The challenge, laid down by a cycling magazine in 1910, was simple: who could ride a bicycle the greatest distance in a calendar year?
This is the true story of Tommy Godwin, a 27 year old cyclist from Stoke-on-Trent, who responded to that challenge and who set the standard so high that his record remains unsurpassed after over seventy years. He became and remains the 'greatest long-distance cyclist in the world'.
Setting out on 1st January 1939 Tommy Godwin battled through the snow, ice, hail and wind of a severe British winter, then a hot summer. He had his cuts and bruises from falls on poor roads, and then had to deal with the restrictions imposed by the outbreak of World War II. Riding everyday except one, he achieved the unbelievable total of over 75,000 miles in the year. That is to say, he cycled the equivalent of four times round the world, or from Lands End to John O'Groats eighty-eight times in a year!
Not satisfied with that remarkable feat, he continued to ride until he completed 100,000 miles by Whitsun the following year.
These two endurance records have never been beaten to this day.