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Leigh Timmis sets new record for cycling across Europe in just 16 days

Joe Robinson
2 Oct 2018

Timmis beats Conway's record from Portugal to Russia by eight days

Leigh Timmis became a Guinness World Record holder last week becoming the fastest rider to cycle across Europe. Although, this was not a tight race against time in which Timmis snatched the record by the skin of his teeth.

No, Timmis broke the existing record of 24 days by an astonishing eight days, covering the gruelling 6330km distance in just 16 days, 10 hours and 45 minutes. This broke the record of Sean Conway which was only set in May this year.

Starting in the most western tip of Europe, Cabo da Roca on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, before finishing just over two weeks later in the Russian city of Ufa, the easternmost tip of Europe close to the border of Kazakhstan. 

To complete his journey, Timmis had to navigate 10 countries en route leaving Portugal for the searing heat of Spain, before heading north through France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

He then went east through Germany before powering through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia before finishing in Russia.

To cover the distance in such an extraordinarily short amount of time, Timmis managed to cover an average of 250 miles a day which rounded out to around 14 hours a day in the saddle.

This feat has become so revered that it even became the subject of a documentary that followed amateur cyclist James Bowtell who completed the original record, albeit in the opposite direction. 

Speaking at the end of this adventure, Derby-local Timmis had some poignant words to share.

'It has been an epic journey across 10 countries through heat, through exhaustion, through everything you can imagine. The world has thrown all of it at us,' he said. 

'Every part of my body has been put through the mill, but it has been worth every moment of pain and exhilaration.'

This 16-day feat comes off the back of the perfect ultra-endurance training block in which Timmis spent an astonishing seven-year expedition by bike, travelling 44,000 miles across the globe on a budget of just £5 per day.

Acquiring the world record was not the sole reason for this race across Europe. Timmis also raised money for mental health charity MQ.

An illness he suffered from in his mid-twenties, Timmis commented that the charity was the only one scientifically researching mental health 'with the aim to create a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated, and ultimately prevented.'

So far, Timmis has raised £621 of his £10,000 target with his donation page still open here.

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