One Hundred Miles on a Bicycle in 1869

In these days of velocipede wonders the following excursion may be considered the greatest feat yet accomplished.

On Thursday morning last Mr. G. R. Noble, of Thirlby House, Woodford-bridge, mounted on one of Charles P. Button’s Improved bicycles, and, accompanied by Mr. H. E. Kaye, also of Woodford, started from the latter place at half-past three o’clock for Colchester (a distance of about 49 miles), where they arrived about two o’clock, and in order to make up the 100 miles, they rode in and around the town about half hour.

After having sufficiently rested, the velocipedists started on the return journey, and reached home about one in the morning, having been absent just 22 hours.

Seven hours were occupied in taking meals and rest, so that 15 hours were actually spent in the saddle, giving an average of about seven miles hour for the whole journey.

  ~ The Times, June 30th 1869


Follow with GPS


Charles Pomeroy Button, of 142 & 143 Cheapside, London, was famous for making hunting rifles before he moved into production of the “Improved Boneshaker”, and a popular tricycle called the “Rantoone”, in which both arms and legs were made use of.

The velocipede was made from a heavy metal bar with a fork at its lower end to hold the rear wooden spoke wheel. A vertical iron fork, topped by a horizontal handlebar holds the larger front wheel, with its 35 cm wide iron tire, and weighted bronze pedals attached to the crank.

On the front, a metal bar has two footrests attached so that the cyclist can put their feet up whilst freewheeling.

Braking would have been fun. When the handlebars were twisted, a cord attached to the rear wheel, would apply pressure to the brake shoe.

The padded, pigskin-covered metal saddle, mounted on a flat steel spring, could be adjusted forward or backward to suit the height of the rider, however it would have been unlikely to provide much comfort on the 100 mile trip.


🚴‍♂️ 118 miles (189 km)

~ Woodford to Colchester and back ~

(Recommended as 2 day cycle with overnight stay in Colchester).

The original 100 mile route would have likely followed what is now the very busy A12 dual carriageway. To take into account the beauty of the area, we have created a more interesting but longer circular route, ideal for cycling, which visits most of the main of tourist attractions on the route, including Mr. G. R. Noble’s house. [Click Here for Route & send to GPS]



 0km – Woodford – St. Mary’s Church


 3 miles – Epping Forest


 17 miles – Epping Ongar Railway


 30 miles – Chelmsford


 50 miles – Coggeshall (Photo: Wikipedia)


 58 miles – Colchester

🔈 Listen: “Mark Steel’s in Town – Colchester”

🛎️ Historic Hotels in Colchester:


 66 miles – Copford Church


 80 miles – Maldon


 82 miles – Beeleigh Abbey


 95 miles – Hylands Park

🛎️ Historic Hotels in Woodford:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: