Tommy Godwin | Long Distance Legend

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An amazing man, an incredible cyclist, the best dad in the world!! - Barbara Ford
Impressive, only word I can think of… - Tomasz Dereszynski
In the 1950s Stone Wheelers and North Staffs. St. Christopher's C.C.C. were keen rivals in North Staffordshire cycling. Roy Swinnerton would lead St. Christophers in training rides and Tommy would be seen every Sunday leading the Stone racing team. Because Tommy had been sponsored for his momentous ride the Roads Time Trial Council considered him a professional and prevented him from competing in their competition. All his energy then went into supporting young riders. In 1956 Alderman Horace Barks, President of the North Staffs. British Cycling Federation inveigled Tommy and myself to be chairman and secretary respectively and we worked well together until I left for national service . A most modest and content family man he later sent his son Colin to join our junior section. In his latter years he worked at the Michelin Tyre Co lifting heavyweight tyre moulds out of steaming autoclaves. However he always had a cheerful wave for engineer Pete. Today perhaps he would have been a millionaire with a knighthood! - Peter J. Hambley
I can remember reading or hearing about this amazing man many years and didn`t realise there was a website totally dedicated to him...fantastic! Myself and two mates (all in our 50`s) are doing John O` Groats - Lands End, starting next weekend and we are worried about the distance and daily mileage we will have to cover. Tommy`s feat puts things into perspective...we have nothing to fear, he will be my inspiration.... - Graeme Walters
A wonderful website (I've enjoyed every word) and a wonderful man. I'm so inspired, I'm going for my own little record soon (100 miles in a day!) Thanks to everyone who has made this site possible and for keeping this inspirational story alive for us to enjoy today. - Stuart Hollis
As an avid cyclist I am in awe of this feat. I myself am a fan of steel frames, although my complete rig weighs 7.6 KG's. More should be made of this man. - Craig Cockburn
Legend! - Andrew Wilbraham
Revisiting this site and delighted to see the additions, especially the photo section. As an owner of and a great enthusiast of the pre-war Raleigh Record Ace (RRA), I'd like to bring to your attention that Tommy appears to have at least two of these machines judging from the photos. One is the conventional black livery with chromed front fork but the other (on which he completed his record) is ivory-coloured with a painted fork. The "Dynohub" he used was, I think, the original very large (and heavy) 12 v. version. I have kitted my 1939 RRA with this, a three-speed S/A AR hub and the total weight is 35 1/2 lbs. - Peter Kohler
People use the word unbelievable a lot, but Tommy's achievements really are, how did he do it?! Awe inspiring. - Andy Smith
Only just discovered Tommy; I am a recreational road cyclist and am amazed at his achievements. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering he endured. How he was not knighted is criminal! I would imagine he was fully aware of the horrors of the First World War and how the soldiers suffered. This I think would of helped him overcome the hard days. What more can I say but a true British legend. - Andy Skene
Absolutely astounding feat of endurance. - Adam Fletcher
Having ridden 200 miles in 24 hours, I know just how hard a long day in the saddle can feel. To do that and much more, day-in day-out for months on end takes someone truly special and Tommy Godwin was just that someone very special indeed.. - Peter Bowler
An amazing athlete from another era. What an achievement done on equipment of the day, living on the food of the day, and training with the knowledge of the day. Just staggering. - Alan Kefford
Tommy Godwin was the kindest funniest, most modest and unassuming man you could ever wish to meet. I was 16 years old before I knew of his epic cycling achievements. I knew he loved cycling and that he was a member of Stone Wheelers CC. He never talked about his World Records, it was always left to others to tell the story of this incredible man. He was a devoted husband to Betty and a wonderful father to his 4 children, and that was the Tommy Godwin I loved and respected. How do I know all this about Tommy? and why was it so strange that I never knew of his records... this modest man was my dad. When he died suddenly in 1975, The Evening Sentinel covered all aspects of his cycling career. His work colleagues who had worked alongside him for 25 years at Michelin Tyres had no idea of his achievements. May I through this fabulous website thank everyone who has contributed to the guest book, and to thank anyone trying to persuade Stoke-on-Trent City Council to honour this incredible man. - Barbara Ford
