Today at noon, three men and one woman set off from Greenwich Park for the second edition of the World Cycle Race, with another man starting his attempt to cycle round the globe from Bangkok.
Organisers are confident that in a little over three months’ time, the winner will have set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle.
The race officially launched today at Marble Arch at 9.30am, with friends and supporters taking to their bikes to accompany the entrants to the start on the Greenwich Meridian.
To comply with Guinness World Record rules, whichever route the riders choose must start and finish at the same place, include 18,000 miles on the bike, and pass through two antipodal points.
The riders starting from London are Lee Fancourt, aged 36 and Jason Saunders, 24, both British, 32-year-old Irishman Breifne Earley, and the only woman in the race, Fran Hollender, aged 26 and from Germany; she’s been getting help in her training from Guinness World Record holder, Juliana Buhring.
Starting in Bangkok is Prasad Erande, 29 years of age and from India, who unlike the other four riders will be heading west on his route.
You can find full details about the World Cycle Race and the riders, as well as being able to follow their progress, on the event’s website.
The inaugural round-the-world race, then known as of the event, then known as the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour, was held in 2012, with Britain’s Mike Hall taking just 91 days 18 hours to complete his circumnavigation, excluding time spent off the bike in transit.
It would have been a new Guinness World Record, but before it was certified, the rules were changed to include total travel time. By that measure, Hall took 107 days 2 hours 30 minutes.
No male Guinness World Record has yet been set under the new rules, and with Hall’s ride never ratified, the current record remains the one set under the previous rules in 2010 by Alan Bate.
It stands at 106 days 10 hours and 33 minutes, but excludes travel time, and unlike Hall’s unsupported ride, it was also partially supported.
The women’s Guinness World Record, meanwhile, is held by Buhring who took 152 days to circumnavigate the globe between July and December 2012, with her record set under the current rules.
Hall was one of three of the original nine starters to complete the round-the-world trip in 2012, and this year he will be chairing the race rules committee on behalf of race organisers, The Adventurists.
Mat Brett of road.cc caught up with him in 2012 to ask about the ride and in particular about his bike and other equipment he was using. You’ll find the article here.
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.