Do you have the ambition to cycle around the world? You must be wondering how long it would take to travel the world by bicycle.
Well, how long it would take to cycle around the world depends on many variables.
The first thing is speed. You can expect to ride a fully-loaded bike for about 10 to 20 km every hour, which is an average speed of 9.3 miles per hour.
I’d say that riding around 8 to 9 hours per day should be ideal for average riders.
Another important thing you would want to keep in mind is the number of days you want to ride per week.
The Guinness World Record indicates that the minimum total distance a cyclist must ride around the world is 18,000 miles.
Hundreds of cyclists have already tried to cycle around the world, and some of them have broken the Guinness World Records by completing the lengthy rides within a few months.
Other riders have spent more than 20 years riding their bikes around the world.
So, how long would it take to bike around the world? Read on to find out!
In this article, we will talk about how long you can expect a cycling journey around the world to take.
How Long Would It Take to Cycle Around the World?
The shortest bike tour around the world would take about 1.5 to 2 years, depending on your speed and the number of hours you cycle per week.
If you want to cycle around 29,000 km and ride about 85 km every day, you can expect to finish the long journey within one year.
However, several cyclists like Mark Beaumont and Andrew Nicholson have cycled around the globe in just a few months.
Mark Beaumont held the Guinness World Record after completing an 18,000-mile cycling route in 78 days, 14 hours, and 40 minutes. His starting point and finishing line were in Europe.
Another long-distance cyclist who has cycled around the world in less than a year is Jenny Graham of Scotland. Like Mark Beaumont, her trip started in Europe, and she had to finish on the same continent.
Graham made an unsupported attempt and completed her long voyage in only 124 days, making her the fastest woman to bike around the globe.
The Adventure Syndicate member cycled the route solely, often wild camping in drainage ditches and behind bushes.
As you can see, pedaling around the world can take only a few months for some adventurers, especially when one wants to break and earn a Guinness world records title.
Nonetheless, other riders who want to have fun and spend lots of time in foreign countries may take even more than a few years.
There is actually a cyclist from Hovelhof, Germany who spent 50 years riding his bike around the world. So, if you crave freedom and flexibility, your journey will probably take you more than just a few years.
The key thing here is ensuring that your minimum distance travelled around the world is 18,000 miles.
How to Cycle the World
If you are looking forward to cycling around the world, you may want to learn some essential tips to ensure the success of your long voyage.
Traveling the globe on a packed bike will give you plenty of opportunities to explore and discover great things in nature.
Think about climbing the French Alps, wandering through Roman ruins in Turkey, crossing the US, and riding through the Australian badlands on your bike. And you don’t need lots of money for this undertaking.
Exploring the world with a bike can be a fulfilling and life-changing experience, especially if you are not in a rush.
I’m not saying that beating the record isn’t a satisfying thing. Of course, you’ll feel incredible and might inspire many people.
But the most important thing for most bicycle enthusiasts is to enjoy the rides and have fun while touring the globe on bikes.
I highly recommend taking your time and getting the most out of the adventure instead of focusing too much on smashing through the set miles within a short time.
Now, if you feel that it’s time to break your monotonous routine, I’ve got you covered. Here are some essential tips that will help you cycle round the world efficiently.
Get a Decent Touring Bicycle
Traveling around the world means that you’ll be making a long-term trip with a fully-loaded bike on different kinds of terrains.
So, you need to get the best bike for touring that will help you cycle across the globe with minimal punctures and replacements.
A good adventure bike for long-distance touring is one that performs well on pavement, gravel, and dirt roads since you might come across such surfaces during your expedition.
The heavy-duty steel frame is an excellent material for world touring bikes as it can withstand rough rides. It’s also easy to find replacements in different parts of the world for such bikes if they break down.
You also need to consider bikes that feature a good bag carrying system as you’ll be attaching your touring load to the bicycle.
The bike’s tires should be strong and durable. Many long-distance cyclists use the Schwalbe Marathon tires for adventures around the globe.
Whether you want to do a world bicycle touring or bikepack around the globe, you can find a good bicycle that supports the type of adventure you want to undertake.
Plan and Do Some Preparation
Adequate planning is vital for a successful cycle trip around several continents. You can spend several months collecting essential information.
Some of the most important things to research include border crossings, visas, seasons, timescales, and budget. You don’t want scary surprises to catch you while on the trail.
Another crucial thing you must research is the routes. Keep in mind that Guinness World Record requires you to use one direction.
