Loaded question, but the answer is 296 kph! Faster than anybody on the planet. And not any woman, of course. The cycling land speed record is now held by Denise Mueller-Korenek, who recently smashed the previous world record of 269 kph, which had been held by Dutchman Fred Rompelberg since 1995.

Racing driver Shea Holbrook (left) and cyclist Denise Mueller celebrate the new record (Photos by Matt Ben Stone/Getty Images)

It’s called motor-pacing

The only way to reach such insane speeds on a bicycle is to ride directly behind a motorised vehicle travelling at the same insane speed. The Bonneville salt flats in Utah are the most famous location for this type of racing. And on the 17th of September 2018, Denise Mueller-Korenek rode her bike behind a specially-modified drag racing car, piloted by professional racing driver Shea Holbrook, and hit a maximum average speed over one mile of 296 kph (183.93 mph).

Life in the fast lane Photo: Matt Ben Stone/Getty Images

Oops, we went too fast…

“We weren’t supposed to go faster than 175mph!” Mueller-Korenek said after breaking the record, which was above the agreed maximum speed the event organisers had set. Mueller-Korenek, a 45-year-old American mother of three children, is no stranger to cycling. She was “born into a family of daredevils”, according to her Wikipedia entry. (Her father was an ultra-distance cyclist who celebrated his 70th birthday by riding his bike 19,000km around the entire perimeter of the continental United States… and her mother raced midget demolition-derby cars.)

Mueller-Korenek (left) and Holbrook talk tactics  Photo: Matt Ben Stone/Getty Images

Hard work and talent

This kind of world record does not come out of the blue. When she was a teenager, Denise was already a very good cyclist: she entered road racing, track and mountain bike events, and won a total of 15 national US titles. She also entered the UCI World Championships, but retired when she was 19 years old. She went on to run the family security business and start a family. But eventually she got back on the bike and started riding again in 2009, setting the women’s bicycle land speed record of 237 kph in 2016. Now she is the fastest-ever human on a motor-paced bicycle. #Respect.