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Andrew Donald and Chris Saltrick on their Penny Farthings

Estate agent and accountant take Penny Farthings for a 1,000-mile spin

A Salisbury estate agent is riding an antique Penny Farthing bicycle on a 1,000 mile journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Andrew Donald a partner with Woolley & Wallis and chartered accountant Chris Saltrick, of Hampshire-based Saltrick & Saltrick, will set out on May 23 and hope to take about 13 days to reach the most northern tip of Scotland.

Their bicycles were manufactured in the 1880s, and will become the oldest bikes ever to attempt the marathon ride.

The two friends decided to attempt the challenge as their families have both been affected by cancer. Mr Saltrick’s mother has battled with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and Mr Donald lost his mother from bowel cancer

Chris said: ”We have both completed some long distance rides, but never on bike’s like these. It’s almost impossible to train for an event like this because even if we have a couple of hours to train, we can only cover about 20 miles. But we hope we can raise between £10,000 and £15,000 – maybe more if we can .”

Mr Donald said: “It is going to be the biggest challenge we have ever under taken.

“We are riding very big original 1880s bikes with solid tyres, no gears and no functional brakes. On my larger bike each full pedal revolution turns the front wheel over just under 5 metres, therefore it is very hard to pedal up hill and on some hills impossible without breaking the bikes or ourselves.

“Once that 57” wheel starts to spin on downhill it is impossible to slow down, there is only so much one can resist the fixed pedals. Unlike a more modern bike the pedals are fixed, there is no freewheel on a Penny Farthing and no other position than sitting on the saddle and keeping pedalling.

“We are undoubtedly going to get very sore. We are having to pick a route that sadly includes more main roads as they tend to have more gradual gradients and are less windy. Because of the age of the bikes they will break and break often. Any spares have to be individually made or on the trip may have to be improvised. “

Both men, who are keen cyclists and experienced on Penny Farthings, are raising money for Cancer Research UK and to help with the construction of the Francis Crick Institute in London which will be at the forefront of preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

They have already gained sponsorship from Woolley & Wallis, Primera sport, Abacus vehicle hire and Flack Manor but are looking for other corporate and individual sponsors.

A similar ride was first completed in 1880 and then in 1882 by the Hon Ion Keith-Falconer who finished in 13 days. It is his time Mr Donald and Mr Saltrick hope to emulate.

To sponsor the ride go to