Lyme cyclist takes on 55-mile penny farthing challenge

Lyme Regis resident Seb Cope in training on his penny farthing

LYME Regis resident Seb Cope is in training for a gruelling 55-mile charity cycle ride on his penny farthing. 

Architectural designer Seb will be joining thousands of cyclists for the iconic London to Brighton Cycle Ride in September, raising funds for charity PSPA, which supports those living with PSP or progressive supranuclear palsy, an uncommon brain disorder that affects movement, control of walking, balance and speech.

Seb, who is also a volunteer member of Lyme Regis lifeboat crew, decided to take on the challenge in tribute to his former employer’s wife, Janet, who suffers from PSP. 

Despite his penny farthing having a 48-inch wheel and no gears or brakes, he is attempting to complete the 55-mile ride in a single day, including the formidable and infamous Ditchling Beacon.

The ride will set off from Clapham Common at 6.30am on Sunday, September 15 and Seb will need to complete his unique ride by 5pm to avoid missing the bus home!

He said: “It’s a scary thing to ride the penny farthing for so many miles, but it’s nothing compared to the frightening reality of living with PSP every day.

“Having worked for Janet’s husband, Peter, for more than 15 years means she is like family to me, and the least I can do to draw attention to this devastating disease. 

“Yes, the thought of Ditchling Beacon without gears or brakes sounds crazy, but it will all be worth it to raise money to fund research into a possible cure.”

PSP is a progressive neurological condition affecting approximately 5,000 adults in the UK and is caused by the progressive death of nerve cells in the brain.  The deteriorative nature of PSP over time leaves those affected unable to balance, walk, talk, eat, swallow, drink and see.

There is currently no cure, but there is hope that the accelerating pace of research into PSP will lead to future effective treatments to limit the devastation this disease causes.

Last year, Seb completed a 50-mile charity ride along with his father and fellow penny farthing rider, Alistair Cope, in aid of the Aston Villa Foundation community charity. The pair also regularly organise vintage cycle rides and events in aid of charity with their group Velo Vintage.

To sponsor Seb online and help to raise funds for research into PSP, visit

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 2551 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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