Many months have been spent studying maps and pilot charts. The route may look like I’ve taken a few wrong turns along the way, but the map below has been plotted with the advice of experienced ocean rowers and world cyclists to determine the best course for such a long journey.
Leg 1 – Europe 1,700 miles
Lap the World starts in my home city of Birmingham, and after a warm send-off I’ll cycle to London and onwards to the south coast where I’ll be joined by seven rowers to complete a 21 mile row across the English Channel to France. Saddling up on the bike again I will head south to Paris and on through France and Spain until reaching the very edge of Europe at Gibraltar, Spain. One continent down, five to go.
Leg 2 – North Africa 1,300 miles
A 20 mile stretch of water separates Europe from Africa, so there’s only one thing for it – to get back in a rowing boat. As a team of eight we will row to Morocco to make landfall on the second continent of the expedition. Another quick dry down, and it’s back on the bike to pedal through Morocco ready for the Atlantic ocean. All 3,500 nautical miles of it.
Leg 3 – North Atlantic Ocean 3,500 miles
Both the rows across the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar are likely to around 6 hours to complete, during which time we will always be in sight of land. The Atlantic ocean will take between two and three months at sea. We will arrive in South America hairier, smellier and thinner but hope to claim 3 Guinness World records for the crossing.
Leg 4 – South Americas 2,000 miles
After making landfall in Colombia it’s back on the bike to ride from coast to coast, the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific ocean through Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, negotiating the not so small Andes mountains en route. Just what the doctor called for after a hard ocean row!
Leg 5 – The Pacific Ocean 7,800 nautical miles
If 3,500 nautical miles wasn’t enough rowing for one lifetime I’ve made doubily sure with a 7,800 nautical mile row acorss the world’s greatest ocean, the Pacific. It’s sure to be the single hardest challenge of the journey. Myself and team-mates will each spend 12 hours rowing, every day for five months and aim to arrive on Australian soil in world record breaking time.
Leg 6 – Australia 1,700 miles
Reluctantly leaving the coral reefs and beaches of Australia’s east coast for the ‘red-centre’, the desert interior of Australia, I’ll cycle through Queensland and the Northern Territory until reaching Darwin.
Leg 7 – Indonesia 2,500 miles
Indonesia has one of the world’s greatest seafaring histories and our own exploration of the region will include an ocean row across the Timor Sea from Australia to Indonesia before several shorter kayak crossings as we progress through the island chains of Indonesia, eventually arriving in Singapore.
Leg 8 – Asia 7,000 miles
The passport will never be too far out of reach in cycling from Singapore and into Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and then China in quick succession. It will be the first time thermal layers will have been required during the entire journey as I reach China during winter before warming up in reaching Tajikistan, Uzbekhistan, Turkmenistan and finally Iran.
Leg 9 Europe 1,900 miles
The end is in sight in reaching Turkey, the cross-roads of Asia and Europe. From Istanbul it’s a short, well a relatively short, 2,000 miles to Paris and the exact same place that I was 18 months earlier. Paris will mark the office finish line of my human powered circumnavigation, but I might just carry on a few hundred miles further west and into England.