Ultra-endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont touched down with his family at Edinburgh Airport yesterday evening, two days after shattering the record for circumnavigating the globe on a bike.
The 34-year-old adventurer set off from France in summer on a mission to go “around the world in 80 days” and arrived back in Paris on Monday on the 79th day of the journey.
Not only did he beat his own target for the Artemis World Cycle challenge, but he sliced a third – 44 days – off the previous record for the round-the-world trip.
Beaumont arrived at the airport to the sound of a piper and cheers from a waiting crowd.
He said: “It’s just wonderful to arrive back in Edinburgh, get back to Scotland. And what a welcome, I didn’t expect that.
“A lot of people have shown their support online and there was a great turnout in Paris, but two days later to turn up in Edinburgh and have such a homecoming is wonderful.”
Beaumont predicted it would take him a few more days before the scale of what he and his team had achieved actually sunk in.
“Since July 2 I was riding 240 miles a day, 16 hours a day, the alarm went off at 3.30am every morning,” he said. It was an absolutely brutal schedule. Mentally and physically it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“It’s going to take me a couple of months physically to train down and readjust.
“But I think the scale of the challenge with the team behind me, everything we’ve pulled off not just in the last 78-and-a-bit days but the last two years of build-up, I don’t think it’s fully sunk in. I guess I’m still stuck on the bike a bit.”
Edinburgh-based Beaumont completed the epic challenge despite three serious falls off his bike and facing conditions such as fierce head winds, sub-zero temperatures and forest fire smog.
His latest feat was given official verification by Guinness World Records, knocking 44 days - a third - off the previous record of 123 days.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around The World In Eighty Days, Mr Beaumont set off from under the Arc de Triomphe on July 2.
He travelled through 16 countries during his four-stage challenge, with the first seeing him travel through Europe to Russia and Mongolia, culminating in Beijing.
His attempt to reclaim the world record later took him across Australia, New Zealand and North America.
He then arrived back in Europe for a final push from Lisbon to Paris.
The long-distance athlete had to complete 240 miles a day.
During the trip, Mr Beaumont was also awarded the Guinness World Records title for the most miles cycled in a month, from Paris to Perth, Australia, verified at 7,031 miles.