Mark Beaumont has announced plans to cycle around the world in 80 days – and is going to warm up with a 3,500-mile ride around the coastline of Great Britain, starting from London tomorrow.
For several weeks now, he has been teasing followers of his Facebook page, telling them to look out for the announcement of his toughest challenge yet – and as he explains in the above video, he’s under no illusions about the scale of it.
In 2008, the Scottish adventurer set the Guinness World Record for the quickest circumnavigation of the world by bicycle, completing his journey in 194 days 17 hours.
The current record stands at 123 days 43 minutes and was set in 2015 by former Olympic speedskater Andrew Nicholson of New Zealand.
Beaumont will begin his attempt to complete the round-the-world ride on 2 July in French capital Paris, the city where his previous record-breaking circumnavigation started and finished.
The Artemis World Cycle, as his challenge is named, will also raise funds for charity via the cyclist’s Beaumont Foundation, including a scholarship fund for young adventurers.
The 34-year-old’s latest record attempt will see him spend 16 hours a day in the saddle with a daily target of 240 miles, and his route is broken down into five legs.
The first takes him from Paris to Beijing in China, travelling through countries including Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Mongolia, with the second leg crossing Australia from Perth to Brisbane.
After that, he will ride from Invercargill to Auckland in New Zealand, then from Anchorage in Alaska to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Finally, he will ride from Lisbon in Portugal back to Paris.
“This is the culmination of the past two decades, since I was a 12-year-old boy cycling across Scotland,” he said.
“I would love for this journey to give people the confidence to take on what they are capable, for young people in particular to stop and to think ‘what’s my 80 days’?”
He is being supplied for his record attempt by Wiggle, whose head of brand Jo Taylor said: ”We are delighted to be working with Mark on his exciting, ultra-endurance record attempt and kitting him and his team out.
“We want everyone attempting their own 80 day challenges to know that Wiggle is here with all the ‘good stuff’ they’ll need to complete those challenges, whether it’s cycle gear, nutrition products, running, swimming or outdoor kit.”
The ride around the British coastline, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 4 April and is due to take 15 days to complete, will be undertaken at the same daily mileage rate he needs to achieve to complete the round-the-world ride in 80 days.
In 2015, Beaumont rode from Cairo to Cape Town in 42 days, breaking the previous record for crossing Africa from north to south by 17 days.
Later that year, he rode 516 miles in less than 38 hours to help VisitScotland publicise the North Coast 500, billed as the country’s answer to the USA’s iconic Route 66.
The launch of Beaumont’s latest challenge comes after a weekend in which the world of ultracycling came under unprecedented mainstream media attention following the death of Yorkshire-born Mike Hall during the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in Australia.
Beaumont said on Facebook that he was “So very saddened” to hear the news, describing Hall as “a quietly inspirational man and phenomenal endurance rider.”
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.