• Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features

Cape to Cape Challenge – 18,000km in 73 days

Cape to Cape Challenge – 18,000km in 73 days

Road Cycling Collection by Jonas Deichmann



788:48 h

10,514 mi

262,050 ft

In endurance cycling there are three main continental crossings, two of which I’ve already completed; Eurasia in 2017 and then Panamerica in 2018. It became a dream for me to be the first person to complete all three, and the Cape to Cape Challenge was born.

Spanning from the North Cape in Norway to Cape Town in South Africa, this 18,000 km journey spans the length of Finland, down through Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran. From there, a single day’s transfer to Cairo, Egypt marks the start of the second leg down through Africa, passing through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

This is my story of the 73 day journey to ride this distance and the many cultural shifts that you experience as you pass through no less than 14 countries. This is my story of the changing landscapes, the kindness of people, the diverse wildlife, and the struggles I faced; food poisoning, violent public protests, language barriers, mechanical issues and dehydration.

Despite all this, I reached Cape Town to complete this epic crossing, beating the previous record by some 30 days. I was joined by ultracyclist and photographer Philipp Hympendahl until Egypt, where a severe case of food poisoning forced him to abandon.

You will find some discrepancies between the daily distances, riding time and average speed between my daily diary entries and the komoot Tours. The diary is based on the actual data from my board computer, which I wasn't able to retrieve unfortunately. Therefore, the komoot tours have been rebuilt, trying to remodel my tours as accurately as possible. However, speeds and riding times are only based on estimations of the komoot algorithm.

Keep an eye out later this summer, when I'll be releasing a documentary film and book about the project.

I’ve explained more about this challenge here:

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Cape to Cape Challenge – Day 1

    120 mi
    13.3 mph
    6,875 ft
    7,750 ft

    We are starting the challenge at the North Cape on a spectacular day, without a single person about and the most wonderful blue sky.


    A last minute delay meant that I set off at 9.45am, on the route along the Arctic Ocean covering 186 km. A beautiful route, of course accompanied by plenty of hills and headwind!

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 09:46
    141 mi
    14.4 mph
    4,550 ft
    4,300 ft

    With an early start before 6am, we turned away from the coastline. You're constantly faced with reindeers crossing the road so we tried for ages to get a good photograph with them!


    Into total wilderness, the road snaked through never ending forests, past lakes and alongside rivers with very few other

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • 11:16
    175 mi
    15.6 mph
    3,575 ft
    3,475 ft

    Continuing to ride over endless Finnish hills, the headwind kept blowing in our faces. Surprisingly it was warm, even 't-shirt weather', which helped to make the windy conditions easier, as we shared turns in the wind.


    We crossed out of the Arctic Circle in the evening, riding into the only real city

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 10:40
    153 mi
    14.3 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,475 ft

    We'd arrived into the city late on the third day, and being really tired allowed ourselves a lie-in to start at 8am today, after waving off Pål, our videographer.


    Following the main road until midday, I noticed a shortcut that we could take and had checked on the Finnish maps to see if they were tarmaced

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 10:04
    142 mi
    14.1 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,725 ft

    Waking on the veranda, we made an early getaway and rode some 60 km before having any breakfast today. Then in the next town after having something to eat, it started to pour with rain and the headwind was back again.


    After pushing on for a few hours in these awful conditions, it was clear that Philipp

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 12:42
    178 mi
    14.0 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,625 ft

    A wet and cold early start at 6am, where the tarmac road quickly became a gravel one. Having reached the Finnish Lake District, we rode past lake after lake, spectacular.


    Finally after midday the wind direction turned, so for the first time on the challenge we were treated to a tailwind! Making the most

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 11:37
    171 mi
    14.7 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,600 ft

    It was well worth the later start at 7.30am today after the late finish yesterday and to make the most of the hotel breakfast!


    Frustratingly, the first 40 km seemed to be a series of roadworks and construction, with some gravel segments and rather stop-start.


    Our luck changed when we joined the main road

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 07:36
    125 mi
    16.5 mph
    875 ft
    850 ft

    Phew, what an awful day on the bike. The combination of lashing rain that lasted all day, a tough headwind and cold teamed together with Russia's busiest road make for no fun at all.


    With simply no alternative, we took the main road to Moscow, constantly getting close-passed by both lorries and cars at

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 09:29
    149 mi
    15.7 mph
    2,700 ft
    2,400 ft

    With the exception of the headwind, the awful weather from yesterday's ride was with us again today. Philipp has suffered for the past week and now I too am beginning to feel a bit sick following yesterday's cold conditions.


