Endurance adventurer, Sean Conway, is attempting the World Record for crossing Europe by bike – hoping to cycle 4,500 miles in less than 25 days.
The 36-year-old, originally from Cheltenham, set out on 4 August from Cabo de Roca, on the West Coast of Portugal, and is cycling, unsupported, to Ufa in Russia.
The current record of 25 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes was set by Jonas Deichmann just last month, July 2017. According to a GPS map, which places a ‘ghost’ image of Deichmann on a map comparing the two riders’ progress, Conway is currently around 30km ahead of the record, midway through Spain, having cycled across Portugal in just 31 hours.
His bikepacking setup includes the ingenious use of a flower pot as a cockpit bag, for easy access to supplies he will need en route.
— Sean Conway (@Conway_Sean) August 5, 2017
He has also written EAT on one leg and DRINK on the other, in case he forgets. He has to buy food as he goes, as he can carry limited amounts on his bike. Conway faces a heatwave, nicknamed Lucifer, which has hit Europe over the past few days, with temperatures soaring to 40C or above.
The heatwave Lucifer comes with severe warnings, with 12 countries across Europe on a “red code” alert. Spain is among the countries affected, though Conway is currently in the North of the country, where the temperature is set to increase to the high 30s by early next week. By this time, of course, Conway should have moved on.
— Sean Conway (@Conway_Sean) August 6, 2017
Unusually, Conway hasn’t pre-planned his route. However, he has plenty of experience of long-distance cycle adventures: in 2012 Conway attempted to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe by bike. Three weeks into the attempt he was hit by a driver in the USA, travelling at 50mph, and suffered torn ligaments, and a fractured spine, as well as severe whiplash. He completed the remaining 12,000 miles with a fractured spine. He has also cycled from London to the Alps, Land’s End to John o’Groats, and completed ultra triathlons, including cycling, swimming and running the length of Britain. On top of that he has undertaken many swimming, canoeing, climbing challenges, and had a programme on the Discovery Channel.
You can follow Conway's progress here.