Glad I read the article in my cycling mag. Had no idea that this superman existed! Would loved to have shaken the hand of this cycling legend. - William Brotherton
Un gran atleta, que suerte no tener en esos tiempos tanto coche aunque el tuvo mal final, en fin un hombre digno de recordar, donde estes que sepas que eres muy Grande!! - Salvador PP
On Thursday 5th June our dad Tommy Godwin was inducted into the City of Stoke on Trents Sporting Hall of Fame. It was an experience we will never forget. There was a 5 minute standing ovation during the award acceptance, it was truly humbling for us all. So many celebrities from the sporting world who attended the event were in awe of dads achievements. We would like to thank everyone who nominated him for this prestigious accolade. With our sincere gratitude. - Colin Godwin & Barbara Ford
Uncle Tom. Congratulations on being inducted into Stoke On Trent's Sporting Hall Of Fame. It's about time your achievements were recognised. We are all so very proud of you. A Great Man, and a Fantastic Uncle. Love from Vera and Andrew xxxx - Vera Webb
I love cycling and would love to have had the opportunity to sit down with Tommy for a good chat over a pint, an awesome story! - Shannon Wilkinson
Fascinating history of an awesome man. - Anne Hunt
Tommy was a legend in Stone Wheelers I dont think the new pretender will get anywhere near Tommy's record. - Nigel Ellerton
WOW. Amazing what Tommy did in 1939 on the equipment he had to ride on, and that other then switching bikes when he changed sponsors he did this on one bike. How many tires and saddles did he go through in that year? What an inspiring story! - Bill Hohnstadt
My uncle, and my late father happened to encounter Tommy by chance one day on his epic adventure, somewhere beyond Oxford. Both keen amateur cyclists, and members of a club here in Worcestershire, they rode with him for a good many miles, my father chatting with Tommy much of the way, until they parted company at Aylesbury. I dare say that my uncle must be one of very few who can still claim to have accompanied the great man on his famous ride. - Derek Parsons
What a Sportsman I hold my hat up to this great Legend I enjoy cycling myself and would of dearly liked to have met Tommy. - Paul Herrits
This year we see two cyclists attempting Tommy's incredible record. Considering 'the Machine' and the road conditions, i think Tommy's record will always stand as an exceptional human endeavour. - Hugh Barton
Tommy feats of endurance are amazing, I'm sure no one else will have the strength or comittment to beat this. Respect. - Tony
And here was I thinking how well I'd done completing 3,000 miles in my 1st year of proper cycling. Until I read the incredible achievements of Tommy Godwin! - Frank Chart
So Tommy's record has been broken by an American in Florida complaining he broke it on a wet and damp day. It does not mean the same to me as the sacrifices Tommy went through to set up the record which has stood and still stands in Great Britain. - Nigel Ellerton
A beautiful story, just learned from Ned Boulting's very nice book On the Road Bike. - Denis McKeown
Just reading about my uncle Tom. I am such a proud person to have met uncle Tom. What a man. - Diana Elery
What a superb website dedicated to an unsung hero who should be on a par with Roger Bannister and all those who pushed the barriers of human achievement. Still can’t get my head around cycling all those miles on a four geared, heavy bike whilst having the restrictions of war rations. I guess Hitler put pay to his fame lasting longer but perhaps Tommy wasn’t that bothered by being a celebrity. Well done on keeping Tommy’s feats alive! - Shaun Sewell
Only one word: Amazing! - Gary Ross
Simply, inspirational and humbling. So glad you've gone to the trouble of 'quietly' not letting the world forget the achievements of an amazing cyclist. - Paul Manancourt
I was born in 1941 in Trent Vale and lived there till 1964. I used to see Mr Godwin regularly on his bike. I can see him now black shoes head down riding up the A34. Not sure if he was riding a fixed wheel. One day as a young boy I was told 'see him he has ridden more miles than anybody in a year'. As I was lucky enough in those days to have bike it never really registered what he had achieved. His daughter used to go to St. John's church. Sorry to read about Roy Swinnerton, another cycling ambassador from the Potteries. Good luck in you efforts to get Tommy the recognition he deserves. - Lenny Collett
