We put together our list of the best cycling records several months ago, but with the recent achievements of British rider Mark Beaumont, there wasn’t much option but to bring you an update.
On the 18th of September 2017, Mark Beaumont set out to follow in the footsteps Phileas Fogg, the Jules Verne character who famously circumnavigated the world in 80 days. Mark completed his round the world by bicycle attempt by returning to Paris just 78 days after he set off, smashing the previous record held by New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who completed the feat with an impressive time of 123 days and 43 minutes.
For it to qualify as a world record, the rider must cycle a minimum distance of 29,000km in one direction (either east or west) passing through two ‘antipodal points’, or places on the opposite side of the globe to one another.
It must be pointed out though that Mark Beaumont was supported through his record attempt by a team of nutritionists and physiotherapists, whereas Andrew Nicholson completed his ride unsupported, and carried his own equipment. Guinness don’t make a distinction when it comes to supported vs unsupported round the world rides, but I think the difference will be clear to any cyclist.
The current female record is held by Paola Gianotti (Italy) who cycled a distance of 29,595km (18,389 miles) over 144 days. The journey started and finished at Ivrea, Turin, Italy, from 8 March to 30 November 2014.
In order to achieve this mammoth task, Mark was covering 240 miles per day through sixteen countries and four continents. He also managed to casually claim the record for furthest cycled in a single month (7,031 miles).
Lands end to John o’groats by bicycle
LEJOG, as it is affectionately known, is perhaps the most popular home-grown long distance cycle ride, and often the trip that gives people the bug to want to explore more of the world by bicycle. Usually people would take 10-14 days to complete the 1,407km (874 miles) however the record holders make that look incredibly slow!
Officially, the fastest man to date was Gethin Butler who completed the journey in 44 hours 4 minutes 19 seconds in 2001. However, another chap called Andy Wilkinson has actually gone faster with a time of 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds. As this attempt was undertaken on a recumbent tricycle, we’re guessing it didn’t count.
The fastest lady is currently Lynne Taylor in 52 hours 45 minutes 11 seconds, completed in 2001. Jasmijn Muller is currently in training to make an attempt on that record this year though, so watch this space.
Sean Conway at John O’Groats during his round Britain triathlon
Furthest cycled in a year
In 1939 an intrepid rider called Tommy Godwin’s set off on his bicycle a mighty 120,805km (75,065 miles). That was an average of 205 miles a day, every day, in the midst of the Second World War.
Tommy’s record stood until January 2016 when US based rider, Kurt Searvogel, rode 122,432.7 km (76,076 miles). His record survived for much less than Godwin’s 77 years though, being beaten in 2017 by US ultra-cyclist Amanda Cooker.
Amanda averaged 237 miles per day, passing the women’s record (set by heroine Billy Fleming in 1914) after just 130 days, and beating Searvogel’s record by more than 10,000 miles with a total of 86,573.
Long distance legend Tommy Godwin. Photo Credit: www.tommygidwin.com
The Fastest solo unsupported cycle from Cairo to Cape Town
Cairo to Cape Town is a route that has caught the imagination of many adventurers over the years. In 2015 Mark Beaumont (mentioned previously) broke this record when he rode the 10,812km (6,718 miles) from Cairo to Cape Town in 41 days 10 hours and 22 minutes. This smashed the previous record by nearly 20 days. (In fact, we’re starting to wonder if Mark is a cyborg, or at least has bionic legs)
Mark Beaumont cycles in front of the Pyramids of Giza
This record generally runs anti-clockwise around the coast of Australia from Brisbane to Brisbane and was set in April 2013 by Reid Anderson who completed the 14,178km (8,809.78 miles) in just over 37 days. In 2017, Sean Conway is looking to break this record, so watch this space.
The fastest time to cycle 10,000km
This record was set in 2010 by Dutchman Guus Moonen in the Netherlands, from 5 to 28 June 2010 when he took just 22 days, 15 hours, 34 minutes and 9 seconds to cycling 10,000km. Yes, that’s 455km (283 miles) a day, every day for 3 weeks.
There are plenty of slightly quirkier records out there also. Here are a few we found:
Longest time ever spent on a static bike
In December 2012 Jamie MacDonald actually spent 268 hours, 32 minutes to 44 seconds on a static bike. That’s over 11 days nonstop sat on a bike, indoors. We think this one is just nuts! (We also wonder what state his where in at the end of it).
Longest unicycle journey
Lars Clausen (USA) covered 14,686.82 km (9,126 miles) by unicycle between 22 April and 12 November 2002. His double crossing of the USA started in Tillamook, Oregon, and finished in Los Angeles, California, crossing 48 states in between.
Lars Clausen cycling America on his unicycle
And if that wasn’t difficult enough…
Longest distance cycled backwards on a unicycle
Steve Gordon (USA) rode backwards on a unicycle for a distance of 109.4 km (68 miles) at Southwestern Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA on 24 June 1999. It’s unknown how many people were crushed under his wheel during this attempt.
The farthest distance cycled underwater
If you can actually believe it, 6,708m is the world-record amount achieved by German Jens Stotzner on 8 September 2013. Jens successfully completed 78 laps of an 86 m course, marked out at the bottom of the swimming pool. There is even a video in case you think we’re pulling your leg.
Jens completing his World Record breaking under water cycle
The longest distance cycling backwards
In October 2013 Australian Andrew Hellinga cycled 337.60km (209.77 miles) backwards at the Holden Performance Driving Centre, Norwell, Queensland, Australia.
If you’re thinking of embarking on a world record cycling record, Yellow Jersey can provide you with essential bicycle and travel insurance, worldwide. You can spend up to 60 days at a time out of the country.