Ex London courier knocks 11 days off round-the-world cycling record - and then attacks past holder

Blog post broadside takes aim at Mark Beaumont

by Simon_MacMichael   December 9, 2009  

Julian Emre Sayarer portrait

The year 1066 has gone down as in history as the one in which three kings – Edward The Confessor, Harold and William The Conqueror – sat on the English throne. But for Britain’s long-distance cyclists, 2009 will be remembered as a year when three cyclists from these shores each held the round-the-world cycling record.

Julian Emre Sayarer, a bike courier from London, last weekend broke the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle, held since September by South Londoner James Bowthorpe, who had himself bettered the time recorded by Scotland’s Mark Beaumont in February 2008.

But some of the gloss from the new record-holder's achievement risks being stripped away after he used his blog to launch a bizarre, four-letter-word-strewn attack at Beaumont, who is currently cycling the length of South America for a BBC documentary, and who took time out last month to help inspire school pupils in Scotland to get on their bikes to help raise money for the charity Children In Need.

Sayarer, who was born in London and grew up in Leicestershire, arrived at Rouen Cathedral, where his 18,050-mile journey began in June, last Saturday, setting a new world best time of 165 days compared to the 176 days that Bowthorpe took and Beaumont’s benchmark of 196 days.

His route took him through Europe to Ukraine and Russia to Kazakhstan and China. Flying from Shanghai to Bangkok, the 23-year-old then pedalled to Singapore, where he took another flight to New Zealand, riding the length of the country from north to south then jetting across the Pacific to Vancouver in Canada. From there, he cycled across the United States and flew to Lisbon, Portugal, before riding up through the Iberian Peninsula and into France to return to his departure point.

As the title of his website – www.thisisnotforcharity.com - makes clear, Sayarer’s trip wasn’t motivated by a desire to raise funds for good causes. Instead, the cyclist, who has a degree in politics from the University of Sussex, was aiming to raise awareness of a number of social issues, outlined in his Manifesto, which can be found on his website.

Sayarer undertook his trip on a Tout Terrain frame equipped with a Rohlhoff hub supplied by Bikefix of London’s Lamb’s Conduit Street, which is holding a party this Friday evening to celebrate his return, with food and drink on offer as well as an appearance by Mike Burrows, designer of bikes including the Lotus carbon fibre machine ridden to Olympic and World Championship glory by Chris Boardman, who will be talking about his current projects.

One name unlikely to be on the guest list is that of Mark Beaumont, however. In his latest blog post, Sayarer launches a vitriolic tirade against the Scot, prefaced with the comment that “completing that all-but meaningless record was motivated, more than anything, by earning my license, having done exactly as he [Beaumont] did, to say exactly what I thought of him.” It would be inadvisable for us to repeat most of what follows.

As he posted on Twitter when he flagged up his latest blog post, “relatives of Mark Beaumont might not want to read it,” but it’s clear from reading his lengthy attack on the Scotsman that pedalling more than 18,000 miles in his tracks haven’t tempered Sayarer’s opinion of him.

Sayarer appears to be rather more amenable towards Bowthorpe, and indeed the former record holder used Twitter to congratulate his successor, saying: "Great ride Julian! - rest up and see you for that cup of tea soon..."

Already, an attempt is being planned to beat the new record, by 16-year-old David Clark from County Durham, who intends to complete the circumnavigation in 150 days, although he will have to wait until he is 18 to embark upon his journey.

Sayarer, who says he’ll be back on the London courier circuit within the next few days, and is happy to take time out from delivering packages to talk about his experience for £6 an hour, is now planning a series of events to follow up on his ride. While we’re guessing that taking the Beaumont route of corporate speaking engagements and TV documentaries won’t be high on his list of priorities, he will be speaking at Stanfords, the travel bookshop in Covent Garden that helped sponsor his journey, sometime in the New Year.

He also plans to write a book about his journey - although given the comments aimed at Beaumont on his blog, presumably any intended publisher's libel lawyers would want to give it a good read-through first.

Given that Stanfords stocks Beaumont’s book, The Man Who Cycled The World, that does raise the intriguing prospect of the pair rubbing not shoulders, but at least dust jackets, on the bookstore’s cycling shelf some time in the future.

31 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

No need to wait 2 years, http://www.greatbikeride.com/ leaves in 2010

posted by London Commuter [8 posts]
9th December 2009 - 14:24

like this
Like (1)

I like that 'current location' button top right on Vin Cox's website

Current location - UK, not started yet. Hadn't he better hurry up if this is going to be a 2010 record attempt.

Either way, Go Vin!

