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How does it feel to break a World Record*…on a Penny Farthing!?


When we last spoke to Richard he was about the embark on the challenge of a lifetime hoping to beat the 1886 world record by completing Le Jog (Land’s End to John O’Groats) on his Penny Farthing. Since then Richard has smashed the word record and is just *awaiting official confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records.

Our marketing executive Hannah Ingram gave Richard a call to find out how it felt to (pre-emptively) beat the record held for over 113 years. Richard (a local teacher by day from Matlock, Derbyshire) started his epic journey on Saturday 20th July at 06:00 BST and completed it at 17.52pm on Wednesday 24th July, smashing the original record by 13 hours. Zycomm provided Hytera PD705 two-way radios to assist Richard and his crew with communication during the trip

What was the most enjoyable part of the trip?

“Riding through the Cairngorms on Day 4 was stunning, it really did feel like being in the South of France. There was a lovely little tailwind, it was 27 degrees and you could even smell the resin from the nearby trees”

Cairngorms copyright image

Example of the exceptional Cairngorm countryside the UK has to offer

Which bit of the journey did you find the hardest?

“After Gretna there’s a stretch parallel to the M74, an isolated B road which goes on forever; there is nothing for miles and miles, no houses, no buildings and very little else around. It seemed to go on and on and as I passed this area on Day 3 I knew there was a fair way to go”

Those Thunderstorms must have been terrifying?

“We were relatively lucky with the weather but on Day 5, the last day we had one full on thunderstorm, it was really scary for me and the riding crew and there was a lot of standing water around, not ideal when you’re riding a Penny Farthing! There was a point when I was on the causeway bridge and I realised I was the highest thing around for a long way. However, the thunderstorm made the expedition even more exciting, it made it memorable.”

So how did it feel to win?

Richard smiles (or so I imagine as this is over the phone!) “Actually, I didn’t react much at the time, I was so tired mentally and physically. I’d been planning it relentlessly for 9 months and I’d thought of everything. I couldn’t believe how much of the trip had gone to plan but by the time I passed the finish line I was seeing double and absolutely shattered so in my head all I was thinking was ‘tick, I’ve done it’.”

How long were the days?

“I went to sleep around half 10 at night and woke up to start again at half 5 each morning. I only had time to eat food, sleep and then start all over again”

Scotland signal problems fixed by radios

“The Hytera radios Zycomm gave us provided useful reassurance and were particularly helpful for the last leg of the journey where mobile signal is notoriously poor or non-existent. I kept a radio in my back pocket to make sure the team could always reach me”

Hytera PD705 in car with coffee cup

Followed every step of the way

I tell Richard that the Zycomm Sales and Service team were constantly badgering me to find out where he was by following the live stream tracker. Richard told me “I couldn’t believe how many people were watching. 1000s of people used the tracker to check on my daily progress”

A personal victory

Richard tells me one of the most satisfying things about the trip was knowing he rode his Penny Farthing every step of the way “I really thought I’d have to push my bike up a steep hill at some point, it meant a lot to me to know I saw it through to the end without having to resort to that”

Be part of Richard’s achievement by donating to BBC Children in Need

Help Richard smash through the £10,000 mark on his Just Giving Page to become part of the story and put a smile on a child’s face, the whole motive behind Richard’s journey.



Keeping you posted

We’ll be keeping a keen eye out to find out if Richard officially beat the World Record once the news comes back from the Guinness Book of Records. We’ll let you know as soon as the news breaks!

The whole team at Zycomm Electronics would like to thank Richard Thoday for letting us interview him and we are so pleased to have been able to help in this small way. Read more about the original record from 1886 and what sparked Richard’s original interest in these specialist bikes in our first article on the topic.


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