Around the world cycling record

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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. The male record is currently held by Alan Bate of England. Juliana Buhring of Germany holds the first female record, completing her attempt in December 2012, in a total of 152 days.

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 new record, under the revised rules is: 125 days and is held again by Alan Bate, who completed the journey in August 2010.

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."[1][2]

Alan Bate writes, "The record criteria requires 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."[3]

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/Argentina and Spain/New Zealand.


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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.This was not ratified by Guinness World Records.

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. This is currently the official record.

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 Mike recorded a time of 107 days 2 hours 30 minutes.

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 is currently the official female record.

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.[7]

The "Year Record"[edit]

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).[8] The record was verified by Guinness World Records [9] and recognised at the time by Cycling magazine.[10][11]

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 are attempting this record in 2015: Steven Abraham of the UK, Kurt Searvogel of the USA and William Pruett, also of the USA. Riders must carry GPS devices throughout the year, and are being tracked through Trackleaders[12] and Strava. The attempts are being reported in, amongst others, Cycling Weekly, the successor magazine to Cycling, which ratified Godwin's record.[13]


  1. ^ Fastest Circumnavigation By Bicycle - Guidelines (PDF). Guinness World Records. 2014-04-08. 
  2. ^ "Round the world cycling record - The Guinness rules". 2010-03-20. 
  3. ^ "Alan Bate's around-the-world cycling record attempt". Explorers Web. 2010-03-29. 
  4. ^ Nick Sanders (1984-09-14). 22 Days Around the Coast of Britain. ISBN 0-946940-03-7. 
  5. ^ "Cyclist ends world record attempt". BBC News. 2005-04-24. 
  6. ^ "Scot smashes world cycle record". BBC News. 2008-02-15. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "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). 
  9. ^ "Greatest Distance Cycled in a Year record at Guinness World Records site". 2013-01-29. 
  10. ^ Dave Barter. "Tommy Godwin". 
  11. ^ Dave Barter (2011-12-09). "Tommy Godwin FAQ". Phased Publications. 
  12. ^
  13. ^