It was a pleasure to have an uncle like Tommy Godwin in our lives when we were growing up as children. He was a fun loving person who also had a wicked sense of humour. All of our family have fond memories of him and knowing that the achievement of still holding this record to this day makes us proud. We can all say that we have one for the record books. - Paul Webb
Fantastic. - Claudio Lovato
An amazing inspiration! And a Potter too... great man, great achievement! - Rob Stevenson
Had just read about Tommy in Ned Boulting's book 'On the Road Bike' and just had to find out more. Fantastic website - what an unbelievably tough, focused man. Incredible story. - J Salt
Read about this incredible journey in cycling plus I love to read the history of the golden era in British cycling so can't wait to read the biography "Unsurpassed". Brilliant. - Mike Russell
Tommy was the absolute cycling hero in the Cahill household (we lived in Hanley). My dad (Aubrey John aka Sean) and my brother John were both national champions in their day (at 12 hours and 24 hours respectively) but both regarded Tommy as the greatest long distance rider ever. Tommy was such a modest man and almost an ever present at local events when I was riding in the 1970s. Always willing to give a hand and a word of advice to rookies like myself. It was like having Ronaldo as your local footballing coach! - Tim Cahill
A great website, and what an achievement. Now armed with the facts and stats I can help tell of his amazing feat. It would be nice to see a full documentary. - Keith Hayden
An unbelievable achievement and done on a heavy bike with limited gear ratios. What a legend and an inspiration. - Stuart Grant
I know this word is too often used just to celebrate a normal achievement these days, but there is only one word that can be used to describe what Tommy did: "Legend". Awesome. - Gwynfor Williams
Just read Tommy Godwins story and can't understand why this man has not been honoured to the highest level. He has got to be the greatest sporting hero this country has ever seen; his life story and incredible world records should be made into a film. Any sports man or woman who needs a little inspiration now and then just read his story and achievements and you'll definitely be inspired a truly remarkable man at the highest level. - Ste Swift
There should be a more prominent memorial to Tommy's achievement in his home city than a small plaque at Fenton Manor. - Gregor Baddley
The man is a legend, to break a record such as his would be impossible under the same circumstances, that said I do believe the distance can be done, using the same day technology. Won't have the same accolade as the hour (well thats died now since the athletes hour) but in fairness its not a year of work, its year of graft daytime and night time battling the weather etc, I personally take my hat of, as an ex-racing cyclist and ex-pro soldier, the man is a Legend to achieve this. If I can help I will, thank you for this website. Very best regards. - Lawrence Kendall
Desde mi humilde opinión y como Ciclista, este hombre desde que leí este articulo se ha convertido en un Ídolo que grande, hacer lo que hizo, mis mas sinceras felicitaciones. - Salva SPQR
This is an amazing website for Tommy Godwin's achievements. Wouldn't it be amazing if he had had a cycle tracking app like we do today. Incredible... Truly brilliant guy. - Edward Smith
I found myself reading through this excellent website with my jaw on the floor. Anyone that manages to ride 200 miles in a day deserves a very big pat on the back… but that Tommy Godwin did what he did is almost inconceivable. A true, surely never to be bettered, legend and athlete. Many thanks for making his name and achievements public – I’ve told all my friends in cycling to visit this site. Utterly inspiring. - Mike Broadbent
I'm sure I would never have heard Tommy had it not been for Ned Boulting's book 'On The Road Bike', which led me to this site. I an utterly in awe of Tommy and his accomplishments. How he has remained 'unsung' is beyond me. Hopefully your site will encourage our celebration and the deserved recognition of a national hero. - Steve Gill
Recently undertook a 4 day challenge for charity and heard about Tommy Godwin Challenge, then the man. Amazed at the achievement, totally mindblowing!! - Doug Long
