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Round the world biking? Who's the quickest?

An update on the record attempts by James Bowthorpe and Julian Emre Sayarer

Julian Emre Sayarer's return to Rouen Cathedral followed by his attack on former record holder Mark Beaumont certainly put the cat among the pigeons and got people talking here on But did he get the record? Julian certainly seems to think so, but it's far from a done deal as far as we're concerned.

To make a bit more sense of the situation we've been speaking to some people in the know, and the concensus seems to be that Julian's claim of 165 days – 13 days less than it actually took him – is, well, optimistic.

We're still waiting to hear the rules from the horse's mouth but our understanding is that the time spent in transfer from one place to another – either by boat, plane, train or whatever – is deductible for the purposes of the record, which must consist of an otherwise continuous ride of at least 18,000 miles and take in two antipodal points – opposite points on the globe. The full rules in PDF format are attached at the bottom of this story. Essentially the clock is ticking at all times, except during transfer. As we understand it, the following are the facts, but we'll update them as we learn more:

1) Mark didn't deduct his transfer times from his total, because he'd broken Steve Stange's record by such a big margin. However, he was entitled to do so under the Guinness rules. Mark's got a certificate from GWR that's the latest one issued. Currently he's still the record holder.

2) James didn't deduct his times either so his time is directly comparable to Mark's and he rounded it up to 175 days (29/03/09 - 20/09/09) from 174 days 4 hours. Again, he's entitled to deduct transfer times, which are defined as any time that the bike is checked in for a transfer, and he has, so far as we understand, done so for his official world record submission.

3) Julian *has* deducted his transfers. However, there seems to be some confusion about what else he's deducted - there's a suggestion that he's also deducted rest days and mechanicals, which isn't admissable under the Guinness rules. Certainly with a total elapsed time of 178 days (10/06/2009 - 4/12/2009) and just four flights he's rounded down his time to 165 days, which seems excessive: he would have had to spend 13 days travelling. This doesn't seem likely.

4) Julian's route was much more direct in terms of transfers, with just four flights. James took about 11 flights in total, but his total elapsed time was more than three days quicker than Julian.

So who's the winner? Well, given the facts above, when Guinness adjudicate we'd expect them to find that James' time is the quicker. But time will tell and we'll keep you updated. Stay tuned!

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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