London to Paris record holder sets sights on Guy Martin’s Taklamakan Desert record

Jonathan Parker will need to cover 550 very tough kilometres in 28 hours or under

Jonathan Parker, who in 2016 set the record for the fastest bicycle ride from London to Paris, will on April 24 make an attempt to break Guy Martin’s record for riding across China’s Taklamakan Desert. All money raised will go to the charity Cyclists Fighting Cancer, which amongst other things, makes bespoke bicycles for children affected by cancer. Over £10,000 has been raised already. You can donate here.

Summer temperatures average 40C in the Taklamakan and sandstorm winds can reach 150mph. Local legend (which doesn’t seem to have heard about the road that goes right through it) says that once you enter the desert you never come out.

The record for cycling across the Taklamakan was first set by British cyclists Laurence Gribble and Nick Codrington in 2015. Braving giant rolling sand dunes and night-time temperatures that dropped to -30C, they covered the 550km in 47 hours, later describing the experience as the worst two days of their lives.

Motorbike racer and TV presenter Guy Martin was filmed making his attempt for the Channel 4 programme Our Guy in China. He set a time of 28 hours, 17 minutes, which remains the time to beat.

Parker’s pedigree is not in doubt. In 2016 he rode from London to Paris in 12.5 hours – including the five-hour ferry journey – and his training for this attempt has been going well.



Last big training ride today. Over 300km @ 42kph (see note on Garmin below). It felt tough last week. I hoped that was mainly the heat, so today was a bit of a test. I was up at 3am to get as much as I could done before the temperatures reached the high 30s. The legs felt great in the circumstances - by that I mean they constantly hurt at the moment, but when I can put push without the pain getting too much, that's the great bit. . My broken Garmin is causing a few issues. One lug for the mount broke and when it fell off the screen cracked. Now it started cycling around pages like you are pressing buttons. At one point today it switched to indoor mode and stopped recording speed and GPS. If anyone has a contact at Garmin who could help, I'd be grateful. The Garmin shop wants 4 weeks for a repair, but the record attempt is in 12 days. . The fund raising for children affected by cancer is up to £10,700. We're now hoping to reach £12,000. Any donation makes a difference and is hugely appreciated for donations and to read about the record attempt. . #timetrial #tt #aeroiseverything #giantbikes #teambottrill #strava #giantuk #cyclistsfightingcancer #timetrialtuesday #ttbike #ttracing #endura #gianttrinity #globalcyclingnetwork #cyclinglife #doha #qarar #worldrecordattempt #aerodynamics #cyclingphotos

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His greatest concern appears to be the cold. Having broken all his limbs in a serious accident a few years ago, Parker has more than his fair share of metal in his body and suffers a lot of pain when the temperature drops.

Here are a few details about the bike.

And here’s the Just Giving link again.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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