So, you want to plan for a route that will allow you to cycle in one direction. Let’s say you start from Germany, then cycle through several countries like Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Spain, France, and finish at the point where you started.
Alternatively, you could simply leave if you don’t want to spend lots of time planning for the adventure. Then you’ll figure things out on the road and take it day by day.
You don’t have to follow a particular route. You just need a compass to keep moving and ensure that you are following the same direction. But this doesn’t make your voyage a breeze since there are a lot of risks involved.
For such an undertaking, you’ll need to trust your instinct and make sure that you spend some nights on places where you can access the internet for more research about your route.
For me, I prefer planning for my cycling tours before leaving the country to ensure that I have most of the things I need for the adventures, from visas to appropriate clothing.
It’s also important to notify your family before making any plans and see whether they are okay with your idea.
You don’t want to invest a lot of time and resources planning for a long-distance adventure that your parents or family will say no to. This can be so disappointing and frustrating.
Train for the Long Journey
The next thing you need to do is train for the long trip since your body has to be fit.
You’ll need to train for endurance, base fitness, and strength, bearing in mind that you might come across difficult terrains when cycling around the globe.
You can enroll in your gym membership and have a personal trainer to guide you on the best workouts to get you ready for your lengthy tour.
I’ve also realized that training as a team can is more motivating than doing it solo.
So, I’d recommend joining a local cycling club and spending a few months building up your cycling fitness. Remember that the more you cycle, the more your body will get ready for the long expedition.
But if you feel that you need to set off soonest, no need to worry as you can still attain a high fitness level during the first few weeks of your actual trip.
When training on the road, how soon you’ll become fit will depend on how much you ride and the kinds of terrain you cycle on.
If the route you plan to follow involves riding on flat grounds mainly during the first few weeks, you may not achieve the right fitness needed for the entire trip. In this case, it’s better to train for a few months before setting off.
Otherwise, you won’t be physically fit and mentally prepared to cycle on climbs and highly rough terrains.
So, whether you’ve done long-distance cycling before or not, it’s crucial to train ahead of time when going for a bike tour around the globe.
With an improved heart and fit body, you’ll be amazed at how great you feel on your bike throughout your journey.
Save Some Money
Cycling around the world means that you’ll be on the road for more than a few weeks. So, you need to save up for the trip to ensure that you can afford the essential things.
From a good touring bike to a lightweight tent, there are many things you need to buy when cycling around the planet.
Even though you’ll wild camp and sleep rough, there are still several things you cannot survive without, e.g., water and food.
And while you can easily find many water sources out there, you’ll need to purify the water before drinking. Without a water purification system, you might end up getting sick and cut your adventure short.
Now, you might think that you’ll need a lot of money to cycle around the world, right? But of course, this isn’t the case.
You can travel the world by bike for only a few thousand dollars. If you know how to find good wild camping spots, you won’t have to spend much money in hotels and restaurants.
But if you feel that you need extra financial security while out there, it won’t hurt to put tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.
For most of my long-distance tours, I try to keep my expenses between $15 to $20 as it’s just food after all.
Wild camping comes in handy as I rarely spend on hotel rooms or rented campgrounds. When you sleep under the stars on a free camping ground, you feel great while still saving some bucks.
If all you want to do in life is cycle around the world forever, you could sell your things and get on the road with a few essentials.
Then try to leverage every opportunity while out there! Wild camp, eat bread and other affordable meals, find wild fruits, and accept invitations.
Invest in the Appropriate Gear
Bicycle touring gear doesn’t have to be complicated. You only need to invest in the essential things that will keep you going during the trip.
A lightweight tent and sleeping bag are the first things that every adventurer should start thinking about when it comes to bicycle touring gear. Well, unless you want to spend all your nights in hotel rooms.
Then find a compact and reliable camping stove and a pot or saucepan to prepare your meals after a long pedaling day.
Cycling and camping waterproofs also come in handy when the weather gets really bad while out there. You can get a waterproof jacket and pants to keep you dry during a wet season.
It’s also important to ensure that your bags or panniers are waterproof to keep your gear dry when cycling in wet weather conditions.
Using a GPS tracking device instead of paper maps will save on space. You can keep it charged using a bicycle dynamo generator.
Other essentials to have in your list include a sleeping pad, bike repair kit, clothes, water filtration system, toiletries, camping utensils, foodstuffs, and anything else that seems vital for your adventure.
Set an End Date
As we mentioned earlier, Guinness world records rules state that the minimum distance ridden for a complete circumnavigation around the globe should be 29,000 km.
