On Monday 18th September 2017, I left the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, aiming to return within 80 days to complete the world's fastest circumnavigation of the world by bike, inspired by the story of Phileas Fogg, from Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days.
Some 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes later I returned to the spot, having ridden no less than 18,025 miles (29,008 kilometres). In the process I beat the previous Guinness World Record by 45 days, and set a second record for the most miles ridden in a month along the way.
In this Collection you can see the exact route that I took for my Around the World cycle, starting with crossing Eastern Europe, Russia, Mongolia and China, before flying down to Australia and New Zealand. Alaska, Canada and North America came next, before the final miles through Portugal, Spain and France, all aiming for the golden 240 miles a day. As you'll see from each Tour description, some days were certainly easier than others...
This wasn't my first round the world ride. On 15 February 2008, I returned to the Arc de Triomphe after 194 days and 17 hours solo and unsupported. On that attempt, I'd averaged 100 punishing miles a day, which at the time smashed the Guinness World Record by 81 days. Nearly ten years on, I wanted to see what could be done with a full support crew, really pushing the limits of human endurance.
The attempt was a real team effort, fully supported with drivers, mechanics, performance managers and physiotherapists switching out for each leg.
The round the world challenge started with the first leg from Paris, heading east towards the Russian border and across Asia to Beijing.
Despite a mind whirring, I tried to stockpile sleep the night before, knowing this would be my last opportunity to get a full eight hours.
I set off from the Arc de…
A second 4am start, leaving Northern Belgium behind and crossing into the Netherlands with a sore left Achilles, to be joined for a while by Aloys, the founder of Koga, the brand of my round the world bike.
Into the heart of Germany, we finished the day at half nine near Hannover, another 390-odd km in the bank.
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The task on the third day was to cross Germany and get as close to Poland as possible, starting by circling around Hannover and then later Berlin.
This was my first 400km day, 250 miles, which was utterly remarkable, because it has been a day of setbacks, just bizarre road closures and ducking on and…
The early morning crossing into Poland was easy and I was onto long, straight, quiet wooded roads. Just
after dawn a wolf trotted across the road right in front of me; a wonderful moment of calm and a glimpse into the wilderness – I was no longer in Western Europe.
The tailwind, which was with me all day…
It was a surprisingly cold start to the day, mist lying
low on the fields. At this time I'd just passed 1,000 miles, only 17,000 to go!
As the day went on, the roads got smaller and prettier, but the quantity of trucks didn’t lessen and I missed the comfort of a hard shoulder to duck into when they passed…
This was the last day riding through Europe, with Lithuania in the morning, Latvia in the afternoon, and then crossing into Russia the following morning.
I was happy with the 245 miles progress, considering it was my biggest ascent day yet and involved a couple of sections of dirt roads in Lithuania and…
After some early morning confusion about which Russian border crossing to take, it took forty-five minutes for us to be allowed into Russia, and the unsmiling guards made sure we didn’t feel welcome.
I had treated the border crossing as my first break of the day, so set out into Russia for my next four…
Today's task was to navigate through Moscow, and it went from a single carriageway through several hundred
miles of forests suddenly on to a ten-lane highway and ring-roads with an intimidating volume of traffic.
Getting the Moscow crossing planned was hectic, and it didn't help when the RV got stuck too…
That was definitely the toughest day yet: 230 miles, which is a remarkable success, considering I started the day with a crash. I didn’t have much of the help I had yesterday with the tailwind; it’s been a really rolling day, big climbs and a cracking sidewind most of the time. But
most of all this elbow…
It was a big relief to be back on target with a 247-mile day, considering I had my arm in strapping all day and the bruising was coming out across the palm of my hand. It was really painful today, not helped by seriously rough roads in the morning.
It certainly got better this afternoon: incredible horizons…
Although today I managed just over the 240 miles, it was an absolute battle – first day properly into the headwinds.
I was not loving Russia for the trucks and traffic – I have been in a bit of a darker place today because of the conditions.
As well as the headwind, there was also about 3,000 metres of…
The twelfth day had been a biggy, with 250 miles, and well over 3,000 metres climbing.
Even though we would be going through the Ural Mountains on the next day, it should be a lot less climbing.
After that, it dropped to less than 500 metres of climbing a day. My cleats were really hurting too, so I was…
So we made it across Europe in twelve and a half days and were now in Asia, a huge milestone.
This was a 243-mile day, and I have passed one touring cyclist in the whole of Russia and I can see why. Certainly the roads that I am on are not for your average cyclist, they are absolutely brutal. You'd benefit…
It was a dry day, one of the first days in Russia when it hadn’t rained at all. And being a Saturday, there were a lot less trucks so I felt a lot safer on the road – I actually quite enjoyed it.
It was a beautiful finish top the day too. It is getting quite cool; just as the sun sets, there is this mist…
At the end of day 15 we had a beautiful red sunset and we just made it around the town of Omsk. I wasn’t meant to make it this far, but it has been another cracking day distance wise with 406 kilometres, so it has been good to crack the 250 miles again.
Over the last three days the local time has changed…
This was meant to be the flattest day of stage 1 across Europe and Asia, so I was looking forward to fast miles, but in actual fact it had been one of the toughest days so far.
I had a cracking headwind all morning and in the afternoon rode on to concrete roads. Little lips and gaps you are dropping off…
This was only the second day since Paris that we didn't nail the 240 mile target, but I had a headwind all day, so there was a time that I thought we would lose a lot more than that.
Quite a change of scenery: I made it past Novosibirsk, and it was just flat, flat, flat, just marshes. Just done about…
This day was an absolute battle, covering 236 miles, and far hillier than I expected it to be.
With heavy rain for the first three hours, it wasn't the
easiest way to warm up; but I soon dried out and it ended up being a beautiful day through much quieter roads.
There has been a really noticeable change…
A big milestone at the end of the 19th day, because this is officially a quarter of the way around the World.
It was a big day, just shy of 400km, so about 248 miles. And it was so nice to stop and say hello to my Russian crew – to acknowledge them and say thank you.
Covering 241 miles on the 20th day made for a good day, in that sense, but it was a funny old day. The story of the day was rain, rain, rain. It started dry but massive, massive rain today, so quite nice for it to clear for last couple of hours, following a train track into this evening which had been beautiful.
Road Cycling Collection by Katherine Moore
Road Cycling Collection by Paul Voss
Bike Touring Collection by Urlaub in Österreich
Mountain Biking Collection by Tobias Woggon