Around the world in 80 days with record-smashing adventure cyclist Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont has made a career of world firsts and records to over 130 nations & territories. He’s made documentaries for the BBC, GCN & CNN for over 15 years, and has published five books.  

Having cycled around the world twice, he now holds the record – 18,000-miles in 78 days & 14 hours – achieving the famous ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ for the first time by bicycle.  Off the bike, these record-breaking journeys have taken him through the high Arctic, on mountaineering and ocean rowing expeditions – including surviving a capsize in the mid-Atlantic.  Mark was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Years honours for contributions to sport and charity. And now he’s joined the komoot ambassador squad…

Read on to hear more from the man himself.

Describe yourself in three words

Adventurous. Ambitious. Entrepreneurial.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten on a ride?

Spicy hen’s feet, in Thailand – not something I would recommend.

What’s the weirdest wardrobe malfunction you’ve seen or experienced?

Cycling across the Australian Outback for weeks, a passing car eventually slowed to tell me my cycle shorts were so threadbare that every passing vehicle could see my backside as they passed! There wasn’t a lot I could do to remedy the situation until I reached Adelaide a week later.

What motivates you to get outside and explore?

I am a better and nicer person to myself and others when I train and when I make time to go on adventures, even if they’re local and only last a few hours. I become like a dog who hasn’t been for a walk, a child who hasn’t been allowed into the garden, I just have to escape regularly for my soul and for my happiness. There must be endorphins and other biological effects that explain this, but I don’t need to find motivation to get outside and explore, in fact, my wife Nicci often says – ‘Mark, go for an adventure, you need it!’

Disc or rim brakes?

Disc, I was converted a long time ago. Unless you are a serious club rider or Cat racer, there is no compelling argument for rim brakes anymore. Stopping power, frame clearance, and longevity of brakes makes disc so much more reliable for all endurance and adventure cycling.

Tell us about your most epic ride yet?

Around the World in 78 Days, 14 hours and 40 minutes – does that count? Riding from 4am every day, for 16 hours, sleeping less than 5 hours, repeat, without any breaks for two and a half months. Averaging 240 miles a day. This broke the previous circumnavigation World Record by 37%, but interestingly it only broke my target by 1.44%. If I can mention a few other epic rides, I would like to mention climbing the world’s highest volcano, Ojos del Salados in Chile (6893m), with freeride bikes on our back, then riding the scree and sand all the way through the Atacama desert to the Pacific Ocean in 48 hours. Closer to home, doing the North Coast 500 non-stop in 37 hours was pretty tough, then going back and completing it as a three-day bikepacking route with Si Richardson for Global Cycling Network. I love that route, every section is so beautiful and challenging.

Looking forward, what plans do you have for the year?

It has been an odd year for everyone, I was meant to be leading an expedition in Malawi (I love cycling in Africa and still hold the Cairo to Cape Town WR), as well as racing RAAM (Race Across America), and either an expedition in Saudi Arabia or Nepal at the end of the year. But with a lot of travel put on hold for now, I’m content with some big rides and film-making closer to home. I’ve just made a gravel bikepacking film in the Cairngorms that will be out soon, have another shoot on the west coast of Scotland next month, and will be out racing the Mallorca 312 in October.

What is the most unusual item in your toolkit?

If I’m bikepacking, my Aeropress. It seems like an odd luxury, but is super light and makes a superb coffee (if I do say so myself). I also normally get teased for always packing an ultralight tent, rather than roughing it in a bivvy-bag, but what can I say, I like keeping the rain and midges away for a good night’s sleep!

What has been the biggest cycling game-changer for you?

Slowing down and enjoying taking my daughter Harriet to cycle. We recently completed a challenge to cycle every street in Edinburgh together – which was 506 miles, with her cycling and me running. It was our lockdown challenge and we got to spend over 100 hours together, chatting away. I have been so obsessed for years with performance and pushing the limits of my endurance, to slow right down and see the joy and learning with my daughter has been simply wonderful.

Why do you recommend komoot?

I love the fact that komoot is community lead, so there is so much local advice and ideas to be found. Since starting to use komoot, I have found new fell running, gravel, and XC routes that I would never have found without the route planning function. It is also a great platform for sharing rides, in terms of photos and friends. And I like how seamlessly it syncs between the online platform and the phone app.

In the current climate with limitations on getting outside, how are you using komoot to keep your adventure-fire stoked?

There are still plenty of adventures to be found locally, and having komoot has allowed me to see familiar areas in new ways. I have definitely been drawn to more off-road adventures this year, as it feels right to get far away from the maddening crowds and roads!