We spoke with Mark Beaumont, one of Britain’s top adventurers, as he puts together his final preparations before setting off around the world on two wheels in an attempt to break the world record (for a second time no-less). Mark has been adventuring since an early age, cycling the Land’s End to John O’Groats aged just fifteen. Since then he has cycled the world in record time, rowed across oceans, and travelled the length of Africa on two wheels in just 42 days. I first came across Mark when I read his book ‘The Man who Cycled the World’, I owe this book a great deal for showing what’s possible on two wheels when you put your mind to it, and for giving me and doubtless, countless others the inspiration to hit the road in search of adventure. For this reason I was very pleased to get just a little of his time to ask a few questions before he sets off on his next big adventure.
Q. What do we need to know about you 80 days adventure? How we can we support and follow your journey?
A. Having cycled around the World unsupported ‘wild man’ style in 194 days a decade ago, I have always wondered how much quicker I could go if I had full support and trained professionally. Around the World in 80 Days has taken the last few years in the planning and will mean riding 16 hours a day for 75 days, with 3 days of flight and 2 days contingency. The current circumnavigation World Record is 123 days held by Andrew Nicholson from New Zealand, and so I aim to take this down by around 43 days. Success for me would be coming home safely, including my whole support team, and feeling that we have left absolutely everything out there. The golden standard is around the World in 80 Days, as this would be a one-time prize - you won’t remember the second person to go sub 80! You can follow at artemisworldcycle.com or markbeaumontonline.com and through social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Q. For the bike nerds, can you tell us a little about your setup and gear, does it differ much from your previous round the world cycle?
A. The bike is a KOGA Kimera Pro which is carbon frame, with Ultregra Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes. I am riding 47mm carbon Corima rims with Panaracer 28mm Dura tires, Drops and tai-bars are Profile Design. The aero helmet is a Rudy Project and the clothing is Altura custom made kit. This is a very different set-up to a decade ago, but quite similar to what I rode down Africa a few years ago, where I broke the Cairo to Cape Town record by a margin of 18 days.
Q. You are considered one of the best endurance adventurers in the world right now, how did this come about? What or who do you attribute your ability and success to?
A. That is kind - I have never entered a race, so never really consider my performance in relation to any other athletes. What I have always done, since I was a twelve year old boy pedalling across Scotland, is take on journeys that inspire me, and try to share them in as big and as interesting a way as I can. Taking a global audience along on the journey is important to me, and adds fuel to the fire, and I know it inspires a lot of people as well, so is hugely valuable. I have worked with some amazing people, including the late, great David Peat, who taught me the art and love of documentary film-making. And at the heart of my work is my family - basecamp is run by my mum Una, and my wife and two daughters are amazingly supportive.
Q. In your lowest moments on the road what strategies do you use to cope and keep on riding?
A. The toughest times become your fondest memories. The only thing worse than going slowly is stopping. Momentum is your only friend in tough times. Giving up isn’t an option unless it’s a case of safety.
Q. You’ve seen more of the world than most ever will and seen many cultures. In your experience how are people the same and how are they different?
A. The more you see, the more you realise there is to see - I have travelled to about 130 nations and territories in my life and I now have a very positive impression humanity, despite having been in many tight corners, but I am also increasingly aware of our incredible diversity and differences.