Scot breaks record for circumnavigating the globe on a bike

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The Independent Online

He encountered floods, road rage and even a careless motorist dodging a red light. His wallet and camera were stolen during a fight at a hostel. And he lost a stone while sweating his way through 18,000 miles and 20 countries with dramatically varying climates.

But at 2.30pm yesterday, pedalling past the Arc de Triomphe in the city where his mammoth journey began, it was all worth it for Mike Beaumont, an economics and politics graduate from Fife who has become the fastest man to cycle around the world.

The 25-year-old's epic, Paris-to-Paris bike ride began nearly seven months ago, but 195 days and six hours later he earned his place as a record-breaker, beating the previous incumbent who took a relatively sluggish 276 days.

Guinness World Records said the feat still needed to be verified. But that didn't spoil the celebrations among Mr Beaumont's family, who were waiting for him in the French capital.

"I'm delighted, although I think it will take a while for it to sink in," said Mr Beaumont, who lives in Newburgh in Fife. "It's great to see my friends and family and now I'm looking forward to getting some sleep.

"The challenge was one of those things which was out there to be done. I love the idea of being the first and the fastest and I felt I was capable of beating the record."

Thousands of pounds were raised for charity by the extraordinary journey, which took in countries including Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

It was in the last of these, passing through the state of Louisiana, that Mr Beaumont was knocked off his bike after an elderly driver careered through a red light. Other challenges included the robbery – which took place at a Miami hostel after a fight broke out among fellow residents – and dealing with the weather extremes of several continents: floods, driving rain and bitterly cold conditions.

Yesterday, as he reached the finish line of his solitary circumnavigation of the globe, Mr Beaumont's mother Una, father Kevin and sisters, Heather and Hannah – over from Shanghai as a surprise – were there to greet him at the Arc. "I am very proud of him," said Mrs Beaumont. "With Mark, the passion is being the first and the fastest. It's about pushing himself to the limit."

Her son began the Artemis World Cycle Challenge in Paris on 5 August last year. The aim was to break the record for the fastest round-the-world cycle of 276 days, 19 hours and 15 minutes, held by Steven Strange from Devon.

Having comfortably achieved that, Mr Beaumont received a personal letter of congratulations from Prince William, who is president of the wildlife charity Tusk – one of several for which the trip was raising money.

The Scottish Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy also expressed admiration, saying "I think it's an amazing feat he's achieved."

Mr Beaumont, originally from Bridge of Cally in Perthshire, began long-distance cycle trips at the age of 12, riding from John O' Groats to Land's End.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for Guinness World Records confirmed: "We will be reviewing documentation from Mr Beaumont and our researchers will go through the paperwork, but it has been logged as an official attempt and it seems everything is in order."