After finishing it was straight to the hotel to warm up… and of course we had to ride there, but we could hardly begrudge one more mile!
Friends and family had come out to welcome us back to Berlin and we had a rather wonderful few days drinking beer and not riding the bicycle. We also were extremely grateful for help tracking down bike boxes and getting them to the airport in a taxi- so much easier!
Arriving back in the UK on 4th December we had a tremendous welcome home party at the Hole in the Wall, our local micropub and I know a few subscribed to this blog were there. We cannot thank everyone that turned up enough especially Peter and Gerald both with some impressive states, Big Phil who has (and is still helping) with my techincal struggles with the website and Pete from the Tandem Shop who built the bike. Disappointingly it had been dropped by the baggage handlers on the final flight and there was a nasty dint in the top tube. Pete had offered to get the bike in and give her a full service as well as assess the damage of the knock.
And then getting back to normality…or at least the new normal…
Christmas was a blur, no a single Christmas card was sent and we did our best to pull ourselves together for our nearest nad dearest but it was such a strange time, it felt like it should still be June and we were pulling crackers and eating mince pies. Although this did help Stevie to finally put some weight back on, we never weighed him at his lightest but we suspect he had lost in the region of 15kg with sickness and a parasitic infection. His saddle sores as well took well into January to heal up and still impeded his ability to ride far. Being house-husband has given him the time he needs to recover though and its a case of taking it step by step. Laura however was back at work in December and commuting there on her solo bicycle, the trip had stripped our contingency budget and including the bicycle and equipment we have calculate cost us in excess of £40,000.
Jumping back on a solo bicycle was not quite a straight forward as planned and it took some time to get used to steering again, not made any easier by the icy weather and cold snap we had returned to in the UK.
January and February were spent building our strength back up with most walking, but Laura started running and swimming as well (guess where this is leading…) We are planning a less extreme Coast to Coast walk later in the year and needed to rebuild our walking muscles. Laura fitted in one longer ride to visit her parents and a friend too but was quite happy to bail onto a train on the way back when the weather got bad- Oh the relief of not having to ride in headwinds and rain!!
A large proportion of December and January was also spent compiling the reams of evidence requested by Guinness and then waiting to hear the verdict after submission- this came through in February and it was a huge relief we had got everything in order. It just felt wonderful to have everything official!
In terms of what’s next (a question we are regularly asked), nothing like this ever again! This was our Everest and considering the time away from loved ones, the expense and this physical, emotional and mental toll this trip had on us we are confident the bug will not bite again and happy to consign ourselves to smaller challenges in the future. However having got our wonderful tandem back from the Tandem Shop in March we are looking forward to some more sedate spins once the weather improves. Scroll to the bottom for the full mechanical details…
We have already done a couple of talks about our trip for Belper Bicycle Club and Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and are looking forward to speaking at York Rally and the Flying Gate weekend later in the year. If you are part of a club or organisation that would like to know more about our trip feel free to get in touch as we can see what we can do! The book is well underway too and at time of writing has just entered Australia so Laura has high hopes of it being finished later this year. With a flurry of podcasts and articles too we have had some great publicity surrounding our new record.
There is a also a significant amount (over 9 hours) of Go Pro footage from the backseat and Laura is working on getting this into a watchable form but this may take some time as she starts a new job in April. You can subscribe/ hunt us down on YouTube to see updates there and there are still intermittent updates on social media too. We will post here again once we have a launch date for the book but in the meantime here’s some stats from the trip (if you want/ can think of anymore please let us know in the comments!)
Total distance: 18194.9 miles (as recorded by the on bike Garmin GPS)
Total time: 179 days 12 hours and 25 minutes (we may have had a bit of confusion regarding this as we arrived back on the 180th day!)
Average speed: 13mph
Max speed: 53.9mph (descending in Turkey, day 16)
Minimum speed: 8.89mph day 34 India (monsoons and roadworks)
Max distance in a day: 158.9 miles, day 130 Canada (tailwinds in the Praries)
Longest moving time: 10hrs 53mins, Day 145 Canada Average moving time: 7hr 58mins
10 nights camping, 8 airbnbs /homestays, 11 hosted (free), 2 on flights and 149 hotels
Punctures: 14 including the 7 in 24 hours in #puncturegate2022 in Turkey
Around 13,814 miles without a puncture on our Marathon Mondial tyres
64.75 pizzas consumed (where 8 slices=1 pizza regardless of diameter), equivalent to a third per day.
And one tin opener called Tim…
Feedback from the tandem shop:
Co-Motion Java – Co-Pilot (1 set of couplings) – this made it relatively easy to transport the Tandem by obtaining two bike boxes from Bike Shops to transport the Tandem by plane.
16 brake pads supplied – 10 pairs of Hope sintered brake pads used with E-Hope 203mm rotors and only one pair of rotors used for the 19k (two pairs supplied) original thickness 2.3mm and after 19k 2.1mm. The brakes used were hydraulic Hope RX4 calipers – mineral fluid – Perfect operation throughout.
One spoke broke at the nipple in the first 1k, none for the rest of the 19k, pretty impressive on 32-hole wheels on Hope Pro4 Hubs with DT 2.3mm Stainless spokes, DT Prolock nipples – and the tension dropped by 5%. Wheels stayed true throughout the 19k. The Hope Freehub had three of the four pawls go at 17k, then the rear hub bearings finally went at 18k. Tyres used were Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 700 x 50 and on average had just under 3000 miles on each one although Stevie felt there were many more miles in them! Punctures were 4 in the 19k and over 13k through Asia, Australia, NZ, and Canada without a puncture!
KMC X11 chains were used for just under 3k and used two chains for each of the three Shimano XT cassettes supplied. Hope Stainless bottom brackets – are simply fantastic! – Super smooth still!!! Shimano GRX 810 Shifter & Mechs – one rear cable broke and the drive chainrings 50/34 lasted the 19k, ready to be changed. The Gates Carbon Belt X-Over – two belts swopped every 5k however the wear and tear of them to the end were showing that at 15k would have been best to swap rings/belt to reduce the risk of failure.
Brooks front and rear and well polished too!
Fizik Performance Tape with Gel – unbelievable wear & tear and extremely comfortable (according to Laura). A Tortec Stainless Rear carrier survived and the Tubus Tara Stainless Front survived the crash and was re-shaped to continue to work.
One important fact of course not to be missed out is the fact that Stevie was particular in keeping on top of the maintenance of the Tandem throughout the 19k with the exception of the German bike shop assisting them with the tools to fit new bearings to the rear hub.