80 days around the world on a bike record attempt

It is a record first attempted by Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg when a new railway route in India made it possible to travel around the entire world in just 80 days.

Mark Beaumont announces his Round The World in 80 days cycle challenge.  Pic: Toby Williams
Mark Beaumont announces his Round The World in 80 days cycle challenge. Pic: Toby Williams

Now Scottish sportsman Mark Beaumont is to follow in the footsteps of the famous character to navigate the entire globe - but by bicycle.

The cyclist will aim to knock 43 days off the 123 day record set for cycling the 18,000 miles around the world by New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson, following a gruelling three year training plan.

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The ride, if successful, would also knock 114 days off his existing personal - and one-time world - record of 194 days, set in 2008.

Beaumont, from Fife, said he had begun planning the event after finishing his contract as a broadcaster for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He will cycle for 15 hours a day, starting at 4am.

He said: “The impact of Phileous Fogg is enormous. Anywhere you go along my route, people know about Around the World in 80 Days. That makes it more than just aiming for a world record.”

The route will begin in Paris on 2 July with the first leg ending in Beijing. The following three legs will run from Perth and Brisbane in Australia, and between Invercargill and Auckland in New Zealand. The fourth leg of his challenge is between Anchorage in the United States and Halifax in Canada, and he will complete his journey by cycling from Lisbon to Paris.

He said: “It is fast, but it is possible. The reality is that I have got an amazing support team and being out there with them will make things a lot easier.

“There are definitely pre-match nerves. It has been tough to get to this point, but I am in the shape of my life, I just need to prove to myself that I can do it.”

After capsizing during an attempt to break the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in 2012, Beaumont gave up being an athlete for a couple of years.

“In truth, I had unfinished business,” he said. “I couldn’t idly watch others push their limits.”

He added: “If there is any part of the route I am worried about, it is the first leg, which goes through Russia. I just have to hope that we don’t have any border problems.”

Beaumont’s last round-the-world attempt was not without its problems. In Lafayette, Louisiana, he was involved in a collision with a car and also robbed later the same day, while elsewhere, he suffered illnesses such as dysentery.

He will trial his “80-day pace” - which requires him to cycle for 16 hours and 240 miles per day - on a 3,500 mile ride around the entire coastline of the UK, beginning today.

“The coastline ride will test me and my support team,” he said. “If I find I can sustain this 80 day pace, then it will hopefully give us the confidence that we are on track for the summer.”

To keep up the “80 day pace”, Beaumont will need to consume 8,000 calories a day and drink between eight and ten litres of water.

In November 2015, Beaumont set the record for completing the North Coast 500 - a 518.7 mile route around Scotland - by bicycle in 37 hours 56 minutes and 44 seconds. This effort was later beaten in 2016 by James McCallum, who completed the route in 31 hours.

During his 80-day ride, he will raise funds for Orkidstudio, which works to benefit communities worldwide through innovative architecture and construction.