What is your name ? What is your favourite colour? What is the air-speed velocity of a fully laden tandem?…
Got a question? Want to know more? Just pop it in the comments below and we’ll get back to you… in the meantime here’s some of the stuff we get asked all the time…
Does Laura have her feet up at the back?
If I had a quid for every time I heard “She’s got her feet up on the back!” we’d be rich enough to install a motor! I like to think of our tandem as rear wheel drive! But seriously, the tandem is a heavy beast and isn’t going to get far without both of us putting the effort in. Our pedals are linked by a timing chain so every time Stevie pedals so do I. Stevie is undoubtedly the stronger rider but unless we both put the effort in we would not be covering the distances we do. Stevie does have the tough job of steering and holding the heavy front end however. I try to compensate by being chief navigator and supplier of treats from the nose bag!
Are you mad?
Most likely, but who isn’t? We think you are mad if you’re not riding a bike ;P
Why taken on such a challenge? Why not go slower and have a holiday?
From previous experience, most of our “holidays” turn into epic endurance challenges so when Laura decided she was going to have a sabbatical it was safe to assume that it would be no walk on the park or siesta on a beach. Having been inspired by riders like Mark Beaumont, Jenny Graham and Tandem WoW we realised this was a challenge that was within our grasp, albeit not without significant planning and effort. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to experience the World at the speed of a bicycle, see different cultures and meet new people but also raise significant funds and awareness for some fantastic charities. Maybe one day we’ll go back and do it all a bit slower…
Do you swap seats?
Have you seen our height difference?! It is technically possible but Laura just simply would not have the upper body strength (even with all her yoga inversions) to hold the fully laden tandem plus Stevie. Our seats are fixed and Laura will mostly be staring at Stevie’s back for 18,000miles…
Is a tandem faster than a normal bicycle? Why ride tandem instead of two bikes?
Tandems are often faster on the flat/ downhill but much slower going uphill due to the weight and inertia so the speed tends to even out. The benefits are that tandems are a great leveler and keeps us together rather than Stevie shooting off into the distance. The disadvantages are that tandems don’t fit places well so for this trip we are having to invest in a coupled tandem which splits in half to be boxed up for flights.
Why are you taking flights? And what about Africa?
Fairly obviously it is not possible to actually cycle all the way around the world as there are a couple of oceans in the way! We have tried to minimise air travel, and arguably cycling 18,000 miles of the 24,901 miles is a pretty good effort. We are on a World Record Attempt and following the rules set by Guinness so doing what we can to be as efficient with our route and time as possible. We would love to cycle through Africa but it is not practical to factor into this challenge.
Are other people coming with you? How much support to you have?
We will be on the whole unsupported and riding by ourselves. Guinness rules do not differentiate between supported and unsupported records hence Mark Beaumont’s amazing 78 day record with a full team behind him. We cannot afford to employ a team of people to follow us around the world and also are used to looking after ourselves. We won’t be refusing help and support on route but it is mostly just the two of us.
Having said that, if anyone wants to volunteer to help as ground crew to provide support an assistance from the UK or help with the social media and technology that would be amazing! Just get in contact 🙂
Do you get bored of cycling all day?
Not really, we love to watch the scenery and the tandem keeps us close enough to chat. We rarely listen to music or headphones and the challenge itself usually keeps us occupied.
Where will you stay? Do you have somewhere booked every night?
We know from experience the best laid plans often go awry and as much as we know the schedule we will need to stick to planning to do a specific mileage everyday would just not work. We will have to be flexible and prepared to change our plans on a daily basis. We also plan to be more flexible and keep costs down by camping where possible so our trip will be a mixture of hotels, hostels, airbnbs, warm showers (a cycling specific room for a night site), campsites, wild camps and potentially bus shelters.
What will you eat? Will you take food? What is your nutrition plan?
Our nutrition plan is food. Lots of food. We will have a limited amount of room for food and the more we take the more weight on the bike. We will however have a stove and this will enable us to cook along the way, but we expect to feed off the land in most places. We will be travelling through a range of different culinary cultures so we can expect a pretty varied diet along the way.
How did you plan the route?
The route planning was mostly done by Laura after hours of research using information from previous round the world rides, cycle tours, local information, cycle holiday providers, climate, bears, hills and political climate. The route may well have to be flexible and is subject to change along the way!
Are you not worried about safety in some countries? Is it safe to ride a bicycle there?
There is a balance between staying safe, but still completing our challenge and having great experiences along the way. We will be taking advice from the British Embassy to make sure we do not unnecessarily put ourselves in harms way, particularly if the political situation is unstable. However, some countries which may initially sound alarming often have a strong culture of nomadic living and travelers are welcomes. Islamic countries have a culture of seeing guests as a blessing and we are prepared to respect different cultures wherever we go. Some of the most serious incidences from other round the world rides: muggings, robbery, wild animal threats, road accidents have actually occurred in more developed countries and we will have to be prepared to acknowledge and minimise risks where ever we are.
What about Stevie’s beard? Doesn’t he get a warm chin? Is it itchy? How will he keep it clean and oiled? How long has he been growing it for? Can I touch it?
Yes, it is a big beard, it does a good job keeping his chin warm, no, beard maintenance will be an important part of the schedule (unless he shaves it off before!) and we may have to post argan oil to strategic points around the world, since before he met Laura- she doesn’t even know if he has a chin, no. Most definitely not. Would you like it if he touched your hair?!