It was the moment I heard Graeme Obree talk about drinking pints and pints of water before he went to bed to ensure he would get up every hour to go to the toilet as a method of ensuring his muscles would not get stiff that I realised just what a maverick and genius he is. 

It wasn’t, to be clear, the peeing that would prevent the stiffness; it was the regularity of his awakenings which would, in turn, allow him to stretch off, that would stop it.

In the three decades since Obree employed this off-the-wall method it has, unsurprisingly, not been adopted by the wider sporting community. But it remains a brilliant idea, and one that did the job he required.

Scotland has produced its fair share of incredible sportspeople. And Obree deserves to be included on that list.

Thirty years ago today, Obree attempted to break the world hour record, which is tested by how far an individual can cycle round a velodrome in an hour.

Some of the sport’s greatest names have held the record: Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Chris Boardman, Miguel Indurain and Bradley Wiggins. But none did it quite like Obree.

On July 16, 1993, the Ayrshire rider made his first attempt at the  record held, at that time, by Moser who had ridden 51.151km.

Obree sat on the start line, on a bike he called “Old Faithful” that he had made in his kitchen in Ayrshire and that included scrap metal and washing machine bearings, ready to ride in a position no one had imagined.

With his arms folded into his body and hunched over the handlebars, it was nicknamed “the tuck” position and came about, as did his bike, as a result of years of experimenting with aerodynamics.

He was called mad by some, but really he was an innovator who was light years ahead of his time.

Obree’s first attempt ended in failure. He fell almost a kilometre short of the record.

Most  riders would have slinked off home, disappointed at their failure.

But not Obree. He doesn’t do things “normal” people do.

Obree vowed to try again the next day, hence the over-hydration approach that he theorised would prevent him stiffening up. As crazy as it was, it worked.

He was at the velodrome by 7.55am and began his attempt five minutes later.  This time, he broke the record, by 445m, riding 51.596km.

The difference between the attempts was, said Obree, purely mental: “The day before, I had been a mouse. Now I was a lion.”

In the months and years that followed, things were far from smooth for Obree. His record lasted only a week, with Englishman Chris Boardman improving upon it, his innovative riding position was banned and although Obree became world champion in 1993 and 1995, and regained the hour record in 1994, his life has been blighted by mental health issues that, at their worst, saw him attempt suicide.

But thankfully, he now seems at peace with himself.

I’ve met Obree numerous times. He has always been a force of nature. Even at the age of 57, this remains true.

He is undoubtedly eccentric, but in the best possible way. He talks at a million miles an hour and goes off at tangents every 10 seconds.

There are few more inspirational individuals to hear speak about their journey and even for people who don’t know anything about cycling as a sport, it is impossible not to be captivated by Obree’s personality and story.

He has had a life with more ups and downs than most. But what is so refreshing is that, when it comes to his cycling career anyway, he has few regrets.

He doesn’t regret doing things his way rather than following the pack and he doesn’t regret turning his back on a career in professional road racing due to his desire to stay well away from performance-enhancing drugs.

Interestingly, one of the few things he does regret is that admission he used a part from a washing machine to build Old Faithful, as in the end, the story ended up being that he built his bike out of a washing machine, instead of the truth, which is that Obree is an innovator who sees potential in everything and anything.

At the time, he said: “My biggest fear isn’t crashing this bike at 85mph and losing my skin. It’s sitting in a chair at 90 years old and thinking ‘I wish I’d done more’.”

That he used bearings from a washing machine is not a negative, it is an indication of what a brilliant mind the man has.

In every conversation about Scotland’s great sportsmen, Obree has to be included. His achievements, and his genius, is appreciated; he’s had books and films written about him, a street in his home town named after him and not one elite Scottish cyclist since has failed to name him as an inspiration.

It is unfair that, for all his greatness, he is not the superstar he should be. Although I’m not sure he would want that.

Three decades on from one of his greatest feats, and we have not seen anyone like him again. Setting that hour record remains an accomplishment that is right up there with anything any Scottish sportsman or woman has achieved and it is just as impressive today as it was back then.