Between 2006 and 2008, Joff cycled around the world on a pennyfarthing he built himself – something he now does in between trips from a workshop he lives above in London. Why a pennyfarthing? “Because I wanted to make a bike,” says the ex-Formula 1 engine builder, “and the silliest one I could think of was the penny farthing.”
In the event it took him three goes to properly start his tour: the first time he only got as far as Rochester before a knee problem stopped him, the second he made it to Budapest before breaking a leg in a crash.
Another year and a half of long, hard recovery later, Joff left again… but this time kept going for 924 days, all the way round the world, sleeping and camping rough and carrying everything with him on the penny’ through 23 countries and 23,000 miles.
Joff rode east from the UK, through Europe to Turkey, then across Australia, New Zealand, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, USA, Canada, Portugal, Spain, France, and England.
In doing so, replete with his colonial pith safari helmet, Joff had become only the second person ever to circumnavigate the globe on a pennyfarthing, since fellow Brit Thomas Stevens in 1884.
The call of the road…
By last summer Joff turned his ‘penny-making’ into enough pounds for another big trip… Where to this time? Round the world of course, this time heading west.
Starting in Toronto, Canada, for the last six months he has been zigzagging his way across America: “Then I’ll turn left at the Rockies and ride south.” At the time of writing Joff was in Mexico…