TWO eccentrics from Fordingbridge are celebrating after riding 940 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats on Victorian penny-farthings.
Estate agent Andrew Donald of Woolley and Wallis and chartered accountant Chris Saltrick christened their journey The Old Cranks Ride and completed their challenge in 12 days – raising more than £12,000 for Cancer Research UK.
The pair changed 64 broken spokes during the journey on bikes without gears or brakes and with hard, solid tyres.
The two friends were inspired to take on the challenge after Mr Donald lost his mother to bowel cancer and Mr Saltrick’s mother battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Mr Donald said: “I can’t believe we actually managed to finish the ride.
“Lots of people along the way were saying we must be mad. Some mornings when we woke up we were just so sore and tired we didn’t think we could face getting back on the bikes.
“We were averaging more than nine miles an hour and were out for about 12 hours a day with about eight-and-a-half of those actually on the bikes.
“But people along the route were fantastic and cheery waves and smiles helped us to carry on. Motorists were fantastic and gave us a wide berth and there were lots of horns being sounded in support.”
The men arrived at John O’Groats last Tuesday evening, having achieved the feat without any major mishaps.
However, on the final day Mr Donald’s knees seized up and he was in agony.
He said: “I began to think I had come that far and I was going to fail just before the end but luckily it eased up a bit and although it was very sore I could carry on.
“We are very sore and tired but delighted to have finished the ride.”
Mr Saltrick said: “When we arrived at John O’Groats there were lots of people finishing but we really stole the show. Lots of people were saying they had never seen anyone on penny farthings before.”