Jason Lewis, claiming to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe using human power, is on his way home to London after a 13 year, 46,500 mile journey.
Lewis is now on the final leg of the route, cycling 2000 miles through Bulgaria, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. He will then use his pedal-powered boat to cross the Channel from Ostend and pedal up the Thames to the finishing point at the Greenwich Meridian Line, arriving on Saturday morning, October 6th.
"I am greatly looking forward to coming home and seeing my family after so many years," said Lewis from his current location in Vienna, Austria. "I shall be sad to finish what has been an incredibly rewarding, although at times tough expedition. But life on the road has been lonely for so long, and I am looking forward to being part of a community again."
Lewis started the round the world odyssey with his erstwhile companion Steve Smith under the title of Expedition360. Their objectives were to promote environmentally friendly travel and raise awareness of climate change among young people. Along the way, the team has raised £33,000 for charities in East Timor, Malaysia, Thailand and India.
Smith left Expedition360 in Hawaii in 2000, writing a book about his adventures and leaving Lewis to continue on his own. Lewis has walked, cycled, roller-bladed, kayaked, swam and pedalled across five continents, two oceans and one sea, setting several world records en route. He has experienced hardships including malaria, being attacked by a salt water crocodile in Australia and being run over by a car in Colorado which nearly resulted in him having his left leg amputated below the knee.
Is it a first?
Whether this is the first human powered circumnavigation of the globe is a matter of interpretation. In 2006, Canadians Colin Angus and Julie Wafaei completed a similar feat using guidelines based on those of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. They took 720 days to complete the 43,000km land and sea journey, cycling, skiing, canoeing, walking and rowing the whole way. They started and finished in Vancouver, Canada, but didn't cross the equator, which Jason Lewis has done and is a requirement for a Guinness World Record.
But the Guinness guidelines also state that each leg of the journey has to start where the previous one finished, and the legs have to be completed in order. Jason Lewis failed on this point when his boat was towed into Australia. Although he returned to complete that leg of the journey, it was done out of order.
So the Guinness World Record is still up for grabs.