And the prize goes to . . .
21st March 2017 |
My little essay on records has stirred up a bit of controversy and predictably turned over a few stones. So first, let me reassure everyone that I don’t actually give a hang about setting records. If you didn’t notice the tongue in my cheek it must be that my cheeks have grown too fat on all this lovely cheese I’m eating in la Belle France.
There were also some strong women who resented my using the epithet “Pah!” in relation to their gender. I thought that was an obvious joke, directed at myself. I must learn to use emoticons, I suppose.
As for the record itself, I’ve had a few entries.
José Porros Novalbo, from Madrid told me about a couple who rode Norton Dominators in the fifties, and one of them, Lennox Cook, wrote a book about it. They went from London through India to Australia, then to Canada, across the States and back to London.
Bernd Tesch, my old friend (though he is still not as old as me) has more about the Cooks on his website, which is a great resource :
The Cook book was called “The World Before Us”. But there were two of them so they don’t count –emoticon.
Bernd still insists that Clancy Stearns has the record, but as I explain, he doesn’t count because he didn’t take his bike back to where he started. Bernd also has a bunch of couples who went round in the fifties, Germans, Austrians and Kiwis, and a very interesting British bus driver called Ernest Bell who did it on a Dominator, but he did the first half with a group of Australians, so he doesn’t count – more emoticons.
The Omidvar brothers from Iran probably had the most extraordinary story and were on the road for eight years. Lois Pryce wrote about meeting one of them in Iran in her latest book, Revolutionary Ride, but obviously they don’t count either – invent your own emoticon here.
Actually Bernd’s list goes on and on, with other couples, and people on scooters, and the bare outlines of incredible adventures, and maybe one of them did fit my exacting criteria, but I can’t tell and it doesn’t matter anyway.
Personally I would award the prize to Peter Lee-Warner who went round the world in 1953 on a bicycle with a Power Pak attached. Here’s his story, thanks to Dan Alsop who told me about it:
On 20th March 1953 he set off to ride to Australia and back on a Tradesman’s cycle powered by a Synchromatic Power Pak. The intended route was outwards via France, Italy and the Balkans, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, India, Burma, Siam, and Malaya. The return journey was to pass through Egypt, North Africa and Spain. The cycle was fitted with a 2 gallon auxiliary fuel tank in the frame triangle and a tank of drinking water below the front carrier. By the middle of May he had reached Baghdad where he recorded an account of his experiences so far for the BBC Midland Regional programme “What Goes On” which was broadcast on 28th May. It was while in Iraq that Peter changed his plans and decided to make his journey a trip around the world. September saw Peter on his return journey, flying to San Francisco on a “Clipper” airliner. Then there was just the 3,000 mile journey to New York to complete before boarding the “Queen Elizabeth” for the voyage back to Britain. At midday on 20th October 1953 Peter rode up to Australia House, the starting point of his journey, where he was greeted by Vivian Blaine, star of the musical “Guys & Dolls”.
All they gave me when I finished my journey was Miss Great Britain.
So sue me, sue me – what can you do me.? I love you.