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Mark Beaumont rides 500 miles on "Scotland's Route 66" - in less than 38 hours

Adventurer's latest challenge is close to home, but sees him spend longest time ever in the saddle...

Mark Beaumont, who earlier this year set a new world record for the quickest journey by bicycle from Cairo to Cape Town, has finished his latest adventure, and it’s one that’s closer to home – a journey of more than 500 miles in the Scottish Highlands, completed in less than 40 hours.

The adventurer, who comes from Glenalmond in Perthshire, is a former holder of the round-the-world record and has also ridden the lengths of the Andes, but his latest ride is the longest time he has ever spent in the saddle without a break.

– Mark Beaumont smashes Cairo to Cape Town record

He set off from Inverness Castle at 6am on Monday morning on the anti-clockwise North Coast 500 route, which took him through the spectacular scenery of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross and the Black Isle before finishing back in the Highland capital.

 

 

In all, Beaumont rode 516 miles in 37 hours 58 minutes, for an average speed of 13.6 miles an hour – an impressive enough achievement in the best of conditions, but as this tweet shows, Beaumont also had to cope with the worst that a Scottish summer could throw at him.

 

 

Devised by VisitScotland and launched earlier this year, the North Coast 500 is pitched as the country’s answer to the iconic Route 66 in the US.

 

 

When it was unveiled in March, Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “From our enchanting wildlife and countless historic attractions, to magnificent mountains, dramatic lochs and sandy beaches, the Highlands is a true touring paradise.

“There really is nothing quite like the open road, and whether by car, motorbike or bicycle, this particular route really does take in some of the most picturesque parts of our beautiful country.

“People travel from all over the world for Route 66, and with our scenery, there’s no reason why the North Coast 500 can’t prove to be just as popular.

“You never know, at the end of the 500 miles, visitors might just be tempted explore 500 more.”

As for that record of 42 days set earlier this year for traversing the African continent from north to south, Beaumont’s efforts have already inspired a fresh attempt on it later this year.

In October, a seven man team including Tour of Wessex organiser Nick Bourne and Chris Froome’s mentor, the Kenyan rider David Kinjah, will aim to reduce it to 34 days – but they will have the advantage of riding it as a team time trial, whereas Beaumont rode solo and unsupported.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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12 comments

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jw4g | 8 years ago
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If I recall correctly, in the movie "Vento", about the Italian Po long-distance cycle route, it was stated that the German cyclotourism market is 0.5% of that country's GDP.  That's because the Germans have invested in quality infrastructure. So with the right investment, and a change in attitudes to cycling, there's a massive economic opportunity here for Scotland.

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ianrobo | 8 years ago
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Jeez how can anyone bitch about this ? Trying to get people cycle more in Scotland should be applauded. Will plan to ride a sportive up there I think next year.

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JessieRae | 8 years ago
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> therefore the above comments by all above, i feel are valid and worthwhile.
swivel eyed loon think that comments by other swivel eyed loons (of which they are 1/3) are "valid and worthwile" shocker... Not even sure it's worth pointing out how potty your second "point" is...

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a_to_the_j | 8 years ago
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money being spent not on cycling , but promoting cycling should therefore be judged on its merits as whether it should be spent on that, or actually on other things that would make cycling easier for everyone - therefore the above comments by all above, i feel are valid and worthwhile.

lets say Visit Scotlands budget is 10million, and they spend 500,000 of that on promoting cycling in scotland, could that 500,000 be spent on day to day infrastructure to benefit all of us who cycle - with the knock on effect that would also benefit tourists too.

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Airzound replied to a_to_the_j | 8 years ago
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a_to_the_j wrote:

money being spent not on cycling , but promoting cycling should therefore be judged on its merits as whether it should be spent on that, or actually on other things that would make cycling easier for everyone - therefore the above comments by all above, i feel are valid and worthwhile.

lets say Visit Scotlands budget is 10million, and they spend 500,000 of that on promoting cycling in scotland, could that 500,000 be spent on day to day infrastructure to benefit all of us who cycle - with the knock on effect that would also benefit tourists too.

Miserable git.

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HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
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As far as I can see VisitScotland and Mark Beaumont aren't responsible for the shit roads and pish cycle lanes in the Central Belt.

Honestly, some people tie themselves in knots of indignation...

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Airzound | 8 years ago
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To the miserable gits up thread, I'd like to see you ride this distance in any where near the same time as MB did. Lighten up and give the guy his dews. He has probably done a lot more for cycling than you will ever achieve.

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adscrim | 8 years ago
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I don't think Mark Beaumont flew in from Monte Carlo for the trip. He appears to live and train in Perthshire and I've seen him at least once this year on his bike in Perth at 'rush' hour. Why the negativity about Visit Scotland trying to pull in some cycle tourism?

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Jacobi | 8 years ago
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It's a pity he didn't do a 37 hours 58 minutes tour of the shit roads all across Central Scotland that are a cyclist's nightmare. That way it may have drawn some attention to the not fit for purpose roads we have to put up with - and shamed the councils responsible into doing something about them.

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Dnnnnnn replied to Jacobi | 8 years ago
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Jacobi wrote:

It's a pity he didn't do a 37 hours 58 minutes tour of the shit roads all across Central Scotland that are a cyclist's nightmare. That way it may have drawn some attention to the not fit for purpose roads we have to put up with - and shamed the councils responsible into doing something about them.

I think that's a good idea. Now he's famous and respected, he could - as Boardman has - put that fame to good use.

All we need now is for Kim Kardashian to start posting cycling selfies...

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a_to_the_j | 8 years ago
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so...................zero funding for anything bike related on this 500mile route then, its just one Visit Scotland "spend your tourist buck here" promo?

and am assuming given his kit he's decked out in, Mark B. got paid to do this also?

perhaps he should spend 37hours 58mins riding round the cycling infrastructure of Inverness or Glasgow at peak times and understand thats where the money needs to spent......

perhaps these now famous scottish cyclists should start to speak out about this subject - or perhaps most of them do not do most of their riding here, nor do they need to do the 9-5 commute on their bikes.

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Airzound | 8 years ago
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Legend.

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