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17 January 2012 No comments

Have We A New World Record?

Have We A New World Record?

As readers of the Brooks blog must be only too well aware, in about a month now London will be the starting point for perhaps the most ambitious and dramatic cycling event the world has yet seen.

It's true to say that most individuals attempting to break the world record for Fastest Circumnavigation of the Earth by Bicycle this year will hit the start button of their stopwatches on February 18th somewhere in the English capital.

GPS trackers, along with a website providing an overview of each rider's progress with links to social media outlets will make following race progress from one's armchair as rewarding as taking the day off work to hear Seán Kelly et al on Eurosport during a make-or-break stage of Le Tour.

And Brooks, of course, has been telling you about this since Day One.

Never before in a calendar year have so many riders decided to take a crack at this special record. And never before have most of these riders been pulled together under one roof, so to speak.If your support team is travelling with you on one of these, we'll let your time count.

Indeed, before a single mile has been clocked up, the fact that we may witness the race at all is testament to the patience, decency and willingness to work together displayed by all the participating cyclists so that their individual efforts over the coming months can be viewed also as contributory parts to a single event by the watching world.

Until a couple of days ago, most of the more ambitious members of this unique peloton were looking at a record of 163 days to beat, this last set by Vin Cox in 2010. Mr Cox, it will be noted, made his attempt without a support team, and this applies also to all of the riders who set off from London in February.

(Mr. Cox, it should be noted, is also the man whose dream of a coordinated attempt has become a reality.)

However, in the criteria laid down by the Guinness Book Of Records for a ratifiable record attempt, nowhere does it say that a rider may not travel with a support team.

It was with this in mind that we learned recently of a, rumour had it, successful attempt at Mr Cox's record.

Ex-pro Alan Bate seemingly ticked all the Guinness boxes in 2010 aswell, clocking up over 18000 miles, hitting two antipodal points, handing in a satisfactorily updated log book etc., etc. and all of this inside a staggeringly brief 96 days! But he did, it seems, have a support team along with him for most of the trip.

Whether the support team provided him with something to ride behind on windy days, or carried all his luggage, or simply offered strong words of encouragement is not immediately clear. Whichever way we look at it, the achievement of putting down a consecutive daily average of about 250km for three months in all sorts of weather is none the less great.

Of course this also makes the rash of forthcoming attempts to make the journey without technical support teams all the more impressive.

As of this morning, Mr Cox's record still stood on the Guinness website, and as things stand at Boultbee Towers, the rider from the group setting off in February who arrives back in London fastest will be our winner. And if he makes it there in under 163 days, we'll be more than happy to vouch for him in any discussions with the extraordinarily fine people over at St. James' Gate.

In the meantime, though, a provisional well done once again to Mr. Bate. Everybody else, please check back with us on the blog over the coming weeks, where we will be interviewing some of those looking to do it unsupported in 150. Or fewer...