Atlantic Cities

Unusual Urban Pastime of the Day: Subway Speed Riding

Unusual Urban Pastime of the Day: Subway Speed Riding
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Adham Fisher and Andy James have a very particular idea of what it means to have fun. Fisher and James are subway-philes with a singular goal: to ride end to end on major subway systems faster than anyone else. Already, James holds the speed record for the London underground; until recently, Fisher was the top dog in Chicago.

Turns out, this is a highly regulated activity. According to Untapped Cities:

If you were curious about the rules of the world records, there are a few categories. The rules were set forth by the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee in 1966 by Peter Samson as part of an artificial intelligence experiment. A Class A designation requires you to cover all lines without exiting the system, but to be recognized as a record breaker in the Guinness Book of World Records, the objective of the subway ride is stop at all train spots (no express trains). This is considered a “Class B” categorization and for the Guinness title, riders are permitted to exit and enter on a new fare. The second class, Class C, is passing all stops in the subway system without needing to stop.

In 1940, Herman Rinke became the first person to take on the subway speed challenge in New York. He did so on a five-cent fare. The latest New York record (22:52:36) was set in 2009. Fisher and James came to New York recently to try and claim the honor for themselves - sadly, they were 18 minutes shy. “New York is massive and difficult," James told Untapped.

Never fear though, there are new cities to conquer. Fisher is headed back to Chicago to reclaim his title before moving onto Toronto.

Photo credit: emin kuliyev/Shutterstock.com

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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