UK

Mark Beaumont breaks British Penny Farthing record

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Media captionCyclist Mark Beaumont: "It's a tonne of fun... but it really, really hurts"

Scots cyclist Mark Beaumont has broken the British record for the distance ridden on a Penny Farthing in one hour but missed out on the world record.

Beaumont rode 21.92 miles in an hour to beat the 127-year-old British record at Herne Hill Velodrome in Surrey.

But the Scottish cyclist was 290 yards short of the world record of 22 miles and 150 yards.

Last year, 35-year-old Beaumont broke the record for cycling around the world.

He completed the 18,000-mile route in 79 days.

His round the world in 80 days adventure was inspired by Victorian-era novelist Jules Verne.

For his latest challenge he reverted to Victorian-era transport.

The Penny Farthing was one of the first contraptions to be called a bicycle and was popular in the late 19th Century.

There have been very few attempts to break the Penny Farthing time trial records since they were set in the 1880s.

The bike went out of fashion when more efficient and more convenient bicycles were made.

Image copyright Mark Beaumont
Image caption The bike has a 56in front wheel

Before the attempt, Beaumont said the bicycle he was using was "pretty much unchanged" from how they would have been in the 1880s.

The front wheel was a whopping 56in (1.42 metres) and there was still no air in the tyres, no brakes and no gears or chain, he said.

During his record attempt he had eight other riders on the machines, who acted as pacemakers.

However, he still did not beat the world record set in 1886 in Massachusetts by American William Rowe.

What is a Penny Farthing?

It was one of the first machines to be called a bicycle.

Its name came from its large front wheel and smaller back wheel, which resembled the largest and smallest coins of the time.

It was popular in the late 19th Century in Europe and the United States.

The machine had solid rubber tyres, a cast iron frame and pedals attached directly to the wheel hub.

Round the world

Image copyright Mark Beaumont
Image caption Mark Beaumont on the last leg of his journey

In September last year, Beaumont broke the world record for cycling around the world - by 44 days.

Beaumont, from Perthshire, arrived in Paris one day ahead of schedule having cycled the 18,000-mile route in 78 days.

He was on his bike for more than 16 hours a day and only slept for five hours each night.

It was the second time he had broken the record, having completed a cycle around the globe in 194 days in 2008.

His Penny Farthing attempt was not the first time Beaumont had embraced the madness of the ancient contraption, having cycled the 100-mile Etape Royale route on one in 2015.