It has been a gruelling adventure through some of the world’s most inhospitable regions, plagued by punctures, fatigue, and the threat of a bear attack.
But after an epic fourth month adventure, a Scots cyclist is today set to rewrite the history books by becoming the fastest woman to circumnavigate the globe by bike.
Jenny Graham, from Inverness, is expected to arrive in Berlin at around midday, completing a 18,000 mile unsupported trip across 16 countries in 125 days.
By riding for 16 hours a day, averaging 180 miles a day every 24 hours, the 38 year-old had hoped to criss-cross the world in 110 days. Although she is a little over a fortnight behind her original schedule, she still stands to smash the existing record of 144 days, set in 2014 by Italian cyclist, Paola Gianotti.
Yesterday evening, Ms Graham was in Hannover, leaving her with a final leg of around 180 miles before she reaches the German capital.
While novice cyclists may balk at such distances, the prospect is unlikely to faze the children’s services worker given the hurdles she has overcome.
After crossing over from Alaska into the Yukon territory in northwest Canada, a friendly shopkeeper advised her to carry a gun in order to ward off bears. Armed instead with bear spray, a whistle, and three bells on her bike, Ms Graham made it through the remote regions safely, just one leg of a journey that has taken in nations such as the US, China, and New Zealand.
Ms Graham has been recording short audio ‘postcards’ of her global adventure. In the most recent update, she revealed how even though she was exhausted, she had discovered a renewed zeal.
At one point, she was severely fatigued and suffered a puncture just outside Lisbon, but pushed on for a further 12 miles, travelling uphill and into headwinds at speeds of around 18mph.
She explained: “I just found it from nowhere. It just shows how much of it is in your head. When you’ve just got to get up and do it, then you just do.”
“I can’t believe I’m back in Europe, it’s so cool. I can’t believe all that’s happened, it feels so surreal. It’ll be nice to stop and look back and take in what’s just happened.”
Should her record attempt be ratified, both the men’s and women’s Guinness World Records for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by bicycle will be held by Scots, with Mark Beaumont regaining the men’s record last September when, on a supported ride, he completed the trip in just under 79 days.
Unlike the veteran long-distance cyclist, however, Ms Graham’s had seldom ventured outside the UK on her two wheeled adventures prior to her circumnavigation.