Wednesday, September 14, 2011

18,000 Mile Global Bike Race!!

I just learned that on February 18th of 2012 a 18,000 mile global bike race will roll out of London, circumnavigate the globe and return in time for the opening ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics.

If only I had 160 days of vacation time, was rich, and could bring the family along. There have been several people who have ridden their bikes around the world a few have even sought for the fastest times. Right now those top times are 163 days (Vin Cox), 176 days (James Bowthorpe) and 195 days (Mark Beaumont).

I am going to paste several sections of the race details below, but before I do I just have to say this should be fun to check in occasionally next year. It will be cool to see the number of racers, the routes they choose and the final winning time. Should be fun.

Here are the race details: (Copied right from their site.)

The Global Bicycle Race will require riders to:
  • Complete a provable minimum of 18,000 miles in generally the same direction (e.g. East).
  • Use a GPS linked to the race website.
  • Send a text message status and mileage update at least once a week.
  • Take photos, video, and witness statements from around the world.
  • Have valid travel/medical insurance for the whole event.
  • Visit antipodal points (opposite sides of the world e.g. New Zealand and Spain).
  • Co-operate with the event’s media partners.
  • Stay on the same bike (parts may be replaced).
Participants will be free to:
  • Devise their own routes around the world.
  • Have their own sponsors, one of which can be their “title” sponsor credited on the event website.
  • Run websites, take photos, write blogs, etc to credit their backers and communicate with supporters.
  • Ride in a supported or un-supported style. The race will have categories for each and will negotiate with Guinness World Records to have these recognised by them too.
The race will provide:
  • An organised start and finish point.
  • Media co-ordination, getting the riders recognition and exposure for sponsors.
  • An online tracking facility showing all riders and their progress on a global map.
  • A blog telling the unfolding story of the race as-it-happens on the race website.
  • A repository of advice and contacts to help cope with any problems riders encounter.
  • Random auditing of participants to ensure fair play.
  • A place in history for all involved!
The finish:
  • The world’s sporting press will be in London and look for a good story before the start of the Olympics. The finish of this race is designed to be that story in July 2012.
  • The race will start 160 days before the Olympics on Saturday 18th February 2012. This allows 140 days riding, 15 days transit, and a first rider finishing around Sunday 22nd July.
  • Greenwich Park is an Olympic venue, so to avoid problems of access to the finish, the race has a second point where the competition technically starts and finishes. This will be on Black Heath, just south of Greenwich Park, still on the Prime Meridian.
Entry fee:
The entry fee will be relatively low. It can’t be stated yet as costs haven’t been found for race insurance or for other services to the participants, but these are the only costs the entry fee will cover. The race organisation will be funded by sponsors.
Using an idea borrowed from global yacht racing, the race will hold a bond from each rider, returned only on completion of the race. This achieves two things which are in the interest of the riders and the race as a whole:
  1. It encourages riders not to give up if they lose the chance of winning. They will keep going to complete the event and collect their bond, so the race will have more finishers.
  2. Having the bond returned at the end will give participants a financial cushion for their return to normal life.
Yacht racing bonds are huge, but for the Global Bicycle Race £1000 British pounds is more appropriate. (The cost of cycling around the world depends on the countries visited, time taken, and types of accommodation used. Vin Cox spent around £20,000.)

Here is the suggested route (Again copied right from their site)
Some possible/suggested route the riders may take:
Riders have to keep heading the same general direction for 18,000 miles (29,000km), so their first choice is east or west around the world. East is usually favoured for good winds, but west could be an interesting roll of the dice and a way to quickly transfer to warm weather.

Several possible routes will be available on this page shortly, but as a first example here's an improved version of Vin Cox's route (we've swapped out the places which in hindsight were not ideal for speed):
View Improved version of Vin's route in a larger map

Here's a westerly route designed to chase the good weather:
View Westerly circumnavigation in a larger map

Still to come:
  • A guide to the routes used by previous record breakers and attempters Mark Beaumont, Julian Sayrara, James Blowthorp, and Steven Strange.
  • A route designed with women in mind (avoiding restrictive dress codes in Muslim countries, and areas where women might have extra challenges and safety concerns.

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