Around the world cycling record

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See also: Cycling records

The Guinness World Record for fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle is awarded for completing a continuous journey around the globe by bicycle and other means, consisting of a minimum 29000 km in total distance cycled.

In 2013 GWR rules changed and the old record of 106 days 10 hours 33 minutes (which excluded transit time) will now stand in GWR archives. The new rules now state that the clock does not stop for any waiting time for transit flights or ferries or for the duration of the transit. The clock is only stopped when the rider crosses the finish line after completing the circumnavigation.

The male record is currently 123 days 43 minutes by Andrew Nicholson of New Zealand. Paola Gianotti of Italy holds the current female record, completing her attempt in November 2014 in a total of 144 days, though these were not ridden consecutively.

Although there is no differentiation by Guinness, there are two types of attempts, supported and unsupported. Most do the ride supported, especially through the Australian outback. The principles for unsupported rides are:

  1. do it all yourself, under your own power;
  2. carry all your own gear (i.e. no domestiques); and
  3. no outside support (deliveries only to public addresses or 'open' homes such as those in,[1] no support vehicles of any kind meeting the rider along the way to provide supplies). 'Pure' unsupported rides also preclude any visits from friends or others along the way. These rules require riders to be alone for the entire ride, with a minimum 5-bicycle-length distance from any other riders or support vehicles.

Guinness rules[edit]

The rules state "the journey should be continuous and in one direction (East to West or West to East), that the minimum distance ridden should be 18,000 miles (29,000 km), and that the total distance travelled by the bicycle and rider should exceed an Equator's length, i.e. 24,900 miles (40,100 km)." They also state that: "Any considerable distance travelled opposite to the direction of the attempt must be discounted from any calculations of the overall distance travelled," and that the route "must be ridden through two approximate antipodal points."[2][3]

Alan Bate writes, "The record criteria requires [sic] the rider to cover 28,970 kilometers by bike, in an East to West or West to East direction, wavering no more than 5 degrees off course. The total journey distance must be a minimum of 40,075 kilometers, to include all transit by flight or sea. The ride must start and finish in the same place and must pass at least two antipodal points (these are two points that line up through the earth's centre). When the rider reaches a transit point to connect with a flight or boat to the next continent or country start point, the clock stops with regard to the actual riding time *(no longer the case any more since the rules have changed in relation to transit time, which is NOW included in the total time). As most of the earth's surface is water, this is unavoidable and fair as it applies to all athletes attempting the record. Once customs is cleared at the next destination, the clock immediately starts again. The same bicycle must be used throughout the attempt, although repairs and replacement parts and bikes are allowed for mechanical failure. Satellite tracking is highly recommended by Guinness World Records and a daily log, signatures of dignitaries and photographs at strategic points must be collated as evidence."[4]

The requirement to pass at least two antipodal points causes some problems in route planning. For example, among popular countries for around the world cyclists, the antipodes of Australia is spread out over the Atlantic Ocean, North America over the Indian Ocean, and Europe over the South Pacific Ocean, without any land mass there. Those land areas would not give any opportunities for an antipodal pair while cycling. Some possible pairs are China and Argentina and Spain/New Zealand (Madrid and Wellington fall within the ±5-degree difference permitted by Guinness).


Nick Sanders[edit]

Nick Sanders, the first person to set the record.

Nick Sanders set the original record in 1984, riding over 13,000 miles (20,900 km) around the Northern Hemisphere in 78 days. In 2003, Guinness changed the rules to require a journey of at least 40,075 kilometres (24,900 mi) in total, of which at least 28,970 kilometres (18,000 mi) must be cycled, via two antipodal points. The changes invalidated Sanders's record. Sanders still holds the Guinness World Record for fastest ride around the coast of Great Britain, riding a verified 4,800 miles (7,720 km) in 22 days.[5]

Steve Strange[edit]

On 13 February 2005, Steve Strange completed the first record attempt under the new Guinness rules, achieving a world record of 276 days and 19 hours.

Phil White[edit]

In April 2005, Phil White completed a record attempt in an estimated 299 days.[6] His time did not beat the one set two months earlier by Steve Strange.

Mark Beaumont[edit]

Mark Beaumont

On 14 February 2008, Mark Beaumont completed a circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle in 194 days and 17 hours.[7]

James Bowthorpe[edit]

In September 2009 James Bowthorpe completed a circumnavigation in 175 days. This was not ratified by Guinness World Records.

Julian Sayarer[edit]

In June 2010 Julian Sayarer completed a circumnavigation in 169 days.

Vin Cox[edit]

on 2010 Vin Cox completed a circumnavigation of the globe, which was certified by Guinness as the new world record with a time of 163 days, 6 hours, 58 minutes.

Alan Bate[edit]

On 4 August 2010, Alan Bate completed the circumnavigation in 125 days 21 hours and 45 minutes, which was ratified by Guinness World Records.