Depending on your average riding speed and the route you take, you can expect to take between five months to one year for such a distance.
So, you can do some rough calculations and estimate an end date. Finishing what you started within the set date will give you a fantastic feeling and satisfaction.
It would also give you a chance to set a new Guinness world record for fast circumnavigation of the globe.
However, if you want independence and don’t need to set a specific return date, that’s even better! You are not an athlete looking to break the Guinness World Records anyway.
Remember, the point of cycling around the world is being free and having fun while exploring different countries.
It means that you’ll be incredibly flexible and embrace any adventure opportunity that comes your way since you don’t have an end date.
Being flexible will also let your journey grow in unexpected ways, allow you to go zigzag in various countries, and spend more time in scenic places that interest you.
Who knows? You might learn new things on the road and decide that your global cycling tour will take several years. The cycling trip does not have to end as soon as possible.
Say Goodbye and Set-Off
If you’ve already picked a route and prepared your gear, it’s now time to say goodbye to family and friends and set off.
But before you leave, be sure to tell them about your course and plans in case something goes wrong while out there and you need their help.
While most cyclists prefer to burn all their bridges before setting off, I think it’s better to transform your attachments into something sustainable instead.
For example, if you have a family, you don’t have to divorce your wife or husband simply because you want to cycle around the world.
Your ride will probably come to an end one day, and you’ll need a place to go back to and a family to live with.
I usually try to take advantage of modern technology to stay connected with my family and friends while out there.
If you want to transform your work and earn while still on the road, you could start a website or a YouTube channel. Then you can share your journey in real-time with your fans, which would also help you gain some revenue.
How Much Does It Cost to Cycle Around the World?
Cycling around the world isn’t as expensive as many people tend to think. You can spend less than 25 dollars a day as long as you have your camping gear.
Touring bikes and cameras can take a good portion of your money, but the good thing is that they are a one-time investment. Once you get a high-quality touring bicycle, it will serve you for many years.
Emergencies can also cost you lots of money while out there, but this won’t really be a problem if you have travel insurance.
If you are involved in an accident and require emergency dental treatment, you can pay for the medical bill in the local hospital and claim the money back from your insurer.
Wild camping and sleeping rough have always been my strategy for cutting down travel costs when cycling in different parts of the world. That’s why I usually spend about $20 or less each day.
Once you buy a good touring bicycle, most of the expenses while on the road will be food. If you can wild camp most of the nights, you’ll save the fees you’d spend on paid campgrounds.
You only need to know how to find a good spot for stealth camping and have the right equipment like those explained above.
If you don’t plan to cycle on weekends during your long-distance bike tour, you can still find some odd jobs when you get chances to avoid exhausting your savings on the road.
You Don’t Have to Earn a Guinness World Records Title
When cycling around the world, you don’t have to aim at earning a Guinness World Records title.
Exploring different countries on a touring bike can be more enjoyable and relaxing when you don’t have the pressure to finish faster.
Depending on your interests, you could spend a lot of time in nature or cities in different countries and discover new adventures.
But when you are in a rush, it may be impossible to effectively explore even the places you find attractive.
Personally, I love taking my time in the places I’m passing, from cities to the countryside and small villages, to ensure that I don’t miss the significant essence of my adventures.
However, if you want to break the record, here are the Guinness rules.
- The trip should be continuous, following one direction. For example, East to West or West to East.
- The least total cycling distance is 18,000 miles, which equals 29,000km. The total distance travelled should not be less than 24,900 miles (40,100 km), including flying and ferrying.
- Any distance cycled opposite to the direction of the attempt must not count on the total distance travelled.
- The route should ride through two approximate antipodal points.
- The cyclist should use the same bike throughout the journey, but mechanical repairs and replacement parts are totally fine in case of punctures.
- If you are doing a competitive challenge, the clock won’t stop for your waiting time or transit time.
There are many different routes you can take to circumnavigate the globe, and they have different total distances. Be sure to choose one that is not less than 18,000 miles to meet the Guinness World Record Standards.
Your average speed and the daily distance will play an essential role in determining how long it will take to cycle around the various continents.
How Mark Beaumont Broke a Cycling World Record
You probably have heard about Mark Beaumont and are wondering how he earned a Guinness World Records title. Let’s talk about how he broke the record.
Mark Beaumont is an endurance athlete from Perthshire, Scotland. He smashed the world record for circumnavigating the world on a bike in only 78 days and 14 hours in 2017.
But this was a new world record as it wasn’t his first time to cycle around the globe and break a cycling world record.
