Mike Hall triumphantly arrived in Greenwich, England, on Monday to end his around-the-world bicycle tour in an amazing 92 days.
The 31-year-old engineer’s elapsed time crushed the previous Guinness World record of 106 days set in 2010.
For comparison, a previous record set by Scotsman Mark Beaumont (author of “The Man who Cycled the World”) in 2008 was 194 days. The first man to accomplish the feat, Thomas Stevens in 1886, took 2-1/2 years.
Family and friends greeted Hall at the finish line, the spot where he and several other cyclists departed on the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour on Feb. 18. Four other cyclists are still on the road, the others having dropped out.
The Yorkshire Evening Post quotes Hall:
“I think I had a lot of the emotions in the last few weeks on the roads. It was quite difficult and I think it builds up – the stress. So I kind of released all that in the last few days. Now I just feel pretty calm actually. There’s been some moments, some kind of breakdowns, but I keep the breakdowns on the bike, I don’t stop for those.”
In fact, Hall didn’t stop for much. News accounts describe a man with a single-minded resolve to ride 200 miles per day. That meant departing at sunrise every day and riding well into the evening hours, sometimes 10 or 11 at night.
Instead of being slowed down by bulging panniers, Hall kept the total weight of his bike and gear at a very trim 35 pounds. To save weight, for instance, he wore the same kit everyday for 92 days. In a Twitter message from this morning:
“This is the last time I have to put this stinking kit back on.”
You might also find it surprising that Hall frequently ate at McDonald’s when one was available. The food was fast and delivered a lot of calories.
To qualify for the Guinness World Record, Hall had to begin and end in the same location; travel in one direction; ride 18,000 miles by bicycle and travel 24,900 miles total. Also, he had to pass through two points on direct opposite sides of the globe.
Having accomplished all that, I’m wondering how much of the world he actually experienced. Even Beaumont, who took twice as long to finish his global trek, describes in his book how he missed so much because of his world-record pursuit.
Other cyclists in the contest are spread across the globe in the US, Germany, India and Malaysia. You can check their whereabouts at World Cycle Racing Grand Tour.
See an interactive map of Mike Hall’s route.
Photo above from Mike Hall’s Facebook page.