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Scottish cyclist Jenny Graham looking to break the round the world cycling record this summer

Joseph Delves
7 Jun 2018

Self-supported ride will aim to cross the globe in just 110 days. Photos: James Robertson

Jenny Graham is set to chase the record for the circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle this summer. Departing at 06:00 in Berlin on 16th June 2018, she’ll seek to cover 18,000 miles across 15 countries, unsupported, and carrying all her own kit. With the current women’s record held by Italian cyclist Paola Gianotti at 144 days, Graham is aiming to smash this with a planned time of 110 days.

By comparison, the men’s record is currently held by fellow Scot, Mark Beaumont. He took 78 days to complete his fully-supported ride.

However, with Beaumont benefiting from a huge team, and a motorhome in which to sleep each night, the challenge Graham has set herself is arguably even greater.

Needing to find her own food and shelter each day, along with being responsible for her own logistics, riding her bike 180 miles each day will only be the half of it.

Explaining the appeal of riding self-supported Graham said: 'I just love being self-supported. I feel I am much more in tune with my body and surroundings on the road when I am alone, I will have to manage all the tricky situations along the way and I think that will feel like a fuller experience for me.'

Aged 38, Graham believes now is the ideal time for her attempt.

'I’m a girl who wasn’t sporty or great at PE at school,' she said. 'When my son went to primary school, I was looking for something else in my life, so I took an introduction to outdoor pursuits course and that started me on a journey to explore more.'

Fourteen years of riding bikes later she believes she’s ready to take the biggest challenge in adventure cycling. As a warm-up, she launched multiple rides at the Highland Trail 550, and in 2017 secured an Adventure Syndicate training bursary.

Working with endurance coach John Hampshire, a 750 mile solo ride in The Arizona Trail Race followed, resulting in a sixth-place finish.

Confident off the back of these events, the idea of setting off around the world began forming.

'I knew I wanted to do something solo to test my physical and mental ability. I am the fittest I have ever been, so feel like I can do this.'

With the departure date set in the calendar, Graham's bike was custom-built for her by Scottish manufacturer Shand Cycles in Livingston.

Expecting to spend around 15 hours a day on it, comfort is crucial, as its builder Steven Shand explains; 'I think Jenny will smash the current world record on her specially-built Stooshie.

'Comfort is critical for long distance endurance tests and Jenny is convinced the bike we’ve built for her is perfect for the challenge ahead. The secret is in the frame and in getting it just right for the individual.'

Setting off on the last day of Bike Week, Graham will travel across four continents and through 15 countries: Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US, Portugal, Spain, France and the Netherlands.

ff the bike, she’ll take four flights and a boat ride.

You can follow her progress here: theadventuresyndicate.com/round-the-world

Graham is also a patron of cyclinguk.org, who'll be providing updates on her ride.

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