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [138 posts]
9th December 2009 - 14:30

like this
Like (0)

well i for one rather enjoyed his blog Smile

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [335 posts]
9th December 2009 - 17:01

like this
Like (0)

I don't see how Guinness will give him the record - his route breaks the rules. You're supposed to go in one direction, with no backtracking. So his Bangkok - Singapore leg doesn't count.

posted by nick h. [27 posts]
9th December 2009 - 18:38

like this
Like (1)

Wow, is that rant really just fuelled by idealism? It's almost enough to make me wish I was young again (only almost...who needs it frankly?) Shame he chose to devote so much of his homecoming post to such pointless negativity, but hey what an achievement, record or not.

posted by Humbert15 [3 posts]
9th December 2009 - 19:41

like this
Like (0)

nick h. wrote:
I don't see how Guinness will give him the record - his route breaks the rules. You're supposed to go in one direction, with no backtracking. So his Bangkok - Singapore leg doesn't count.

Who needs records anyway they're just a plot to keep the working classes down! Especially records bearing the name of a bunch of upper class drugs pushers who've made millions keeping generations of the proletariat chemically coshed and in the pub when they should have been manning the barricades and formenting bloody revolution on the streets… or something.

MInes a pint!… hic

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [151 posts]
9th December 2009 - 22:12

like this
Like (1)

Some background about the riders and record.

Mark Beaumont completed his ride in 194 days and 17 hours.

James Bowthorpe completed his ride in 174 days and 5 hours which he rounded upto 175. The article above says 176 but James departed London on the 29th of March and returned on 20th of September which is 175 according to my calculations.

Within the Guinness rules you are supposed to deduct boat/flight time
" When the rider and bicycle reach aport of transit, be it for a flight or a boat, the clock stops until rider and bicycle arrive together at the destination from which the circumnavigation continues"

Mark did not deduct his transit time as he had beaten the previous record by such a large margin. James has also not deducted his transit time from his total above.
either.

Julian is claiming a total of 165 days. He left Rouen on the 10th of June and returned on the 4th of December which means he was away for a total of 178 days, therefore he has deducted his transit time.

Julian has a total of 4 transfer flights, James a total of 6.

Conclusion. Mark Beaumont is still the official current world record holder until Guinness rule otherwise.If James Bowthorpe deducts his transit time from his total journey time when making his submission to Guinness, having made 2 more flights than Julian and spent a greater time in total transit he should be crowned the new world record holder and Julian will have broken nothing ! Crying

posted by London Commuter [8 posts]
9th December 2009 - 22:36

like this
Like (0)

His blog's an interesting read. So he view Mark Beaumont as a sell out, I'll like to see what Mark has to say about it all.

posted by Alankk [121 posts]
9th December 2009 - 22:37

like this
Like (0)

'Selling out' surely assumes that Beaumont started out with the same world view, if he didn't how can he be selling out from something that he never bought in to? Thinking

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [151 posts]
9th December 2009 - 22:54

like this
Like (0)

was thinking about this again while riding home last night. i respect the fact that julian sees a lot wrong with the status quo and gives a sh*t.

but i can't help wondering, after all the ranting, why he hasn't done something constructive like actually use his politics degree to put himself in a position where he can do something about it. a blogging cycle courier isn't that likely to change the world.

give a sh*t is one thing - doing something about it is another.

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [335 posts]
10th December 2009 - 10:55

like this
Like (1)

If it wasn't for Mark Beaumont breaking the record in the first place, this idiot would be still running red lights whilst hawking his wares on the back of his "so cool" fixie wondering how he can spout his personal bile and vitriol at an unsuspecting person who has done nothing wrong.

Well done for getting around the world, but do us all a favour Julian and get over yourself.

posted by roadiesean [67 posts]
10th December 2009 - 11:15

like this
Like (0)

So Beaumont is still the record holder and this bile spouting fixie rider is a pretender to the crown? Well I can see there will be a lot more bile to come.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1765 posts]
10th December 2009 - 11:54

like this
Like (0)

Quote:
"I regard him as a lifeform some way inferior to the dead skin that accumulates in the seat of my crotch after three weeks of cycling a desert without washing."

That's quite a chip he's carrying on his shoulder, I'm amazed he can stay upright!

Whether he agrees with another person's achievements, outlook, personality, income etc is one thing. Deriding them in such a manner publicly for no good reason other than you dislike them is quite another.

If he behaves like he writes then he's not going to be much value to anyone apart from people of the same shade of opinion and a few sycophants clinging to his hem. The world was never improved by whingers and bashers, but by people doing things - positive things. As in the phrase: "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Bleedin' heart Politics students, they never change do they Yawn

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1635 posts]
10th December 2009 - 13:12

like this
Like (0)

Quote:
Julian is claiming a total of 165 days. He left Rouen on the 10th of June and returned on the 4th of December which means he was away for a total of 178 days, therefore he has deducted his transit time.

