Saturday, August 27, 2011

The most miles ridden during the year 1937

The most miles ridden during the year 1937

"Ossie" Nicholson set the record for the most miles ever ridden in a year up to that time. It was a close contest with another cyclist, Rene Menzies.

The following account was taken directly word for word from the 1938 Brooks catalog.

The Story of a year's battle between a Frenchman and an Australian to see who could ride the greatest distance during 1937.

In a heavy downpour of rain, 48 year old French born Rene Menzies left London at 7 A.M. on January 1st, 1937. In a determined quest to beat the year's world cycling record, held by a Britisher, Walter Graves, with the astounding total of 45,384 miles. Over ten thousand miles away, Ossie Nicholson, a well-known Australian who had competed in many famous international races including the Tour deFrance set off in glorious sunshine the same morning also determined to beat the record.

For three hundred and sixty five days these two men, the middle aged Frenchman and the much younger Australian battled, half the world apart for supremacy. At first the Frenchman led the way; Nicholson fell heavily in Februaryand for several days was seriously hampered with apoisoned toe. Then he was ill with sunstroke and no sooner had he recovered from that than he developed tonsillitis which was so severe that it kept him from his bicycle for three days. Meanwhile in England, Menzies was troubled with bitterly cold weather and one day snow completely blocked his road. But doggedly the two rivals continued to keep their wheels rolling, each riding approximately 170 miles a day. Just think of it. One hundred and seventy miles a day - everyday, in rain, snow, sunshine, gales.

And so through the months the battle went on neither man's mileage a great deal ahead for long over his rivals. In September they were nearly level and then it was that Menzies had his bad luck. When seven hundred miles off the previous record, held by Walter Graves, he was involved in an accident with a motor vehicle and broke a bone in his wrist. In extreme pain Menzies was taken away for Medical Treatment; but the plucky Frenchman was impatient at the delay. He demanded to be put back upon his bicycle. And so his arm encased in plaster of Paris, he continued his ride. Four days later he beat the previous world record - but Nicholson too, had beaten it at about the same time. It was a disappointment to Menzies who, one-armed, had ridden thecolossal distance of 247 miles in one day in a last minute effort to beat the Australian.

But Menzies was not daunted. The battle was still on; it did not finish until December 31st. But youth had it's way. Now averaging more than 190 miles every day the Australian doggedly pulled away from his older rival and when the bell clanged out the new year, Nicholson, fitter than when he started finished his years' ride with the new world record of 62,657 miles. Menzies, who received a wildly enthusiastic reception in London was a gallant loser. His distance was 61,561 miles. The difference between them was just over a thousand miles - approximately three miles a day, for Nicholson's daily average was 171 miles and Menzies' 168.

Both men of course rode Brooks saddles.

This may be the perfect time for you to start working on your personal record for total miles ridden in a year. 2012 will begin very soon.

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