Matlock penny farthing rider all set for charity LEJOG record attempt

Matlock teaching assistant Richard Thoday will begin his penny farthing ride from Land's End to John O'Groats on Saturday, July 20.
Matlock teaching assistant Richard Thoday will begin his penny farthing ride from Land's End to John O'Groats on Saturday, July 20.

After months of preparation, a Matlock school worker is all set for his record-breaking attempt to ride the length of Britain on a penny farthing.

Richard Thoday, a teaching assistant at Highfields School, will set off from Land’s End at 6am on Saturday, July 20, aiming to arrive in John O’Groats in less than five days, one hour and 45 minutes.

The record has stood since it was set by Victorian cycling star GP Mills in 1886, and entails a punishing schedule of around 200 miles per day in the saddle.

Richard said: “I love riding the penny farthing as it makes people smile and talk. It brings people together.

“I want to help BBC Children in Need as it helps to bring a smile to faces of children who are having a hard time in life and need a helping hand. Hopefully my ride can help them.”

He added: “I may succeed, I may fail and I’m sure it will hurt, but either way, if it helps BBC Children in Need it will be worthwhile.”

Darley Dale business 4Season Collective is making a film of Richard’s ride, sponsored by Bakewell aggregates firm Long Rake Spar, whose managing director Trevor Broadhurst is also a keen cyclist.

Trevor said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the penny farthing world record attempt.

“It’s really important for us to be able to help our community, so when we heard that Richard was attempting such an epic journey we definitely wanted to be involved.

He added: “Long Rake Spar was founded in 1867 around 20 years before the original record was set.

“We are always keen to support local activities and it will be wonderful to watch Richard’s record attempt and we wish him the best of luck.”

Richard is an experienced long distance cyclist, having ridden numerous 24-hour road cycling events in the past, but this ride will push his body to new limits.

For updates on his progress, go to facebook.com/pennyfarthingendtoend.

To donate to Richard’s fundraising page, go to https://bit.ly/2LnzHUM.