Julian has a total of 4 transfer flights, James a total of 6.

he spent 13 days on four flights? shouldn't have gone with Ryanair... Big Grin Big Grin

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [294 posts]
10th December 2009 - 13:23

like this
Like (0)

Simon E wrote:
Quote:
"I regard him as a lifeform some way inferior to the dead skin that accumulates in the seat of my crotch after three weeks of cycling a desert without washing."

That's quite a chip he's carrying on his shoulder, I'm amazed he can stay upright!

Whether he agrees with another person's achievements, outlook, personality, income etc is one thing. Deriding them in such a manner publicly for no good reason other than you dislike them is quite another.

If he behaves like he writes then he's not going to be much value to anyone apart from people of the same shade of opinion and a few sycophants clinging to his hem. The world was never improved by whingers and bashers, but by people doing things - positive things. As in the phrase: "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Bleedin' heart Politics students, they never change do they Yawn

If this is how he writes, his book will be worth avoiding.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1765 posts]
10th December 2009 - 15:00

like this
Like (0)

I thought there was a certain irony in the fact that he derided Beaumont for not doing the round the world cycle for the love of cycling, as this excerpt suggests -

"My ride was purely for love; for love of cycling, for love of the beautiful experiences I've had whilst travelling on my bicycle. It genuinely enraged me, from the start, to see Mark Beaumont doing what he did with his undertaking".

But then is he not a cycle courier, so thus getting paid for cycling, where is the difference? Maybe it's okay to make money out of cycling in the UK but not overseas, or some other obscure classification I don't quite understand.

A strange and angry person. Do something positive rather than just get angry at other people for not doing anything positive...

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [644 posts]
10th December 2009 - 15:33

like this
Like (0)

Umm, so Mark Beaumont's ride for Children in Need is all about himself? Yep, I think this guy has issues. He needs to deal with them before he opens his mouth again. I bet he won't.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1765 posts]
10th December 2009 - 15:59

like this
Like (0)

I read with great fascination!

I think that Julian owes his entire experience to Mark's feat. The inspiration, targets and feastabily of this trip were all demonstrated by Mark in the first instance. Anyone reading this will do so because of a common passion for, and interest in cycling. A degree of jealousy is therefore to be expected but sadly at some point the grapes have soured and the wine is cheap.

My dream is that someone, hopefully a girl, with a deep pocket and high lactate threshold takes the record time well beyond the level achievable by these self indulgent lost twentysomethings.

Otherwise, we can look forward to a spate of broken-record breakers!

Right, i'm off for a Guiness

Ride a bike now, the funk soul brother.

posted by Thextos [8 posts]
10th December 2009 - 20:00

like this
Like (0)

checkout alastair humphreys

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [196 posts]
10th December 2009 - 21:55

like this
Like (0)

I think the world would be a lot poorer place if it doesnt have angry young men like Sayarer. Of course his comments are over the top and I'm sure I wouldn't agree with half his political opinions but I do think he's genuine.

When I first seen the Orange advert with Beaumont, I instinctively disliked him. Essentially he'd made up his own 'race' in order to win it and seems to think he's some sort of hero. Yes, he'd raised money for charity but he'd done this by going on what was a to my mind a very long cycling holiday.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [805 posts]
11th December 2009 - 17:55

like this
Like (0)

All these remarks about Beaumont are woefully misinformed. He didn't invent his own race. Nick Sanders set the record a while back - in the '80s I think. (And no doubt people did it before him.) Nick's journey was just in the northern hemisphere and he only cycled about 11,000 miles, but Guinness ratified it because it was within the rules at the time.

Around 2002 or 2003 Guinness came up with the current rules, including 18,000 miles of cycling and passing through two antipodal points. So all of a sudden nobody held the record. The first guy to set it under the new rules was Steve Strange, in 2004. But he was a dour chap with no PR skilz and nobody noticed.

