As It Happens

How the lockdown inspired this man to break a speed record in a wheelbarrow

U.K. gardener Kevin Nicks — who previously broke records in a motorized shed — believes he has broken another record by hitting 77km/h in a wheelbarrow vehicle he constructed during lockdown.

'I can't change the world, but what I can do is change a few people's lives,' Kevin Nicks said

Kevin Nicks claims that it took him 10 days to build his Barrow of Speed. (Submitted by Kevin Nicks )


As soon as the U.K. went into lockdown due to COVID-19, Kevin Nicks started to notice the toll the pandemic was taking on his friends' mental health. 

"They started to struggle mentally with it because their normal lives were taken away," the gardener told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann. "All the media was just negative and frightening."

Concerned about the wellbeing of others, Nicks found a solution — he was going to break a land speed record using a wheelbarrow. 

"I thought, let me just build something bonkers," Nicks said. "I have a strong social media following and I can try and inspire other people to be creative."

Nicks broke records two years ago with a motorized garden shed. (Submitted by Kevin Nicks. )

So he built the unusual vehicle, which he named Barrow of Speed. Now he claims to have just set a new world record wheelbarrow speed at 77 kilometres per hour. 

Guinness has not yet confirmed the record, but will officially test it in September. 

Nicks — who resides in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire — is no stranger to using garden equipment to break records.  Two years ago, he created a shed that clocked 160 km/h.

"I've driven thousands of cars and it is by far the most comfortable because you've got so much space around you," he told As It Happens in a 2018 interview about the shed.

The lockdown has kept Kevin Nicks extremely busy — he even created a vehicle for children. (Submitted by Kevin Nicks. )

Nicks said that the differences between these two vehicles are evident when you drive them. 

"The shed is like driving a Rolls-Royce, and the wheelbarrow is like being a passenger on the back of Evel Knievel's motorbike," he said. 

Nicks says his worries about the state of the world have inspired him to help others through the pandemic.  That's why he also decided to create a smaller version of his record-breaking shed called Freddie the Sheddie for local kids to ride.  

"I was thinking about the children .. all of a sudden they've all got to stay at home, and I thought, 'It isn't right,'" he said. 

"I can't change the world, but what I can do is change a few people's lives."

Written by Oliver Thompson. Produced by Kate Cornick. Edited for length and clarity. 

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