Can Cycling UK member Jenny Graham break the female record for cycling around the world?

Jenny Graham. Photo by James Robertson.
Jenny Graham
Jenny Graham

Can Cycling UK member Jenny Graham break the female record for cycling around the world?

Jenny Graham wants to be the fastest woman to circumnavigate the globe by bike.
  • Scottish female cyclist aims to circumnavigate the globe by bike in 110 days.  
  • Jenny will ride 18,000 miles, unsupported, carrying all her kit.
  • Aims to cycle 180 miles a day across 15 countries.
  • Photos available.

The 38-year-old from Inverness plans to break the record for a female cycling around the world. The current record of 144 days set in 2014 is held by Italian cyclist Paola Gianotti and Jenny hopes to complete the journey in 110 days, beating the record by 34 days! 

Jenny, who is part of the Adventure Syndicate and a member of Cycling UK, will start her journey at 6am in Berlin on 16 June 2018, the last day of Bike Week. Her plan is to ride for around 15 hours and average 180 miles a day.

The route is 18,000 miles and it will take her across four continents and through 15 countries - Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US, Portugal, Spain, France and Holland. She will take four flights and a boat.

The fastest circumnavigation by bicycle (male) record is held by Cycling UK member Mark Beaumont. It took him 78 days with a full support team in 2017. 

Mark said: “I wish Jenny tailwinds and a healthy dose of grit to get around in World Record time. Her story has already inspired many, so keep up the great work Jenny!”

Jenny’s journey will be quite different to Mark’s; it will just be Jenny and her bike laden with kit.

Jenny Graham said: “I just love being self-supported. I feel I am much more in tune with my body and surroundings on the road when I am alone, I will have to manage all the tricky situations along the way and I think that will feel like a fuller experience for me”.

The Guinness Book of Records rules state that cyclists can’t draft behind another rider to make it easier. Jenny also added a few rules of her own including carrying all her own gear and not arranging support vehicles to meet her.

Jenny feels that the time is right for her to have her biggest adventure, her son is now 19 and she’s feels she is fit enough both physically and mentally to take on a record.

She said: “I’m a girl who wasn’t sporty or great at PE at school. When my son went to primary school, I was looking for something else in my life, so I took an introduction to outdoor pursuits course and that started me on a journey to explore more.”

Then 14 years ago, she started mountain biking and after a cycling holiday in Romania, she was hooked. “I completely fell in love with travelling through the mountains, those two weeks changed everything, we had no itinerary, my friend Cathy and I just went exploring on our bikes – it was an incredible time.”

In 2015 she tried her hand at the Highland Trail 550, but was gutted that she didn’t complete it. Horrendous weather and repeatedly trying to carry a bike through a river when the water was up to her chest meant by day 8 she couldn’t walk and pulled out in tears. Yet Jenny met so many encouraging people that she vowed to get stronger and the next year completed it.

In 2017, she was given an Adventure Syndicate (a Cycling UK affiliated group) training bursary place and met cycling coach John Hampshire, who saw her potential and offered to help her for a year for free. “It was like winning the golden ticket” Jenny says. “He believed in me and I knew I needed help to see what I could be capable of, but I didn’t have the money to pay a coach.”

Jenny had the confidence to go out of her comfort zone and cycled 750 miles alone in The Arizona Trail Race, even though she’s petrified of snakes! She came sixth.

I knew I wanted to do something solo to test my physical and mental ability. I am the fittest I have ever been, so feel like I can do this.

Jenny Graham

She wanted another challenge and the thought of going around the world kept coming back. “I knew I wanted to do something solo to test my physical and mental ability. I am the fittest I have ever been, so feel like I can do this.”

Jenny’s bike was custom-built for her and donated by Scottish bike manufacturer Shand Cycles in Livingston, West Lothian. Founder and general manager Steven Shand believes Jenny can smash the current world record, on her specially-built Stooshie. “Comfort is critical for long distance endurance tests and Jenny is convinced the bike we’ve built for her is perfect for the challenge ahead. The secret is in the frame and in getting it just right for the individual,” said Steven.

 

 

Contact information 

For more information contact the Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org 

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
     
  2. You can follow Jenny Graham’s journey in real-time via a GPS tracker http://theadventuresyndicate.com/round-the-world/    
     
  3. Photos of Jenny Graham riding her bike are available. Please credit the photographer James Robertson.
     
  4. Jenny Graham is a member of The Adventure Syndicate
  5. Jenny Graham fundraised for this record attempt by holding a bike raffle.
     
  6. She is also is sponsored by Shand, Leigh Day Cycling, Endura, Apidura, Unitas Global, John Hampshire Coaching, Hunt Wheels, Ritchey, Evans Cycles and Komoot.
     
  7. Details of World Record attempts are on the Guinness World Record site Paola Gianotti (interrupted as she broke a vertebrae) and Julianna Buhring.
     
  8. The late Mike Hall’s round the world by cycling unsupported journey 
     
  9. Round the World cycling record holders.
     
  10. 19-year-old Vedangi Kulkarni from India is also trying to beat the record in June. She will be leaving Perth on 15 June. 
     
  11. Shand Cycles is part of the global GFG Alliance
     
  12. Earlier this year Jenny Graham rode Land's End to John o'Groats in 4 days.
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