Former Olympic speed skater breaks around-the-world cycling record

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

New Zealander Andrew Nicholson has bettered the previous mark for the record for circumnavigating the globe, achieving the feat in 123 days.

The 45 year old triple Olympic speed skater covered a total of 29,179km (18,131 miles), starting August 12 in Auckland. He passed through America, Canada, Europe, India, south-east Asia and Australia.

The new mark is subject to ratification by the Guinness Book of Records but, once done, this should see him improve on the previous mark of 125 days, as set by Englishman Alan Bate in 2010.

“I did it on the cheap to be honest,” he told the Guardian. “I stayed with other cyclists from the website warm showers, which is like couch surfers for cyclists. And my hosts cooked me meals, and put treats in my back-pack.”

Having done three winter Olympics, he said that he drew on his previous experience of working with Olympic sports psychologists.

“When I click into the pedals I go into total concentration and focus mode,” he says.

“I try not to listen to anything like iPods as I ride because it takes away from your senses and your experience of the ride.”

The rules for the circumnavigation of the globe changed in 2013. Previously, the old calculations included transit time, such as ferries and flights. These are permitted when navigating over impassable barriers such as oceans, and are also allowed when avoiding warzones such as Afghanistan.

Now, the clock runs from the start point until the end point.

Nicholson was riding to raise funds and awareness for the cancer research group CTCR Te Aho Matatu. While this was a big motivation for him, he said that he almost cracked in the latter part of his bid due to emotional and physical exhaustion.

“Lots of times I felt like giving up because towards the end it was becoming too much,” he stated.

“But I was always in a position where I didn’t have a good enough excuse to give up. Yes you’re tired and yes your legs are sore, but you can still get on that bike and ride.”