Riding 200 miles in a single day is an achievement in itself. In 1939, Tommy Godwin averaged more than 205 miles a day on the way to recording an annual total of 75,065 miles – and a Twitter account set up earlier this year brings the astonishing feat to life.
The account, created by writer Dave Barter to make more people aware of the achievement, tweets Godwin’s mileage for the corresponding date in 1939, as well an example of an equivalent journey. Godwin’s rode 185.9 miles on November 28, which would take you from London to Leeds.
The record stems from a competition in Cycling magazine, now Cycling Weekly, which sought to find the person undertaking the greatest number of individual one hundred mile rides in 1911.
Marcel Planes covered 332 centuries on the way to registering an annual distance record of 34,666 miles. The record was broken a further five times before Australian Ossie Nicholson rode 62,657 miles in 1937.
Having recorded more than 200 road and time trial victories as a professional for Rickmansworth Cycling Club, Godwin, who died in 1975, set about breaking the record at 5am on January 1 1939, while Edward Swann and Bernard Bennett also started their attempts.
Swann’s bid ended after 939.6 miles but Bennett and Godwin went head-to-head for the rest of the year. Godwin broke Nicholson’s existing mark on October 26 but continued to ride on, eventually finishing with a total (75,065 miles or 120.805km) nearly 10,000 miles greater than Bennett’s. The record remains intact today.