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Matt Page breaks world record for most castles visited in one week by bike

Despite the atrocious weather conditions, the road.cc and off.road.cc contributor has visited 61 castles and cycled over 620 miles in five days, breaking Welsh rugby player Shane Williams’ previous record (pending verification from Guinness)

With storm Dudley and Eunice battering the UK this week, many of us will have (wisely) confined our bikes to the shed. But not road.cc and off.road.cc contributor Matt Page, who has spent the past five days battling the wind and rain on the way to a potential Guinness World Record for the most castles visited by bike in one week.

The previous record was set by Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams, who called at 50 castles across Wales between 22 February and 1 March 2021. 

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the endurance rider – who completed the Rapha Festive 500 in one day in December 2020 – broke Williams’ record with days to spare. 

> Matt Page smashes the Rapha Festive 500... in one day, on Christmas Eve

Starting his attempt on Saturday, by Wednesday evening Matt had visited 61 castles, riding over 1,000 kilometres and enduring some serious Welsh climbing and awful weather (which caused a major route change on day four) in the process.

Matt is expected to reach his 67th castle on Thursday afternoon, in his hometown of Llandovery, where he will stop his attempt after six days to shelter from the incoming Storm Eunice.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Matt Page (@mattpage24)

Guinness’ rules stipulate that the rider must touch every castle wall for the record to count, while there are also restrictions on what constitutes a castle, based on factors such as the age of the building, the remains, and the occupancy.

No independent adjudicators were present for Matt’s attempt, so the record will only be made official once all submitted evidence has been approved by Guinness.

Matt Page - Guinness World Record castles attempt 2 (photo credit - Matt Page)

Matt says that the record attempt combined his love of both history and cycling.

He said: “When I saw the record and watching the coverage, the challenge sparked something inside me, with a love of history and of course cycling that made it perfect, and the research that I needed to do has taught me so much more.

“The weather has forced me to change the route, skipping all of North Wales and the many castles that still stand, but that was the risk in attempting the challenge at this time of year.

“To anyone who fancies a big challenge, I would certainly recommend it as the scenery has been fantastic and given me the opportunity to see areas of Wales and the borders that I have never seen before.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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9 comments

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OnYerBike | 2 years ago
1 like

Congrats! Did Matt hit the 67 planned in the end?

I was actually tempted to give this a go aftr reading about it last year - living in Scotland there are plenty of castles! Although the bar is now significantly higher... 

I was also wondering how you find out all the rules. It looks like Matt was travelling pretty light - I assume you are allowed to have support and/or stay in hotels etc.?

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Matt Page replied to OnYerBike | 2 years ago
0 likes

Yes, enough on the final day to get the 67 - assuming GWR approve it.

The original route contained many more, but Eunice sadly stopped that bid.
For the rules, Guinness supply them but in essence, support is allowed, drafting is not. You must restart the ride at the same point if you move away (for night stays, etc)

Avatar
Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes

Well done to Matt. He's not picked the nicest week to attempt this record. And touring in February without mudguards? Surely a form of torture.

The photo at the top of this article is the entrance to Powis Castle, an NT property just outside Welshpool. I recognised quite a few of the sites in his feed. wink

This could be the inspiration (AKA kick up the arse) I need to initiate an I-Spy style list of castles to visit by bike... but maybe not this weekend.

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Welsh boy replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
2 likes

Your I-Spy guide should also include a tick for spotting mudguards on a bike, Matt's bike in the first picture will give you your first tick smiley

 

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OnYerBike replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
2 likes

Simon E wrote:

And touring in February without mudguards? Surely a form of torture.

Looks to me like he has mudguards...

Avatar
Simon E replied to OnYerBike | 2 years ago
0 likes

OnYerBike wrote:

Simon E wrote:

And touring in February without mudguards? Surely a form of torture.

Looks to me like he has mudguards...

I didn't look closely enough at that image but a previous photo from 31 January was of a Canyon without mudguards:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZaKGrgsXBO/

Avatar
Matt Page replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
1 like

Thanks Simon.

The bike has Portland Design Works full mudguards, and as you say, it would be torture without given the conditions.

It is Powis Castle and the gardens were impressive and immaculate.

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Simon E replied to Matt Page | 2 years ago
0 likes

mattpage wrote:

Thanks Simon.

The bike has Portland Design Works full mudguards, and as you say, it would be torture without given the conditions.

It is Powis Castle and the gardens were impressive and immaculate.

Thanks Matt. The gardens at Powis, particularly the wooded part on the far side, are one of my favourite local places to visit.

It's another seriously impressive ride. Do you have a link to the route you intended/took?  Ta.

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OnYerBike replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes

Looks like this was the planned full route if you didn't already find it: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ17jt6Mf8Y/

Also https://www.strava.com/pros/71326 for individual days' actual routes.

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