ENDURANCE cyclist Mark Beaumont is getting ready to set off on his record-breaking attempt to follow in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg by circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days.
The adventurer-turned-presenter will make his grand départ on the epic 18,000-mile trip from Paris at 4am on Sunday and is aiming to return to the French capital, from Lisbon, on September 21, smashing the record for a round-the-world trip by bicycle by 43 days.
Beaumont, 34, will follow the route taken by Jules Verne’s fictional character, pedalling towards Poland en route to Beijing through Lithuania, Russia, and Mongolia before cycling between Perth and Brisbane in Australia.
The third leg of the journey will take him to New Zealand to rise between Invercargill and Auckland, before heading to North America for a ride from Anchorage, Alaska to Halifax, Canada.
The final sprint will see the Fife-born cyclist attempt to break the record by cycling from Lisbon to Paris before the September deadline.
And Beaumont says he is under no illusions about the difficulty of the challenge facing him.
He said: “Since I last pedalled around the world nearly ten years ago, there has been a growing desire in me to push the boundaries of what is possible and to retake the circumnavigation world record to a whole new level.
“I don’t think anyone has ever tried to go this fast and this far before but I have been building on my experience as an endurance rider over two decades to prepare for this journey.
“I know what I’m getting myself into, this will be the toughest challenge of my life and will be an immense physical, mental and logistical battle before I reach the finish line.”
Beaumont previously held the record for cycling around the world in 2008, completing his circumnavigation in 194 days.
However, his achievement was most recently usurped by New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who crossed the finish line in a time of 123 days and 43 minutes back in December 2015.
To finish by the September target, Beaumont will have to ride for 16 hours a day, covering around 240 miles every 24 hours.
In the run up to his world record attempt, Beaumont completed a 3300-mile training route around the British coastline earlier this year, using it to build both mental and physical stamina.
Speaking in April, he said: “You can be in the best physical condition possible but without the belief that you can achieve your goal, you won’t make it.
“A challenge like this is just as much about mental readiness as it is about being physically prepared.
Beaumont also said the most “daunting” part of the ride would be crossing borders in enough time.
He said: “The route we’ve chosen is pretty much the flattest around the world so there isn’t too much I’m finding daunting.
“It’s more the border crossings, going through the likes of Russia and China; they’re going to take time.”