Cycling

Cycling Europe… On A Penny Farthing!

LeTour_London_AMS1I’ve mentioned the first two days of the Tour de France 2014 frequently in recent months as it will be visiting Yorkshire, the region where I myself was born and grew up. I haven’t really written about day 3 of Le Tour which will see the cyclists set off from Cambridge, destination London. I do live here in the south of England so I shouldn’t ignore it! Someone who isn’t doing that is Joff Summerfield who will be riding his hand-made Victorian penny farthing across some of the most famous bike road races in Europe to celebrate the Tour de France coming to London. He has history in such endeavours as he has already cycled around the world on a penny farthing in 2006 inspired by Victorian globetrotter Thomas Stevens back in 1884. This is what he says (Joff that is rather than Thomas who, I fear, has long since shuffled off to the cycling graveyard in the sky);

“The famous cobbled roads and the steep hill climbs of these European Spring Classics are going to test me and my penny farthing to the limit.  I am really looking forward to taking on these very challenging routes and meeting some of the pro riders along the way.  The Tour de France coming to London is going to be an incredible celebration of cycling. I’m proud to be doing my bit to inspire and invite people to come to the capital this summer to see the world’s cycling elite take to the city’s iconic streets, and perhaps go even further and take on the same route as the pros with RideLondon.”

Mayor Boris adds;

London Penny Farthing 9“Joff is a supreme athlete and we are delighted that he has taken on this exceptional challenge in celebration of London’s hosting of the Tour de France this summer. The penny farthing is the perfect metaphor for the Anglo/French rivalry we will witness in the Tour De France – even now no one can decide which nation invented the bike! It’s absolutely fantastic to welcome back Tour de France to London.  The capital is fast becoming a beacon of cycling following the extraordinary triumphs of the 2012 Olympics and of course the inaugural RideLondon last year.  What could be better than watching top class pro cyclists as they compete in the world’s most famous road race, with our incredible London landmarks providing the breath-taking backdrop?”

I think I will stick with Reggie as my cycling partner around Europe but good luck to Joff, especially over the cobbles of Flandersthe Koppenberg

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