Ossie’s saddle was also from Birmingham
Long-haul cycling record attempts tend to be made with a Brooks on top, but this hardly qualifies as news. Most of those signed up for Vin Cox‘s jaunt across the planet in 2012 will have something from Smethwick bolted to their seatposts when setting off from Black Heath next year.
But as they warily ponder what they’re letting themselves in for, Global Bicycle Race entrants might be able to take some measure of solace from an account of a feat of endurance cycling so, well, enduring, that no one has taken a crack at it for over seventy years.
Below is an article from our 1938 Brooks Book, detailing the long distance relationship between Australian Ossie Nicholson and Frenchman René Menzies who in 1937 both attempted the record for highest mileage covered by bike in a single year.
Nothing like a poisoned toe, followed by sunstroke and then tonsilitis to interfere with the business of putting down 170 miles a day. Though of course, riding one-armed for weeks while the other (broken) one is setting in plaster will probably chop your totals down a bit, too.
Riders going for the Guinness Circumnavigation record next year will have all sorts of computerised stuff with them in order that track may be kept of the distances they’re covering. Not that Mr Cox would doubt their word were they to show up back in London awfully early or anything, but the Global Bicycle Race could almost be what GPS was invented for.
Back when Rene and Ossie were going at it, clearly, there were no mobile phones, nor satellites to bounce signals around. So they simply hailed any convenient passer-by when finished for the day to sign their route card.