What Tommy accomplished is mind blowing! The fact that his record has stood all these years is a testament to his strength and determination and perhaps as a sign of our weakness. - Christopher R Guevara
Amazing record. With three guys now attacking it in 2015. It will be no great surprise to anyone, if like the pyramids it is still standing many years from now. - Brian Welsh
I cycled about 380 km in 24 hours, which was the greatest athletic feat I have ever done, Bicycling from London to Brussels, but this guy was doing something like that every day and faster! What an inspiration. I aspire to be like him. - Noam Kanter
Wartime, bad weather, being declared a professional, a heavyweight bike and the expectation of failure - how much more could have been against him?? He was a total "boys' own" hero. He would have been proud of this website - well done to those who have produced / contributed to it. - Stuart Collins
So proud of my Great Uncle!!! What a wonderful accomplishment. - Stephanie Nadine Brown
Tommy Godwin was my Mum's brother and she was immensely proud of him. I have only discovered recently the hardship their family suffered and how he helped my Mum to make a better life. Thanks to his daughter Barbara. - Ann Calvert
Wow! Truely a great inspiring MAN! - Graham Walsh
He was the best ever. The mileage total will probably be beaten by Kurt Searvogle this year, but never Godwin's accomplishment. What an effort! Four speed bike, steel frame, bad roads!!!! - Gary Alwine
76 years ago today Tommy Godwin signed The Golden Book of Cycling at The Grosvenor Hotel London having succeeded in bringing The Year Record back home. We are so proud of him. We wish Steven Abraham the very best of good fortune for 2016 in his attempt on the record. We know that dad would have been the first person to shake his hand. - Barbara Ford and Colin Godwin
Among others Tommy inspired me to cycle 15,146 miles in 2016 for my local hospice. I'm 73 and a cancer survivor so that's my excuse!! - Keith Evans
It’s great to see a site dedicated to Tommy; this story needs more publicity to elevate it to the level it deserves. I wrote a small piece on my blog about it to do my little bit. I’m a Stokey myself and I’m amazed how little there is known about Tommy’s record locally let alone elsewhere. It would be great to see his story on film! Chapeau Tommy. - David Adams
What an inspiration, my parents John and Ray Thornhill talk extremely fondly and still very amazed by his achievements. Tommy has certainly shaped my life and my cycling legs through my parents! - Susan Thornhill
A record beyond the belief of human endurance and fortitude. - Michael Heaton
First of all, congratulations on an excellent site. My father told me all about Tommy Godwin when I was younger and as a cyclist I've been amazed by his feat ever since. How this man has disappeared under the cycling radar is a travesty. Dave Barter's website re-kindled my interest when I came across it a couple of years ago, and we were lucky enough to get Dave to agree to give us a talk on Tommy Godwin and the history of the record at our club dinner in 2012. For any cycling clubs out there I can heartily recommend it. Fascinating stuff told with a sense of humour and obvious great respect for the man. - Allan Nelson
This is the stuff of legends, a man with an iron will and an unbreakable body, without today's technology or pharmaceuticals. What Tommy did, it's hard to comprehend, more so for a non cyclist I would expect. I will always like up to him and I will spread his story. - Stewart Karitons-E
I'm training for a triathlon in a few weeks and a friend told me about Tommy Godwin's record. What a staggering achievement for a human being, 75k miles in a car would be arduous enough but on a heavy bike with just 4 gears, he was made of different stuff to the rest of us mortals. I agree with everybody who says he should be venerated along with all the other UK sporting greats of history. Surely there must be a movie in this as well, has anyone even ever done a documentary, come on BBC... - Noel Mc Manus
I had the good fortune to know Percy Stallard at the start of my cycling life. Tommy Godwin is from the same mould. These were tough men the likes of which we will never see again. - Jez Hammond
You were an incredible man, you should be honoured by Stoke-on-Trent Council for your amazing achievement. - George & Margaret Godwin
There are many famous British endurance record holders and he should be remembered among the greatest. - Alex Burge
I really want to do something like this, of course no where near what Tommy achieved. Amazing. - Alan Bennetts
