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Cyclist breaks 7 day world record fuelled by petrol station snacks – and sets off after another one

Rob Gardiner rode through 17 countries in seven days last month - now he is after fastest crossing of Europe from south to north

A Gloucestershire cyclist who last month set a new Guinness World Record for the most countries cycled through in seven days has immediately set off in pursuit of another one – the fastest crossing of Europe by bike from south to north.

Rob Gardiner, from Cirencester, set off from Tarfa in Spain today, and aims to arrive in Norkapp, Norway, within 21 days to break the previous best time for the transcontinental ride.

Rob Gardiner visited 17 countries in his successful bid last month, two more than the last person to do so in seven days.

In April, he rode through 17 countries to establish a new Guinness World Record, managing two more than the previous holder, reports Gloucestershire Live.

His record-breaking trip began in the Netherlands and finished with him crossing the border from Kosovo into Macedonia with a little under three hours in hand.

He said: "The lack of sleep was OK, but I found constantly eating a real challenge.

"After a week of high-energy petrol station snacks, I was really just craving some fruit and a salad.

"The longest day in the saddle was 18 hours, which was far longer than expected. It was a really tough week and there were some real highs and lows.

"The best day was tackling three Alpine passes in Austria – I felt great. But cycling in freezing rain, in the dark, in Slovenia really tested me.”

The next record he is trying to break s held by fellow Gloucestershire cyclist, Lee Fancourt, who took his own life in 2018. In 2015, Fancourt crossed the continent in 21 days 12 hours, one of a number of Guinness World Records he set.

"I cycled the last record attempt with a trapped nerve in my shoulder, so I hope I won't get any issues this time,” Gardiner said.

"I gave up trying to have proper meals, it was a case of eating a couple of chocolate bars an hour and adapting to the situation- sugar and caffeine.

"Going for this next record is a big thing, Lee was an inspiration. I have tried to think how I can replicate what I did last month more efficiently.

"It's seeing how hard I can push myself.

"It helps listening to audiobooks, some Harry Potter and escaping into an imaginary world on route,” he continued.

"Psychologically it has been massive to have had the preparation I have had.

"I've been trying to cycle three hours a day, I have a pain cave in my house- and eight hour training rides on weekends.

"Hopefully it will all pay off," he added.

Gardiner, who works at Steppes Travel in Cirencester, is aiming to raise money for the wildlife conservation charity African Steppes, and you can find his fundraising page here.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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