If you want a bigger race, find a bigger planet.

Race StartThis is the slogan and rallying call for the longest bike race in the world, the World Cycle Race. According to race officials, the rules require each rider to “cycle 18,000 miles around Planet Earth in an easterly or westerly direction without going back on themselves and passing through antipodal points en route.” In this single stage event, the clock doesn’t stop until all of the riders have lapped the planet and reach the finish line set by their point of departure.

The length of this race is hard to keep in perspective. This isn’t your ride to the next town, the next state, or across the country: this is a ride around the entire globe.  And this year, there is one rider who is set on demolishing the previous world record.

lee fancourtLee Fancourt

According to an article from BikeRadar.com, Lee Fancourt is going to attempt to finish the race in under 90 days, beating the previous record of 106 days, 10hrs and 33mins, set by Alan Bate in 2010, by over two weeks. How much riding is this? This will require Fancourt to ride approximately 225 miles a day, with days up to 250 miles, for 80 days, allowing close to 10 days for air travel. Fancourt said:

If my bones, my tendons, my ligaments and my muscles can stay in one piece, I will be back in under 90 days.

His Route and His Support

His route, programmed into his Garmin GPS—surprisingly low tech for such a big ride—will take him through Europe and Russia and then down into India, the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand.

Once he breaks past the Antipodes, he must head over to North America before he starts the final, spirit-crushing leg from Portugal back to London.

Though he will be supported by family throughout several legs (in India and North America), most of the time will be spent riding alone, sleeping in the rough, and taking only enough rest time to recuperate and get back on the bike. Fancourt said:

I enjoy cycling so much and, other than being around my own two kids, the time I’m at my most happy is when I’m riding. I think this is why I can keep going and going and going and not get annoyed.

Riding on a Specialized Roubaix SL4 with Zipp wheels, he’ll use 23mm tires for good roads and 25mm versions for gnarly surfaces in countries such as India he said:

I want to break the world record so I want to do it as fast as possible,” he said. I don’t want to use thick tires, I want to do it fast. Obviously in places like India I’ll do it on 25mm but I’m just heading for speed.

The Race Begins

On March 1st at 12:22:55, the air-horn sounded, signalling the beginning of the race as the riders set off to ride around the planet. Breifne Earley, Fran Hollender, and Lee Fancourt crossed the start line at Greenwich Park, leaving their ceremonial peloton behind, while Indian rider Prasad Erande began his journey from Bangkok. The riders should cross paths somewhere in India, but other than that, they won’t see each other until three months from now when the first weary rider victoriously crosses the meridian.

Rider Tracking

If you would like to see where the riders are at, see the results from past events, or to find out how you can attempt to conquer the mother of all bike races, visit WorldCycleRace.com.

At Christensen & Hymas, we wish the best to all of the riders and we admire their desire to be their best and extend their limits. If you are a cyclist and enjoyed this article, please read through more of the articles we have listed. And if your cycling has left you injured, please contact us and let us help you in your recovery.