HE WEARS a pith helmet, flies a Union Jack and ? rides a penny farthing bicycle.
Small wonder that some (make that lots) of people would consider Joff Summerfield to be the epitome of an eccentric Englishman abroad.
But he's quite comfortable about that.
He's "having an adventure ? having fun ? having a great time", riding his penny farthing from Invercargill to Auckland.
The Union Jack represents his homeland, of course:
The pith helmet is a most useful piece of head gear for a high-riding cyclist -it keeps the rain away from his face and stops it running down his neck.
The penny farthing Joff made himself in his Greenwich, London, bike shop.
That's his profession ? making penny farthing cycles "for anyone who wants to buy one".
His New Zealand journey is the 13th stage of his world tour.
He's done 12 other countries (or parts of them) during the past year and will probably be on the road for another 18 months.
He has so far cycled across much of Europe, and through Turkey, Macedonia and Greece, down the east coast of Australia from Cairns to Melbourne, round Tasmania and now, is "doing" the length of New Zealand.
Despite the ungainly appearance of the penny farthing and upright riding position required ,plus the fact it is a "fixed wheel" machine (that means it has just one gear) Joff usually averages 60 to 70 km a day on the road, depending on the wind and how hilly the terrain is.
He's philosophical about both those factors. As far as the "mountains" are concerned, "whatever goes up comes down" and as for the wind, "it changes".
Riding in rain like he encountered on his ride through the southern Rangitikei yesterday afternoon also doesn't faze him.
"You get wet ? you get dry again," he said.
Joff, 39, is pretty much self-sufficient and camps out at the end of each day on the road.
And while he is mostly enjoying his New Zealand tour he does feel somewhat threatened by the trucks on our relatively narrow highways.
So far he's been run off the road twice and side-swiped once.
"At home the truckies are great but over here they don't seem to give a stuff," he said.
As for the rest of his world tour, when he reaches Auckland Joff will catch a plane to Beijing and cycle through China and Tibet where he aims to be the first person to ride a penny farthing through the Himalayas ? exactly what you would expect an eccentric Englishman to do.
Joff's world tour does have a charitable purpose to it. He is raising money for the Born Free Foundation although says he hasn't collected much because he is "not a tin rattler".
However, donations can be made through his website www.pennyfarthingworldtour.com.
So look out for Joff Summerfield over the next couple of days as he makes his way north on SH1, through Chronicle country.
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