Custom Car Chronicle

Experiments in Speed


It is Speed Week in Bonneville. It’s not just drivers of cars and motorcycles, who are obsessed with speed. They share their passion with cyclists like Tom Donhou from England, and Fred Rompelberg from The Netherlands

Tom Donhou got inspired by the speed records on the salt flats. He designed and built his own bicycle. Not because he wanted to race at Bonneville, but because he wanted to see and feel for himself, how fast a bike could actually go. This beautifully made short documentary shows his hard work and the precision with which he works.

Tom Donhou builds his own bikes. No flashy work from low-wage countries, but hard work in a barn in picturesque Norwich. His land speed record bike is not a piece of soulless carbon. It is a a work of art and love, welded with hand-made precision. He made an authentic bicycle, just to see how fast it could go. Donhou’s short documentary tells how it feels to be in the slipstream of a car.

The video shows the love for the bike, and depicts Donhou’s exquisite craftsmanship. Donhou has no salt flats, dragster, rich sponsor or a specially developed bike. He just wanted to see how fast he could cycle on his road bike. And that is over 80 mph (128 km/h), behind his old Ford Zephyr, and later about 102 mph. (160 km/h) on the roller.

The world record, almost 269 km/h on the Bonneville salt flats, is still in the hands of former professional bike-rider Fred Rompelberg (who is from the South of the Netherlands, where the landscape is never flat).


Esther de Charon de Saint Germain

Esther is our design, art, fashion and other none-car-related-topics contributor. She is an art historian with a degree in Asian Contemporary Art , a communication professional with extensive experience in design, contemporary art, communications and events and a personal coach. She is infected with the custom car and hot rod virus (an unavoidable result of being married to Rik Hoving) but (due to being a coach and all) especially likes the stories about the people who built them.

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