Tommy Godwin. A Private and unassuming man. I have had the pleasure of knowing, and loving Tommy Godwin. He was my Uncle. We are all so proud of you, and your achievements. - Vera Webb
A great man and a great inspiration to both the cycling world and the rest of the world to achieve something great! - Edward
Awesome used glibly on so many occasions but to describe this achievement it does not even begin to be appropriate. - Herbie Leinster
Reading the life of Tommy, I realized that when you ride only for you, this is what I call: "living your bicycle". - Luigi
This man really is an absolute legend, and his superhuman records, which have been sadly overlooked for too long, will surely stand for ever. We owe it to him to finally acknowledge his achievements, and his standing as a national hero. - Ian Farnsworth
Bloody hell, Tommy!! - Arnie Spilman
Absolutely mind blowingly incredible. Makes todays athletic achievements pale into insignificance. What a legend. I doff my cap… - Andy Swash
That would be an amazing feat with today's technology, in 1939 it's just mind boggling. He must have been made of granite - James Allen
Wow, I am in training to do 100 miles in one day and the thought of that tires me. Reading this gives me inspiration to do more. I have emailed the Stoke hall of fame person, good luck to Tommy Godwin. - Philip McShane
What a man. - William Buxton
No one quite like this fantastic guy. I'm inspired to do a trip to Cornwall from Sussex Gatwick but nowhere near 230 miles in a day, 130 at a stretch. - Alan Bennetts
Happy birthday to the best dad that ever lived. Love and still miss you Dad. Forever yours... xxx - "Jane"
Finally Stoke-on-Trent have put your name into their Hall of Fame. This honour is very much deserved and well overdue. - Margaret & George Godwin
Congrats great Uncle Tommy on being added to the Stoke-on-Trent hall of fame; very proud! - Angie Godwin
I only discovered Tommys feat recently, even though I've been a racing cyclist most of my life. I've shared the site to my Facebook page so that my other cycling friends can see what Tommy achieved. I think what he did was amazing, he's a legend as far as I am concerned, right up there with the best of them. - David Rogers
To Dream is to think, to think is to love, to love, is everything. Tommy will never die.. Tommy's monumental achievement lives on in our hearts, forever. - Tommy Walter Cassidy
I had heard about Tommy and the record but have only just discovered this website. What a great tribute to the man! Back in 1995 I did 4,700km in 23 days. That was just over 123 miles a day. I vividly remember how much effort that took and the pain involved. I also remember how much I ate (whilst still finishing the lightest I have ever been!!). Given that experience, I am absolutely gob smacked at what Tommy did - the distances, the number of days, the bikes he used. They don't make 'em like Tommy anymore!! - Andrew from Australia
A wonderful website! What a shame extraordinary athletes from this period such as Tommy Godwin and Ray Booty are now relatively unknown despite their mind boggling achievements. They deserve to be so much more widely known and admired than they are. - Anonymous
A site dedicated to a truly amazing man. I love the fact that he won time trials riding a butchers delivery bike - that is just amazing and gives you an insight of a determined man. Something like that could only happen in England! This man achieved what most cyclists only dream of and I bet he never cheated, eat your heart out Lance Armstrong. Tommy was a hero in his own right and I would loved to have met him. - Graham
What a fantastic man he deserves more recognition. - Mick Lawton
What an amazing person and a unbelievable feat of both physical and mental endurance... much respect to you Tommy. - Trevor Swallow
Tommy Godwin has always been a huge idol of my brother Steven Abraham who is currently attempting the 1YTT mileage record. There are just not enough words to describe how incredible Tommy was. What an amazing cyclist and very humble too.Regards Pete. - Peter Abraham
Despite Tommy's 365 day record finally being broken today by Kurt Searvogel. Tommy still holds the fastest time to 100,000 miles. Chapeau to Searvogel but he didn't beat Tommy's record by that much considering the huge differences in bike technology, better roads and nutrition. Tommy's story deserves a movie or documentary. Great website design by the way. - Martin Wills
Cool guy! - A. Raslan
A superman. A film of his life? I wish I had known him. - Mike Griffiths