Book review – The Man Who Cycled The World, by Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont set a new Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the world by bicycle in 2008, and this book tells the tale of that event.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? “Oh, he cycled around the world, and?”. Let’s put that in perspective: have you ever cycled 100+ miles in one day? If so, how did you feel the next day?

Beaumont averaged well over 100 miles per day, for half a year, and what’s more, he did so while carrying camping gear, food and more on his bike, in four panniers.

I was late to reading this book, and by the time I read it, Beaumont’s record had been beaten a few times by others, before he made a second attempt and reclaimed the record. I must admit, prior to having read this book, I always thought of rides like this as simply an adventure tour, when the reality is that it was a race.

This book opened my eyes to the fact that such rides are a race, and to what is involved in such a monstrous race. Ignoring the enormous daily distance requirements, on a bike laden with panniers, Beaumont opened my eyes to some very real risks, including possibly being abducted and being held for ransom.

There’s no bravado in the book, which I find tends to be typical of the sort of person tough enough to take on a challenge of this enormity. If anything, Beaumont downplays his achievements, and even manages to make being freezing cold, in a lightweight summer sleeping bag, while camping overnight in the Rockies, sound like not a particularly big deal.

See also  Bliss. On two wheels

It is a compelling read, and will certainly open your eyes to the enormity that is the round-the-world record challenge.
It makes no difference that this refers to events that happened in 2008 – the book remains current and highly entertaining.

This will make a very welcome addition to any cyclist’s or adventurer’s bookshelf. Get it from any good bookshop, or from here.


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