Cycling Around the World

Some people believe that to cycle around the world, you should cycle every available mile of road or track. Not so, and no person I am aware of has ever done that. 

Each of the maps below, show world cyclist routes, and the first think you might notice is how they use planes or boats to get from place to place, which is the only way to get from some countries to another, but they will use transport even when there is actually a possibility of cycling much of what they used transport to bypass. 

This is due to a number of reasons, such as war, too short a visa to allow for cycling the whole country, to harsh a landscape to pass safely through, don't like that country or the weather at that time of year, and so on. So its perfectly acceptable to skip those countries altogether, after all, its their cycle, their adventure. 

So you will hear how someone has cycled around the world, and in some cases they have actually cycled completely around the world, as in a true completed cycling circumnavigation, according to a few simple rules. 

There are those that may have cycled from England to New Zealand for instance, and looked at it as an around the world cycle, and that's fine, as they have been cycling around the world. 

When you look at these maps below, you will see what I mean. For a true circumnavigation, a true around the world cycle with regard to records and it being official, its a bit different, and a few rules apply, even if your not going for any records.

The Guinness World Records came up with a few simple but rigid rules, and here are some as follows:

For an official circumnavigation, if you want to get in the record books for the fastest person to cycle around the world:

  • The journey should be in roughly one direction (East to West or West to East).
  • The minimum distance ridden (Actual cycling) should be 18,000 miles (29,000 km).
  • The total distance travelled by the bicycle and rider should exceed an Equator's length.
  • The clock does not stop for any waiting time for transit flights or ferries or for the duration of the transit.
  • Pass through 2 antipodal points on the Earth. Points exactly opposite each other.
  • And there are a few other conditions you will need to look into. Click here to go to Guinness Rules 

Most do the above supported when trying for a record, but for an ordinary (maybe ordinary is the wrong word :) self-supported circumnavigation of the Earth for pure fun and adventure, but still be able to class it a circumnavigation, look at it as follows:

  • Do it all yourself, solo, and under your own power (other than transport need between countries or other obstacles).
  • Carry all your own gear.
  • No support vehicles of any kind meeting the rider along the way to provide supplies).
  • Forget about breaking any records.


My own route and plans for my Circumnavigation

I don't plan on breaking any records, and would not have a hope in hell anyway :) Well, I might qualify for the slowest circumnavigation, or maybe even the nicest :). OK so I may be pushing it with the latter :). 

My rules are as follows:

  • Learn how to cycle tour while cycle touring
  • Have a bloody good time.
  • Not be in any rush.
  • Cover at least the 18,000 miles through all the countries I want to travel through, and none that I don't.
  • Follow the sunshine and warm weather whenever possible, as I really hate the cold.
  • Pass 2 antipodal points, my first is to be Madrid (Madrid now completed), the second being Wellington in New Zealand.
  • Take as many photos and as much film as I can.
  • Smile as much as I can, and try try try to stay out of trouble. That last part will be the hardest, I'm a trouble magnate, and if something can go wrong, I will be sure to experience it, which only adds to the adventure :)

I am out to circumnavigate the world while enjoying places that I also want to see. I am also not stuck on any planned route. If I want to set off in another direction at any time, I will. If I want to spend months in one place, then so be it. Basically, I will do anything I want, when I want OK!! :)

Visit just a few countries on your tour and call it an around the world cycle if you want, cycle 10km's in a zigzag pattern, or cycle hundreds of thousands of km's all over the world and call it an around the world cycle, and this would cool too in the eyes of most, and wouldn't be incorrect either. 

But for a true circumnavigation or an around the world cycle according to Guinness, its a bit different, and maybe even a whole lot easier for some. It would be a shame though to pedal as fast as you can to complete the 18,000 miles, and miss out on all the culture and wonders of the countries your zipping through, but hey, each to their own.

Stephen Peel

This is only a vague plan right now, and could change in a big way depending on when I set off and how I feel while I'm traveling. 

Your own routes and maps and those of well known cyclists 

If you have already cycled the world, how about sending me an image of the route and I will post it here for others to see, as it will be a great help.. 
On July 23 2012, Juliana Buhring set out from Naples, Italy to make the first women’s world record for fastest circumnavigation by bicycle. On December 22, 2012, she re-entered Naples with a total time of 152 days including flight transfers and 144 actual days pedaled.
"I am just a 40 year old solo female cycling around the world since 2009, 30 countries and the continents of Africa, Middle East, Asia, Oceania, Europe to date to be exact" The black lines are traveled, and the red lines are wanting to travel.
"I am Tim Travis, an ordinary American who decided to live out my dreams.  I saved my money, quit my job, sold my possessions and set off to travel around the world by bicycle." The red lines are traveled, the blue lines are to be traveled.

Starting out with the idea initially of just cycling across the entire United States, Thomas started his journey in the city of San Francisco, on April 22, 1884.

Round the World by Bike

60 countries. 5 continents. 4 years. 46,000 miles

“The first great adventure of the 21st Century”
– Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Philipp and Valeska Schaudy cycled 87.020 km around the world - October 2006 until May 2012

Mark Beaumont beat the cycling around the world record in 2008 in the first pic, and the second pic is of his recent 80 days record. 

Laura and Tim Moss completed a 13,000 mile cycle around the world. This map is a really example of what "around the world" means to some but not considered cycling around the world by others. 

Javier Martinez: The World on a Bike
On August 12, the 45-year-old New Zealand resident embarked on a quest to circumnavigate the globe astride his trusty two-wheeler. He recently completed the trip in a history-making 123 days.
One incredible lady shows us how we can do anything we set our minds to. Solo on a 2 year adventure.
Kenta, a young man from Japan, whose been on the road for almost three years
1 family, 25 countries, 15,000 kilometersCycling Around the World for Asthma
Rick Creemers, The Cycling Dutchman goes on a world cycling trip.

A medical doctor takes 6 years out to cycle the world with the help of some funding and sponsorship

At age 62, a Baby Boomer, Darby set out to cycle around the world.

Heike Pirngruber is cycling solo and she has covered 45k km, 31 countries and in 40 months. pushbikegirl.com Click on the cyclists names on the left to go to their websites.