Making the most of The Great Outdoors:- Cycling- Backpacking- Walking- Camping and Caravanning.
After five years touring in 'Eva the Eriba' my Eriba Touring Troll 540 I am currently based on Dartmoor in Devon UK in 'Sophie the Swift' my Swift Challenger 565....
........... Currently having a battle with Terminal Blood.. Bone and Thyroid Cancer but busy still living.....
I have just been reading about the late Tommy Godwin 1912 - 1975.
He was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England and as a youngster in an effort to help support his family, he took a job as a delivery boy for a greengrocers and with the job came a very heavy iron delivery bike.......this was Tommy's introduction to cycling.
By all accounts Tommy used to ride this bike at breakneck speed on his delivery rounds. At the age of fourteen he hacked the basket off and used that bike to enter his first time trial and actually won the event with a time of 65 mins over 25 miles.
Some years later Tommy left his amateur status with Potteries CC and joined Rickmansworth Cycling Club as a professional.
Now, back in 1911 the weekly magazine -Cycling- began a competition for the greatest distance cycled in a single year. The first holder was Marcel Planes of France with a distance of 34,666 miles (55,790kms). The record has been established nine times.
Tommy Godwin set out at 5am on the morning of 1st January 1939 to bring the record home. The record had been previously set by Ossie Nicholson of Australia in 1937 and stood at 62,657 miles (100,837kms).
Tommy was sponsored by the Raleigh Bicycle Company and Sturmey Archer. He was riding a Raleigh Ace bike that had a four speed Sturmey Archer hub gear. The bike weighed about 30lbs.
Throughout 1939 for the most part, Tommy would get up at 3am and cover over 200 miles (320kms) a day and he could spend over 18 hours in the saddle. After the first two months his mileage lagged behind Nicholson's schedule by over 922 miles, so Tommy had to increase his daily mileage to claw back the deficit and edge ahead.
He managed to gain the record with over two months spare and carried on. His total mileage for the year was 75,065 miles. He also continued riding right through until May 1940 when, after 500 days he also secured the 100,000 miles record as well.
Tommy Godwin dismounted and spent weeks learning how to walk again before setting off to war with the RAF.
He died at the age of sixty three returning from a ride with friends.
The record is still open for challenge but not for entry in the Guinness Book of Records, whose editors say further attempts would be too dangerous.
I really love distance cycling, but Tommy Godwins achievements make my annual mileage look like a ride in the park by comparison...............