But where did this whole crazy urge come from?
The video above is of my late Granddad (Brian) and his friend Cyril training for their race from Lands End to John O'Groats.
A little bit of backstory
My Granddad was a keen cyclist back in the day, he owned 2 Penny Farthing bicycles and one trike and they weren't exactly the same size as trikes and racing bikes are today! The Penny Farthings meant that you were lifted 52" off the ground on the most solid saddle and you also had to push yourself off before you could start pedaling!
My Granddad was travelling in London (presumably for work) and after a long day he got caught chatting to this man. At the time he didn't realise that the person he was chatting to was in fact, a journalist for Thames Television (now known as ITV to you and me!)
They were talking about biking and routes he's done etc etc and then the conversation changed to completing the 800 mile bike ride on a Penny Farthing. Jokingly, my Granddad said that he would do said journey on the 52" bike. The conversation was over and they soon went their both ways.
It wasn't until the papers came out the following day that it was stated that "Brian Thompson would be taking on the journey in the next couple of months". This was some surprise to my Granddad that's for sure!
Brian & Cyril started the race in 1970, on both Penny Farthing's in which my Granddad owned. They were sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka (a common beverage which I like to have on a night out) throughout the course of the race. I only found out recently that Cyril didn't actually complete the whole distance. He joined my Granddad on parts of the route but didn't actually complete the whole course!
See you in the next blog post,