Mark Beaumont, until last month the holder of the world record for the fastest round-the-world bike ride, has thrown down the gauntlet to Scotland’s cyclists to rack up 10,000 miles in support of this year’s Children In Need campaign.
The annual telethon takes place on 20 November this year, and by then Mark will have ridden more than 10,000 miles in his current project, in which he is cycling the length of the Americas from Alaska in the North to Tierra del Fuego in the South.
His journey, which started in June, will form the subject of a BBC documentary to be aired next year, and he is currently in the Central American state of El Salvador.
Thankfully, you don’t actually have to jump on the bike and not stop pedalling until you have reached the same distance as Mark, who told BBC Scotland News: “By BBC Children in Need night I will have pedalled over 10,000 miles and I would like to challenge Scottish cyclists to try and catch me if you can. Whether you ride a mile or a thousand get pedalling and get sponsored to raise as much as you can."
Mark intends to appear on BBC Scotland’s coverage of Children In Need on the night - he should be in Peru by then - to announce whether or not the challenge has been met, as well as the amount of money raised, and you can get involved through his blog, which also contains full details of his journey.
The long-distance cyclist’s route is the ultimate End to End, following the American Cordillera sequence of mountain ranges which runs the entire length of the Americas and includes the Rocky Mountains and the Andes.
And as if cycling 15,000 miles wasn’t enough, Mark has already got off his bike to climb North America’s highest peak, the 20,312-foot Mount McKinley in Alaska, an expedition that lasted two weeks. An even greater challenge awaits him in Argentina – scaling the peak of South America’s highest mountain, Anconagua, which reaches 22,841 feet.
Mark set his round-the-world record in February 2008, but lost it last month when James Bowthorpe bettered his time by three weeks.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.