigger for me than just the effort. One of the things I’ve always seen as my life legacy is making cycling safer.”
Q: How is People For Bikes involved?

Since Breaking History™ always chooses a cause to support, we went with People For Bikes for this record attempt. We wanted not only to try to raise $100,000 for People for Bikes but also bring visibility to what they do and cycling safety as a whole.

The impact People For Bikes can have with the money we’re raising is enormous. They estimate they could fund 10-12 grants with the money we’re trying to raise. It could provide things like the protected bike lane in Lincoln, Nebraska. [The cause] is very actionable, instead of hypothetical.

Q: Why choose a world record attempt? That’s no small feat.

Well, you know me, I like doing epic things on bikes, so this fulfills this need. It’s also the first year I’m not training for the Arizona Ironman in 5 years, and I needed a significant goal for my year.

But, this is bigger for me than just the effort.

 One of the things I’ve always seen as my life legacy is making cycling safer. It’s because I so profoundly believe in the power of the bike to improve our society from health and wellness, to connection, to community, to pollution reduction, and, most importantly, to happiness.

 Anything I can do within my power to move the ball forward with cycling safety, I say yes to. I really believe this event will make cycling safer, even if we don’t break the record because of the visibility. I feel really good about that.

Watch the Documentary

Q: Can you explain what breaking a static continuous world record looks like?
This is a really, rule intensive attempt. I can’t speak to what other record attempts looks like, but this one has a lot of rules.

There’s a certain amount of us who have to ride the full 28 hours to meet the requirements of the attempt, but I’m not saying how many – it could be all. I haven’t even told our riders because I don’t want that in their head while they’re riding. This is as much a mental game as it is physical.

For every hour we’re on the bike, we earn five minutes of rest. We’ve decided to ride in two-to-three-hour segments to have 10 or 15 minutes of breaks.

Where we get in trouble with this event is if anyone is late getting back on their bike after a break, even by a second, they’re done. There’s no wiggle room. 

We have to have at least four witnesses there, and for the last 8 hours, there will be a representative from Guinness present.

Q: How do you train for a 28-hour long spin class?
A lot of people are training their bladders and practicing the breaks. Some have structured their training from 3:00 pm to 3:00 am to see how they do in the late-night hours.

My approach has just been to be as healthy as possible. I don’t want to do a 12-hour ride and have to worry about knee tendonitis or an angry neck during the event. I’m not doing any sleep deprivation training – I’m just going to know that this overnight is going to be hard.

Also, I’m visualizing the finish line, the end result, and I’ve been staying fixated on the feeling of the finish. It’s been really helpful for me.

Q: What happens after the record attempt?
If we hit our fundraising goal, which is very ambitious, and we break the record, I said I would shave my head. I put that out there to rally the riders and keep everyone motivated.  We’ll do that on sight if we meet the goal. The film crew is ready. Ryan has the clippers ready, and I’ve already talked to my hairdresser to be able to cut it in a certain way to donate it.