Mike Hall[edit]

On 4 June 2012, Mike Hall completed his circumnavigation in 91 days 18 hours. His ride was totally unsupported. After the ride, Guinness World Records changed the rules to include total travel time. Under the new rules Hall recorded a time of 107 days 2 hours 30 minutes, which was not ratified by Guinness World Records.

Juliana Buhring[edit]

On 22 December 2012, Juliana Buhring, of British-German nationality (though born in Greece), completed the circumnavigation in 152 days including total travel time, becoming the first woman to attempt and to complete a circumnavigation of the world by bicycle using a route that complies with the requirements of Guinness World Records. This was an unsupported ride.

Thomas Grosserichter[edit]

On 31 December 2012, Thomas Großerichter from Germany, completed the circumnavigation in 105 days 1 hour and 44 minutes. This was not certified by Guinness World Records.

Lee Fancourt[edit]

On 13 June 2014, Lee Fancourt completed a circumnavigation in 103 days, 23 hours,15 minutes. This was not ratified by Guinness World Records. Fancourt's record attempt was disqualified after failing to return to the point in India where he took a taxi in order to help out his support crew.[8]

Paola Gianotti[edit]

The current women's record is 144 days for Paola Gianotti who started and finished at Ivrea, Turin, Italy, from 8 March to 30 November 2014. This was a supported ride. During her voyage, on 16 May 2014, Gianotti was injured in a road accident which resulted in a fractured vertebra. Although the Guinness World Record rules state that the clock does not stop, Gianotti's time was frozen for four months till she recovered and resumed her attempt on 18 September 2014. Her route is here. Although its legitimacy is much debated, this is currently the official female record.[9][10]

Andrew Nicholson[edit]

The fastest circumnavigation by bicycle by a male[11] is 123 days and 43 minutes[12] and was achieved by Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand), who started and ended his journey at Auckland International Airport, New Zealand, between 12 August and 13 December 2015. This was an unsupported ride. As well as being an endurance cyclist Andrew is a former speed skater, having represented New Zealand in three Winter Olympic Games. Andrew rode in support of the Centre for Translational Cancer Research, Otago University, New Zealand. [13]

The "Year Record"[edit]

Full Article

The "Year Record" was awarded for the longest distance cycled in a single year. It is held by Tommy Godwin, who rode 75,065 miles (120,805 km) from 1939 to 1940. Godwin also holds the record for fastest time to cycle 100,000 miles (160,934 km).[14] The record was verified by Guinness World Records [15] and recognised at the time by Cycling magazine.[16][17]

In 2014, the UltraMarathon Cycling Association published a set of rules for a "highest annual mileage record", conceived as a continuation of Tommy Godwin's 1939-40 record. Three riders set out to break this record in 2015: Steven Abraham of the UK, Kurt Searvogel of the USA and William Pruett, also of the USA. Kurt Searvogel went on to break the record.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fastest Circumnavigation By Bicycle - Guidelines (PDF). Guinness World Records. 2014-04-08. 
  3. ^ "Round the world cycling record - The Guinness rules". 2010-03-20. 
  4. ^ "Alan Bate's around-the-world cycling record attempt". Explorers Web. 2010-03-29. 
  5. ^ Nick Sanders (1984-09-14). 22 Days Around the Coast of Britain. ISBN 0-946940-03-7. 
  6. ^ "Cyclist ends world record attempt". BBC News. 2005-04-24. 
  7. ^ "Scot smashes world cycle record". BBC News. 2008-02-15. 
  8. ^ "Round the world racer Lee Fancourt hammers on despite disqualification". 2014-04-17. The rules of round the world bike racing and the Guinness World Record qualifications are unforgiving, as World Cycle Race competitor Lee Fancourt has found out. The 36-year-old was disqualified after failing to return to the point in India where he took a taxi in order to help out his support crew, while on schedule to break the record by weeks. 
  9. ^ "Fastest circumnavigation by bicycle (female)". Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  11. ^ "Fastest circumnavigation by bicycle (male)". Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "LIVE: Andrew Nicholson". Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (15 December 2015). "Around the world in 123 days: New Zealander breaks cycling record". Retrieved 28 August 2016 – via The Guardian. 
  14. ^ "Tommy Godwin's 'unbreakable' cycling record". BBC News. 2012-04-18. In 1939, Tommy Godwin rode 75,065 miles (120,805 km) in a single year to set an endurance riding record that some believe will never be beaten. In fact, he kept on going until 14 May 1940, setting the record for the time taken to ride 100,000 miles (161,000 km). 
  15. ^ "Greatest Distance Cycled in a Year record at Guinness World Records site". 2013-01-29. 
  16. ^ Dave Barter. "Tommy Godwin". 
  17. ^ Dave Barter (2011-12-09). "Tommy Godwin FAQ". Phased Publications.