Rogate man Tom Clowes aims to cycle more than 300 miles in the Outer Hebrides – on a penny farthing.
Tom, 49, of Fyning Lane, aims to raise £10,000 for the Stroke Association.
“I lost my brother-in-law Paul, aged 59, in 2018,” he said.
“A stroke affects 100,000 people a year in the UK.”
Tom has climbed mountains, cycled and flown his paraglider all over the world – but he knows the ten-day challenge isn’t to be under-estimated.
“A penny farthing can’t free-wheel so my legs will be constantly moving – and to make matters worse there is no brake, so I have to use back pressure on my legs to slow down.”
The Hebridean Way was opened in 2016 and since then people have walked and cycled it – but no-one has yet ridden it on a penny farthing.
Tom will be joined by two friends, Woody and Simon.
On May 17 the three of them will catch the train to Oban, where they will then catch a ferry to the Outer Hebrides. It will take two days to get there.
The first challenge will be persuading the guard on the train to let them on with the enormous 54-inch high wheel.
The three friends will be camping along the way and will be starting from the southern island of Vatersay. They will end at a lighthouse, known as the Butt of Lewis, in the north.
They will then still have a lot of cycling to do to get to the nearest train station on the mainland.
The friends will be welcoming any passers-by and supporters who would like to cheer them on their way and their progress can be followed via Tom’s Just Giving page.
Tom has played penny farthing polo for the England squad but he has been riding actively for only a year.
Before that he successfully rode his unicycle along the South Downs Way in 2021 with a friend who was on a penny farthing.
He is a familiar sight riding in the countryside between Midhurst and Petersfield. “It’s good for the legs and good for the soul,” he said “and it never fails to make passers-by smile or laugh. But one does have to look out for potholes!”
Anyone keen to support Tom’s charity ride effort and raise money for the Stroke Association can donate on his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thomas-clowes3