British cyclist James Bowthorpe is well on track to break the record for cycling around the world: 194 days 17 hours set by Mark Beaumont last year.
The 31 year-old, who left London on 29 March 2009, is currently in Colorado, halfway across America. He will then join the TransAmerica Trail until Richmond, Virginia, before turning north to follow the Atlantic Coast Trail. That will take him to New York, where he'll fly to Portugal and make his way back to London via Spain and France. Averaging over 120 miles per day, he expects to finish his 18,000 mile journey in around a month's time, setting a new round the world record for cycling.
BikeRadar caught up with James as he neared Colorado Springs after yet another long day in the saddle. We asked him how far he had to go: "We are not exactly sure on mileage and days left because of a change in route, but it looks like I'll break the record by about three weeks, which is what I set out to do at the start, which is good."
James Bowthorpe has had his share of experiences during his 13,000 mile journey, escaping serious harm from a gang of thugs in Iran. He described that as "the most scary one hour ever."
But even more difficult was riding through India while suffering from a stomach ailment that prevented him from maintaining his food intake. "India was the most overwhelming and hardest section," he said. "So much to take in and doing long (120-130miles/day) rides on very little food due to illness."
On the equipment front, James said he hasn't had too many problems with his belt-driven Santos Travelmaster. He changed the belt in Perth and also finally replaced his front tyre, a Schwalbe Marathon, after an impressive 12,000 miles.
The only other mechanical was the result of an altercation with a well known Australian mammal: "No other problems apart from damage caused by a wombat collision - the rear brake lever snapped off, leaving me with no rear brake for four very hilly days in Australia."
James's steed, a belt-driven and well laden Santos Travelmaster
Part of the motivation for his trip was to raise money for the Psychiatry Research Trust in order to further research into Parkinson's Disease. So far, via www.justgiving.com/globecycle, he's raised £48,000 of his ambitious target of £1.8million, but told BikeRadar that "fundraising will continue when I get back. We are hatching plans for UK talks and rides and there is a possibility of another epic task next year. Fundraising goes on till I reach the target, just like the cycling!"
A big part of the Australian leg involved crossing the Nullarbor Plain