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Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 16:52 UK
Norfolk man to set land speed record on wooden bicycle
Michael Thompson outside his workshop in Potter Heigham
Michael will be designing and building the bike in his eco-shed made of soil

A man from Potter Heigham in Norfolk is hoping to set a land speed record on a bicycle made entirely from wood.

Michael Thompson has been inspired to attempt the feat by the Tour of Britain which passed through Norfolk for the first time on 16 September 2010.

It's the first time anybody has attempted to set the record on a 100% wooden bicycle.

"People have tried but they very rarely manage to succeed without using some metal component," said Mr Thompson.

"We're going to be throwing down the gauntlet on this one so anything between 25 and 30mph is going to be good for us," he added.

The project has attracted a lot of attention and has already secured sponsorship from major companies.

"We've been very fortunate really. We've managed to capture a lot of people's interest mainly through the website for the bike project but also on Twitter as well," said Mr Thompson.

Birch plywood

While building the frame from wood shouldn't be a problem, it's the moving parts that may prove tricky.

Birch plywood will be used for the majority of the frame with exotic hardwoods being used for some of the mechanisms.

Michael Thompson admits that there is no definitive design as yet.

"We've got a few ideas - we're going to have to do a lot of prototyping and testing," he said.

"We've set ourselves about a month to get this designed and built and then another couple of weeks of testing before we actually try and set the land speed record."

The finished article will be ridden by James Tully, a triathlete from Norwich.

The team is also looking for a location with a flat surface where they can attempt the record.

"If anyone knows of any good smooth private roads that we can set the record on, ideally at least half a mile long please let us know," said Mr Thompson.

As well as aiming to secure a place in the record books, the project is also raising funds for ShelterBox, a charity which delivers boxes of aid to victims of natural and manmade disasters.


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