On June 16, the final day of Cycling UK’s Bike Week, 38-year-old Jenny Graham will launch her attempt to set a new round the world record. The current female record, set by Italian cyclist Paola Gianotti, stands at 144 days. Graham is aiming to complete her 18,000 mile journey in 110.
Graham, who is part of the Adventure Syndicate, a collective of female endurance cyclists, will travel across four continents and through 15 countries – Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US, Portugal, Spain, France and Holland. She will take four flights and a boat.
Her plan is to ride for around 15 hours a day and average 180 miles and she will ride unsupported. She will ride a custom-built Shand Stooshie, which has been donated by the Scottish bike manufacturer.
“I just love being self-supported,” she said. “I feel I am much more in tune with my body and surroundings on the road when I am alone, I will have to manage all the tricky situations along the way and I think that will feel like a fuller experience for me.”
She added: “I’m a girl who wasn’t sporty or great at PE at school. When my son went to primary school, I was looking for something else in my life, so I took an introduction to outdoor pursuits course and that started me on a journey to explore more.”
Graham’s son is 19 now and she feels it is the right time for a bigger adventure.
In 2017, she was given an Adventure Syndicate training bursary place and met cycling coach John Hampshire, who saw her potential and offered to help her for a year for free.
“It was like winning the golden ticket,” she said. “He believed in me and I knew I needed help to see what I could be capable of, but I didn’t have the money to pay a coach.”
She has since cycled 750 miles alone in The Arizona Trail Race, finishing sixth.
Last year Mark Beaumont – riding with a full support team – circumnavigated the globe by bike in just 79 days.
Mark said: “I wish Jenny tailwinds and a healthy dose of grit to get around in World Record time. Her story has already inspired many, so keep up the great work, Jenny.”
Once she’s set off, you’ll find the obligatory GPS tracker here.