Joff Summerfield talks about his round the world trip and the building of his Penny farthings. He tells of his love of the riding of the penny farthing and his love of travelling around the world and meeting people on the way. He used to work in Formula One making engines for racing cars. So when he had some free time on his hands, he decided to do what he loves.
Interview with Joff Summerfield
[caption id="attachment_8306" align="aligncenter" width="976"] Joff Summerfield on BBC Iplayer[/caption]
More about his ride
You can always read more about Joff and his travels on his website. http://www.pennyfarthingworldtour.com/
You can also see the video he mentions in the interview of him riding down death valley with his legs over the handle bars.
It was sad news we heard from Joff Summerfield that he has had to cut his round the world unicycle tour short after having been robbed at gun point in Ecuador.
Here is Joff's explanation of what happened in his own words:A bad day in Ecuador. Free camping, its what all us adventure cyclist do. I´ve done it all over the world and never had a problem. Today my luck ran out. After a long day on the wheel, where 51 miles were covered I entered an area where there were many camping opportunities. My first attempt to camp fails when a family walk out of the bush and see me. Staying on the right side of caution I say hallo and move on to find somewhere else. A few miles further along the road a nice path appears that goes off into a plantation. Here standing by the side of the road I wait until there is a gap in the traffic so nobody sees me dive off into the bush. Walking in 100 yards, then another 50 yards off the path gives me a nice safe place for the night, or so I think. After pitching up the tent and having unloaded the Penny I sit down and start to prepare for a nice evening. Off in the distance I notice someone moving through the trees. Probably just a farmer, they sometimes find you, and a friendly smile and hallo always sends them on their way without problem. He disappears, and I assume he didn´t spot me. Five minutes later he returns and is with a friend and making a bee line toward me in the tent. Still I´m unconcerned, and prepare for a cheerful encounter. When they get to within a few yards I realise something is wrong. No smiles, animals on the hunt. The first guy who is about 35 reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun, this is serious. The other younger man with stave in hand helps drag me out of the tent. With the gun to my head I´m in no mood to argue against their blows. My options are limited, stay calm and pacify. The aggression is real and frightening. With a gun to my temple I try to make them understand that I´m no threat. The plastic rope they bought is lashed about my ankles and wrists. I´m able to pretend by twisting my wrists that the bindings are tighter than they really are, leaving myself a small way out. Now I´m thrown on my side, and worryingly my head is covered by my jacket. Shouts of unintelligible Spanish fire between them, and the muzzle of the gun presses hard down above my ear. This isn´t adventurous or exciting, just terrifying. Possibly they now find my computer or camera, the pressure above my ear disappears as their foul glee increases. Seconds or minutes pass I couldn´t really say, then I´m pulled up and shown my credit card, they want the pin. By way of encouragement to lessen my reticence the barrel presses hard into my temple once again. My resistance fades quickly, but screw them they can have the pin, just not the correct one. They demand to know how much is in the account, I lie and their greed is palpable. I just hope that they both leave to go to the ATM. Having been thrown down again with covered head I can´t understand their Spanish as they shout at each other, but I feel the last of their haul is being loaded into my backpack. Argument and agitated discussion ensues, they now seem to be deciding what to do with me. The barrel is back on my head, I try and talk with a calm tone, I have to remind them that I am a human, a gunshot in a forest wont be heard, but they don´t need to do it. The younger is, I think more reticent, time stands still. The pressure of the gun disappears, and I now expect the blow to fall from the cowards stave. I lift my head from the ground to lessen the shock of the expected crack. This anticipation is something I hope never to experience again, slow immeasurable seconds, waiting, time, the clock ticks. Is the calm real? I ask for water, no answer. I´m up, they have gone to the cash point. My bonds are off in two minutes, and I curse as my bare feet sprint back through the plantation. Bursting onto the road the people who constantly stop for their photo´s now don´t want to know. Finally after about 50 cars pass a decent human stops to help. He calls the police and they arrive in 5 minutes. Having been put on a bus back to Quito and well away from where it happened about 20km south of Santo Domingo, I can take a very deep breath. I´m left with my Penny, pith, tent and sleeping bag. Pretty much everything else is gone, clothes, electrics, even my toothbrush. But I still have my hand written journals, passport, and a fast beating heart in my chest. The next few hours show the real Ecuador, kindness abounds, I´m given shoes for my bloody feet, food and money by the people in the bus station. My journey is now over and I´m heading home to take a deep breath, see my family and friends, and have a pint in an English pub. I do still believe that 99% of people in the world are kind, caring and lovely human beings. Unfortunately on this occasion I met the last and lowest 1%. Joff
It's been a while since we checked in with Joffs round the world Penny Farthing tour. Part 17 of Joff’s World Penny Farthing tour (9,050 Miles Ridden) sees him in Venezuela have some fun with the Border soldiers!
In this, part 16 of Joff's Penny Farthing World Tour, 8,550 miles now done.
Joff has done a quick sprint across Costa Rica before dismantling his Penny Farthing and catching a flight to Caracas (Venezuela).
Joff has recently entered into Nicaragua on his Penny Farthing. He has been through Leon which he says is "fabulous city" even though it is a bit rough around the edges and falling into decay, and then he heads onto Granada.
For those of you following Joff Summerfields World Penny Farthing Tour will be interested to know that he has now ridden 8,220 miles (13,229 km). You can see some of the excellent photos and read about what Joff has been up to here.
One of the stone heads in the ancient Mayan city of Copan where Joff spent the day feeling like Indiana Jones.
In this, part 15 of Joff's Penny Farthing World Tour. 7,820 miles now done. Riding for a bit with his companions Alexy, Valerie and Boyde their dog they leave Oaxaca which entails more mountains and after a day Joff is no longer able to keep up so arranges to meet them San Cristobal.
It's been a while since we checked in with Joffs round the world Penny Farthing tour. Part 14 of Joff’s World Penny Farthing tour sees him leaving San Miguel and riding north of Mexico city to avoid the chaos, and round to Teotihuacan, where there is a Pre-Columbian city made up mainly of huge pyramids. These are stunning to visit and the offer of a ride in Hot air balloon in exchange for an interview for a Mexican TV station was obviously an offer that Joff couldn't turn down.