    The morning was spent riding on hard, but we did stop for a while at lunchtime

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 08:32
    134 mi
    15.7 mph
    2,425 ft
    2,350 ft

    More of the same, we left early to make our journey to Moscow in yet more pouring rain. This huge motorway had only 30 cm of hard shoulder to ride on, with lorries going past at high speeds.


    It was about midday when the wing mirror of a lorry hit my shoulder. I was very lucky to be totally fine, but

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 09:30
    135 mi
    14.2 mph
    3,000 ft
    2,850 ft

    On this eleventh day, we left Moscow on the huge ten-lane ring road. Thankfully, the traffic quickly subsided after we headed toward the Black Sea on the highway. As well as that, good tarmac and a wide shoulder on the road, what a treat!


    With these good conditions, we pressed on at 35km/h all morning

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 10:27
    157 mi
    15.0 mph
    4,700 ft
    5,050 ft

    It was an early beginning of sunrise for another leg on the shoulder of a busy high-speed highway. Since both a hilly route and a strong cross wind started, it got a little easier around noon when we started to turn east.


    Driving along this street edge means that debris and dirt from the trucks caused

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 08:11
    129 mi
    15.8 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,425 ft

    Back on track, we rode to Voronezh to get Philipp's broken phone fixed and did some essential bike maintenance.


    As it's a big industrial town, it took a lot of time to cross and get these things sorted. Riding away at 1pm, we were on the motorway again and rode hard to Pawlows during the last light of

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 12:34
    191 mi
    15.2 mph
    5,500 ft
    5,325 ft

    Really keen to crack on and get out of Russia, we got going super early at 4am in a bitter 3 degrees! The weather forecast shows that tomorrow's weather is severe with strong winds from direction of the Black Sea, so making solid progress today is important.


    We pushed hard on the shoulder of the road

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 10:09
    163 mi
    16.1 mph
    2,750 ft
    3,075 ft

    Another 4am start meant that we could ride hard in the morning before we had to turn direction. Here, the wind blew so hard that we were relieved we'd made good time this morning.


    We crossed this bleak and beautiful steppe landscape with a hefty crosswind, making it difficult to stay in control of the

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 10:32
    157 mi
    14.9 mph
    3,950 ft
    2,625 ft

    From steppe to rolling hills, not only the landscape changed today but also the people.


    We faced more hard crosswinds in the morning, but cracked on non-stop to reach the city of Stawropol.


    It wasn't much after that it got dark, as the main road that we were riding along had no shoulder it was too dangerous

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 10:26
    163 mi
    15.7 mph
    4,000 ft
    4,050 ft

    After a very interrupted night and barely any sleep on the restaurant floor, we set off very tired today. Thankfully it was already warm at 5 am, easy to feel like we are in a new climate.


    We can see the conflict around us in this area all day, from the military presence to the police checkpoints and

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 14:43
    146 mi
    9.9 mph
    10,975 ft
    10,750 ft

    Welcome to Georgia!


    Crossing the Caucasus, we had some hefty climbing today across the mountains, and I adored every bit of it. Both of us were very keen to get into the mountains, but we had a three hour ride first to get to the border, with a 30 km long queue of lorries being searched. Thankfully it

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 13:00
    162 mi
    12.5 mph
    4,075 ft
    5,400 ft

    Ideal conditions, lovely weather and even a tailwind, Georgia has been kind to us today. We rode on a flat road through the wine region of Georgia, flanked by tall mountains as we made great progress.


    Crossing into Azerbaijan at midday, the hospitality of this first Islamic country on our ride was clear

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • 08:50
    144 mi
    16.3 mph
    450 ft
    700 ft

    Once again in Azerbaijan the kindness and hospitality of these people shows clearly. Having stopped at a gas station to eat something after an early start in darkness, the owner produced homemade jam, with bread, eggs, butter and cheese.


    After a morning of solid riding, the heat of the midday sun was

    by Jonas Deichmann

  • More Tours & Highlights

Like this Collection?



Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    10,514 mi
  • Duration
    788:48 h
  • Elevation
    262,050 ft

You Might Also Like

Badges for Cols - Montagnes du Monde

Road Cycling Collection by Café du Cycliste

Road cycling in Greece — Athens and the Peloponnese

Road Cycling Collection by Lizzy Banks

Wandertouren für Genießer im Naturpark Lahn-Dill-Bergland

Hiking Collection by Naturpark Lahn-Dill-Bergland

Lael's 2021 Komoot Women's Torino Nice Rally

Bike Touring Collection by Lael