29,179 km... New Zealand, Australia, India, Southeast Asian countries, USA, Canada... A total of 23 countries in the world. And only after 123 days and 43 minutes. New Zealand schoolteacher Andrew Nicholson traveled around the world in 2015 and set a new world record. And he did it on a bicycle!
At that time, Andrew was 45 years old, and in his youth he competed three times for the New Zealand team at the Winter Olympics in the disciplines of short track speed skating and speed skating. According to the athlete, his Olympic past helped him set a record on a bicycle. “When I put my feet on the pedals, I go into full concentration mode and focus on what I'm doing.” Perhaps this was the recipe for such success, because Nicholson cycled about 237 km every day!
For such cycling marathons, special support groups are often hired to accompany the athletes throughout the journey in special vans. Such teams are usually responsible not only for preparing food, organizing a comfortable place to sleep and relax, they also provide psychological support, because each record-breaking journey is exhausting work both physically and mentally. Andrew Nicholson set his record without a professional team!
But he was not always alone. The New Zealander used Warm Showers, a non-profit organization for cyclists that provides free holiday destinations around the world. The members of the organization are also mostly cyclists - it’s a kind of club of interests, where everyone understands what long marathons are and how friendly support is needed. Currently, the organization has more than 160 thousand members in 161 countries. Nicholson contacted ahead of time through the Warm Showers website those who were able to provide him with a bed to sleep at one point or another along his route. Very often, the owners prepared food for him and gave him various goodies for the journey. Therefore, the entire journey of 123 days was not very costly.
After completing his journey around the world, Andrew admitted that it had been quite difficult. He was exhausted both mentally and physically. During the 123 days of the road, the New Zealander more than once thought that he was unable to finish as planned. But the thirst for everything new, the dream of a record and the strength of spirit forced him to go further and further. Nicholson said: “Yes, you are tired, yes, you can’t feel your legs from pain, but you can still get on your bike and ride. And don’t forget to just enjoy the moment.”