A man from Cornwall broke the record for the fastest cyclist to circumnavigate the world when he arrived at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, on Sunday 1 August, over six months after setting off from the same point.
Vin Cox smashed the current record recognised by Guinness of 195 days, which was set by Scotsman Mark Beaumont in 2008. Vin completed the ride in 176 days. He took on the challenge to raise awareness and money for the Geoff Thomas Foundation, which works with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to get advanced new treatments to patients more quickly.
Vin, 34, is a cycling proficiency instructor and South West ‘cyclo-cross’ cycling champion. He departed on the 18,000-mile trip from Greenwich on 7 February 2010 and averaged over 100 miles a day.
There is no set route for round the world Guinness World Record attempts but they must include at least 18,000 miles of cycling and not involve any back-tracking. Vin’s route involved 12 boat and plane transfers and took him through five different continents and across more than 20 countries. His record is the first to visit Africa on the journey and Vin hopes to have the record ratified by Guinness within the next couple of days. The competition rules allow for boat and plane transit times to be taken off the record, meaning that at least another 10 days will be deducted from his 176 day record.
He said: “It’s great to be back – I really enjoyed it but I’m glad it’s over. I planned a pretty adventurous route and it’s meant that I’ve had an incredibly broad experience of different cultures and climates - all the things which make cycling both difficult and exciting. I’ve met some amazing local people and other adventurers along the way.”
“The ride kept on throwing up adversity for me to overcome – a severe bout of dysentery which meant I couldn’t ride for two days, endless headwinds in Australia, a ‘weather bomb’ in New Zealand and a pass closed due to snow in California. That’s all on top of the conditions you naturally plan for such as the heat in Death Valley, Nevada and Arizona.”
Vin’s journey took him through France, across Northern Africa, across Asia, then through Australia, Northern America and then up through Spain and France and a final leg from Plymouth to Greenwich.
“I hope my ride will inspire some people and also raise awareness and money for the Geoff Thomas Foundation. Geoff’s goal of increasing access to life-saving treatments for people with blood cancers is so important. It was a great motivator on some of the more gruelling parts of my ride.”
Geoff said: “What Vin has achieved is absolutely incredible. I completed the Tour de France after going into remission from my leukaemia and that was one of the toughest things I have ever done. To cycle ten-times that distance uninterrupted and keep going takes an amazing amount of physical and mental strength – it’s inspirational.”
People can get involved by visiting www.greatbikeride.com, where they can support Vin’s fundraising efforts for the Geoff Thomas Foundation.