Mike Hall had averaged close to 200 miles a day by the time he rolled over the finish line in Greenwich on Monday, smashing the record for the circumnavigating the world by bicycle after just 91 days and 18 hours on the road.
Hall completed his ride 15 days quicker than the previous record of 106 days, set by Alan Bate – but while Bate rode with the help of a support crew, Hall, who finished on his 31st birthday, rode entirely unsupported.
The former engineer’s record came as part of the World Cycle Race, which left Greenwich on February 18, with the 11 competitors, who were tracked by GPS, required to ride a minimum of 18,000 miles from east to west.
Hall cycled through Europe, Turkey, India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and across America to New York, crossing the Atlantic Ocean before cycling through Portugal, Spain and France to arrive back on home soil. You can see his full route here.
Hall’s record excludes time in transit between continents and the Harrogate-born believes the time could tumble to less than 80 days.
“I would definitely change parts of the route if I did it again,” he said. “By doing six sets of 3,000 miles, for example, I think you could get it right down. And the time it takes to travel between each place resets you more or less.
“I’m not sure I would want to do it again, though.”
Hall aimed to travel as light as possible, with his bike and kit weighing just 16kg. Hall rode a Planet-X/On-One frameset with a compact Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, cable operated disc brakes, USE ‘bars and seatpost, and two CatEye computers. Reynold’s provided custom built wheels using Reynolds Thirty Two rims, specially drilled to 32 holes and laced onto DMR MTB hubs.
“This gave Mike a strong and reliable wheelset but not at a heavy[weight] tag,” said Rory Hitchens of Upgrade Bikes, UK distributor for Reynolds. “Weight all the way through the bike was a major consideration for Mike but it had also to last the distance.”
“Mike had no problems with the wheels as far as I know. He was passing Salt Lake City so called into see Reynolds. They wanted to ‘do their bit’ so re-built his wheels with the fresh spokes but the same rims and hubs. I expect the wheels would have been fine without this and on a few occasions Mike hit some big holes in the road and tweeted how amazed he was that the wheels took everything in their stride. Mike wanted a semi-deep section rim to help aerodynamics over the 18,000 miles. I guess the little things add up.”
Mike Hall was cycling around the world to raise money for Cycle a Difference. You can donate here.
All photos © Rory Hitchens – Upgrade Bikes