Vin Cox, the man who up until last week held the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe, has revealed details of his latest challenge – the "Hungry Bike Ride".
The March tour, starting at his home in Cornwall, will see Cox cycling around the UK living only on wild, foraged food, without spending a penny or consuming anything he can’t harvest from the hedgerows.
After leaving Cornwall, he’ll follow the coast in the South West, cut inland through the Midlands and onto the Lake District and into Scotland. He’ll be in no rush, conceding more time will be spent gathering food than riding. Sticking to lanes, cycle routes, trails and bridleways (“most opportunity to forage”), he’ll be eating leaves and buds of plants like nettles and brambles, trying to find Pignuts and Burdock roots for carbohydrates, and rabbit and pigeon for protein. Limpets and seaweed will be a big part of his diet during the first few days on the coast. He’ll won't be travelling with much equipment either, just a knife, string, elastic, books on wild food, a camera, phone and a bike tool kit.
Speaking to BikeRadar about the adventure, Cox said March is a very difficult month to attempt it. “It’s a time of year sometimes known as ‘the hungry gap’ because plants have started to grow but nothing is really ready to eat; no seeds or nuts, no mushrooms, not many leaves, very few roots," he said. “I’m not trying to be tough or ‘survival’ about it really; I intend to enjoy it and I’m just setting up conditions for a challenging adventure where I’ll necessarily be acutely aware of my natural surroundings.”
Although the idea started off as low key, he says it’s grown the more he shares it (he’s even had a TV enquiry) and he plans on chronicling the adventure as he did with his round-the-world record attempt.
Cox hit the headlines in August 2010 after cycling round the world, unsupported, in just 163 days. He held the record for the next 17 months despite Alan Bate, finishing his attempt just days after Cox, clocking a stunning 96 days, 10 hours and 3 minutes. It took until October 2011 for Bate to submit his evidence to Guinness World Records, who finally ratified his record at the turn of the year.