A new world record has been set for the fastest human powered crossing of the African continent, by a team of three cyclists from the UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Nicholas Bourne (UK), Mark Blewett (South Africa) and David Martin (Zimbabwe) rode from Cairo to Cape Town, covering a 10,600km route in 38 days, and crossing the line together at the weekend.
The trio beat the existing record, held by Mark Beaumont, by four days. They paid tribute to the Scotsman’s efforts, as while the “CAROCAP” team had a mobile campervan setting up meals and beds ahead of the riders, and a further car followed them while they cycled, Beaumont completed the challenge totally unsupported.
Event creator Nicholas Bourne (who also holds also the current world record for running the continent) was elated to set a new world record, but believes it is unlikely to stand for long.
He said: “We are certain that this record will be broken again as the road infrastructure improves and knowledge about how best to ride the different and varied stages and environments is more available but we have set a very high marker for current conditions. We look forward to the next contenders to step forward and take on this epic challenge”.
Each day started at 4am, with ten hours’ riding split between the morning and evening to avoid the midday temperatures, which sometimes reached 40 degrees centigrade. The group covered an average of 287km each day at an average speed of 30kph, on SwiftCarbon road bikes.
The team, which shrunk from six original riders, hoped to complete the ride in 34 days, but lost one day to sickness when Mark Blewett contracted a stomach bug, and a further day when Egyptian authorities changed the route for security reasons.
Mark Beaumont cycled from Cairo to Cape Town in May this year in 42 days, beating the previous record by 17 days. Beaumont described the ride as “the toughest ride of my life, by far”, contending with a number of mechanical problems, fending off a mugging, and illness alone.
The team’s press officer, Patrick Traynor, told road.cc: “The guys said half way through ‘I don’t know how Beaumont did it, even with those extra five days, having to do everything each day.’”
“Hats off to Beaumont”.
CAROCAP is raising funds for the Safari Simbaz Cycling Academy in Kenya, and the provision of 1,100 bikes to World Bicycle Relief.