Mark had cycled around the globe in 2008, and the long journey took him 194 days and 17 hours. But this is not where he began challenging himself to do long rides.
Beaumont started doing long-distance cycling at an early age, and at 15, he completed a solo ride across Great Britain.
In 2008, Mark Beaumont did a long-distance cycle tour around the globe, which saw him earn a Guinness world record title, breaking the previous record created by Steve Strange in 2005.
His long cycling trip started in Paris and ended in the same place. He cycled through several countries in Europe and the Middle East before reaching North America.
Mark Beaumont used a strong and durable bike, Koga-Miyata, which had a Rohloff internal gear hub. His equipment weighed about 66 pounds.
During this unsupported bike tour, Mark endured many challenges, from colliding with cars to getting robbed and struggling with illnesses.
So, how did Mark Beaumont manage to cycle around the world in less than three months and break he record?
On his second trip, Mark had a support team of specialists, from performance managers to mechanics and photographers, who continually shared the entire journey.
While he funded himself on the first trip, his second journey was supported and it cost about 25,000 Euros.
The second trip also had its challenges as Mark fell twice during this journey, and one of the accidents called for emergency dental treatment. Thanks to his support team who offered immediate care.
Beaumont started his second global cycling tour from Arc de Triomphe on 2nd July 2017 and cycled through countries like Germany, Poland, Russia, and China before flying to Australia.
From Australia and New Zealand, Mark cycled across the US and Canada, then to Portugal and Spain before completing his cycling journey in Arc de Triomphe, Paris, where he started.
Mark Beaumont created a new world record, having cycled around the world for the second time in 78 days and 14 hours. He beat his previous record of cycling around the globe by 44 days.
Q: How Long Would It Take to Cycle Across the UK?
A: Cycling across the UK can take about 10 to 14 days, depending on your speed and the route you follow.
Most people who want to ride around the UK use the Land’s End to John’s o’s o’ Groats route, which has a traditional distance of about 874 miles.
Land’s End is the western point of mainland England while John’s o’ Groats is the northern point of mainland Scotland. The record for cycling across the UK using this route is nine days.
Many cyclists have completed biking across Great Britain, and Andy Wilkinson is the adventurer who holds the record for riding from Land’s End to John’s o’ Groats in 41 hours and 4 minutes.
Q: Is It Possible to Cycle Around the World?
A: Yes, it’s possible to cycle around the world. Many cyclists have already done it, and some of them have even achieved a world records title.
These cyclists include Mark Beaumont, Nick Sanders, Steve Strange, Alan Bate, Jenny Graham, Julian Sayarer, Mike Hall, Lee Fancourt, and many more.
Since many cyclists who ride around the globe tend to exclude Africa and South America, you may wonder whether it’s possible to include these continents.
The answer is yes! You can include Africa and South America when biking around the globe. However, this means you’ll need to fly several times to cross the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
Cyclist Alastair Humphreys included Africa and South America in his 2001 journey around the globe on a bike.
Even though Humphreys skipped Australia and New Zealand, his epic trip around five continents took him about four years and three months.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Cycle from the UK to Australia?
A: Biking from the UK to Australia can take somewhere between 7 to 15 months, depending on your speed and the routes you choose.
There are so many countries you can cycle through, from the UK to Australia. You can go for shorter routes that exclude countries like Russia, Mongolia, and China, by riding through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, and Malaysia.
Pedalling from the UK to Australia or vice versa is basically riding halfway across the globe. But you can lengthen your trip by cycling to the furthest countries instead of going straight.
Matt McDonald and Andy Madeley are among cyclists who have cycled as a team from London to Sydney. Their journey took them about 16 months, where they covered a total distance of 25,000km.
Do you want to cycle around the world? That’s a great idea! You’ve already done the hardest work of accepting to challenge yourself.
From the cities in Europe to the Canadian wilderness, biking around the world is an opportunity for some fantastic adventures.
How to cycle around the globe or how long you will take shouldn’t really be a problem. Just get a good touring bike and decide on what route you want to follow.
But before you set off, you also need to get the appropriate gear for the long adventure to minimize the chances of landing in terrible trouble.
Invest in a lightweight tent, a good sleeping bag, and a compact camping stove. Avoid packing heavy stuff as they make it hard to handle your bike with ease.
Bring a first aid emergency kit unless you are traveling with a support team who will care for you when injuries happen.
And if you want to break the Guinness World Records, good luck. Just be more tactical, plan your route beforehand, and be ready to ride at least 18,000 miles.