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Around The World On A Cycle

By Staff
Another unique cycling record is made by Joff Summerfield, who has been around the world on his cycle alone.

A British cyclist has pedaled his way around the world on a Penny Farthing, a handmade replica of a Victorian bicycle, passing through important landmarks like India's Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex and the Grand Canyon in the USA.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the cyclist in question is Joff Summerfield, who visited 23 countries in four continents after setting off from 0 degrees latitude at the Greenwich Observatory, UK, two-and-a-half years ago.

He averaged 11mph and covered up to 40 miles a day as he cycled across Europe into Turkey before riding through Australia and New Zealand. n Australia, he raced in the Penny Farthing World Championships and came second in one of the 'novice' categories.

From China, where he cycled without the correct permits, he managed to sneak across the border into Tibet despite his bike's giant front wheel that is 1.2 metres in diameter.

He then took in India and Nepal, where he crossed the Himalayas at 17,000ft (5,200m) and made it to Everest base camp. Summerfield, who was forced to abort two previous attempts through injury, next rode through Southeast Asia, the USA and Canada before heading for home.

En route, he took in landmarks including India's Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex and the Grand Canyon in the USA. According to Summerfield, he is the first man to complete the circumnavigation on a penny farthing, since Thomas Stevens in 1887.

Summerfield, who used to work as a Formula 1 engineer, had always wanted to cycle around the world, but it was only when he started building penny farthings that he decided the big wheeler would be his vehicle of choice.

His bike had just one fixed gear, a hard leather saddle, a small brake and solid rubber tyres with no modern technology to make pedalling easier. Cycling alone with water bottles strapped to his handlebars and with no back up, he travelled light with just a change of clothes, stove, tent and sleeping bag and survived on a 5 pounds a day.

After arriving back in Greenwich, Summerfield said, "I cannot believe I have actually finished the trip. It is amazing to be back." "For me, the bike sums up a great period of adventure - a time of real exploration, of journeys without maps," he added. Summerfield now hopes to write a book about his adventure.

Well, Joff Summerfield's book is sure to be an interesting one and his fans look forward to it.

Story first published: Monday, November 10, 2008, 4:36 [IST]