Then along came the Beaumont marketing machine. He didn't do it for a love of cycling or for the kiddies - it was work, to kick start a career as a TV presenter/adventure racer. (He told me this at a cycle show.) His next project was going to be rowing the Atlantic for the BBC. It didn't happen, but now he's cycling from top to bottom of the Americas for the BBC. Not exactly new, and he's not going for a speed record, but it's billed as a "never-before-attempted challenge" because he's climbing Aconcagua and McKinley along the way. It's very contrived, like so many of these feats: everything's been done. But he's succeeded in getting himself the job he wanted. His site says he is an adventurer/presenter. He's getting paid for the kind of thing that's usually done on holiday. Job done.

posted by nick h. [27 posts]
15th December 2009 - 21:05

like this
Like (0)

Well doesn't Sayarer come across as an arrogant, bile-filled tool. He needs to grow up, the graceless fool.

posted by Guy Collier [11 posts]
15th December 2009 - 21:07

like this
Like (0)

Let's stick to the facts here - Sayarer hasn't broken any record. He's made an ATTEMPT at a record, and his success or otherwise has yet to be agreed. Thinking

posted by dkramsay [11 posts]
30th December 2009 - 17:43

like this
Like (0)

cactuscat wrote:
Beaumont may be a shameless self-publicist but at least he's not a bitter, self-important idiot. we'll miss you, james b. i can't wait 2 years for that lad to start an attempt. come on folks - who's up for sticking it to sayarer? DaSy?

Mark most certainly isn't a bitter, self- important idiot, he's actually a great bloke to get on with and takes great interest in others.
personally, i am looking forward myself, to setting off in august 2011 thank you for that. Sayarer needs putting to shame.

David to cycle the world in 150-160 days.
attempting multiple world records-
- fastest person to cycle the world
- youngest person to cycle the world
(currently only 16 years old- just turned 18 before departure)

David Clark cycling the world's picture

posted by David Clark cyc... [2 posts]
22nd March 2010 - 10:36

like this
Like (0)

London Commuter wrote:
No need to wait 2 years, http://www.greatbikeride.com/ leaves in 2010

It's not Vin Cox that has to wait 2 years. It's me, due to funds, training & college, I'm not able to leave until at least august 2011.

David to cycle the world in 150-160 days.
attempting multiple world records-
- fastest person to cycle the world
- youngest person to cycle the world
(currently only 16 years old- just turned 18 before departure)

David Clark cycling the world's picture

posted by David Clark cyc... [2 posts]
22nd March 2010 - 10:39

like this
Like (0)

Now this is fascinating...

Don't give a monkeys about the record - they can all pedal hard and are better cyclists than I am, it's this 'why' element that's interesting. It's very much like the climbing world suddenly - 'better' routes, superior methods, 'purer' motivations, personal spite, jealousy, selling out... it's all there folks!

Just been reading the Humphries book lately - here's a man who can ride a bike and knows what an adventure is and has the grace to realise that he is in a very privileged position. His thoughts about being a Brit riding through poor parts of the the world are properly insightful.

I think Julian has the right to point out that he thinks Mark and his ilk are sellouts but he has done so with perhaps not enough thought. He will - should - look back at that post and think it's clumsy.

And while I'm kinda on Julians side I also think that Beaumont and Humphries are well within their rights to fund their adventures in whatever way they want, just as adventurers down the centuries have paid their way by providing other benefits to their patrons (colonisation, the state war machine, science, corporate sponsorship).

At least in there Julian does talk about the beauty of the ride and says that Mark had that too. Yes, these rides are epic and beautiful in their own right, and yes they do bring into sharp focus the inequalities of the world and the selfish and/or charitable motivations of those who ride them. But adventuring has always done this, balanced the ineffable 'why' of the physical feat against the ethics and politics of actually making it happen.

I think that's called 'life', and there are many ways of living it.

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [223 posts]
1st August 2010 - 21:18

like this
Like (0)

And of course he did apologise...

http://thisisnotforcharity.blogspot.com/2009/12/by-unpopular-demand-apol...

Read his blog since his return - he is interesting to read and clearly motivated by social justice.

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [223 posts]
1st August 2010 - 21:56

like this
Like (0)

alotronic wrote:
And of course he did apologise...

http://thisisnotforcharity.blogspot.com/2009/12/by-unpopular-demand-apol...

He may start that post with the words "I would like to begin by apologising,..." but goes on to do nothing of the sort, as the first two paragrpahs make clear. If anything, the whole post is giving the finger to anyone who criticised him in the first place.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [6972 posts]
2nd August 2010 - 8:25

like this
Like (0)

meanwhile, the game moves on: Vin Cox arrived back yesterday. Head to http://road.cc/21013 for more on that.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [6705 posts]
2nd August 2010 - 8:58

like this
Like (0)

I can't believe anyone would knock Mark Beaumont for thinking bigger than his round the world trip? Just because he wanted to use it to launch his career as an adventurer and presenter, doesn't diminish the aesthetic of his trip one bit. It just means he had the ambition to look further. For that I can only have admiration for him.

posted by JessOnABike [7 posts]
6th December 2010 - 16:50

like this
Like (0)