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Successful global tour on penny farthing


Wearing a pith helmet, which saved his life in Greece, engineer Jonathan "Joff" Summerfield has completed his tour of the globe on the penny farthing he built, pedalling his handmade replica of a Victorian bicycle into Greenwich Market, south-east London, where his journey began two-and-a-half years ago.

Broken arms and legs, earned while riding the penny farthing in Britain, slowed him down, but he pedalled through Europe, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and China unscathed. Scaling the Himalayas was a bit more of a challenge.

Even on the flat the rider encounters the problem described by the Victorians as 'taking a header'. "If the front wheel jams or if you apply too much front brake, the back wheel lifts and the rider follows the arc of the wheel. The first thing to hit the ground is your head, and fatalities were common."

He may be the first man to have completed the circumnavigation on a penny farthing since Brit Thomas Stevens, in 1887.

Back home Joff said, "The more I have travelled, the more I have appreciated England and my roots".

He travelled lightly, and raised money for the Born Free Foundation, a wildlife charity.

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