Round The World by Bike

The Guinness Book of Records defines a journey around the world as one that covers 16,000 miles and 4 continents.

Alastair Humphreys is going to do the job properly: 70,000 miles, 5 continents, 50 countries. Alone and on a bicycle. No buses, no hitching, no support vehicles.

The expedition itself is entirely self-financing; every penny Al raises in donations will go directly to Hope and Homes for Children to support their outstanding work.

Follow his travels via the links below or to find out more about Al’s plan, read his story or his complete list of gear, or check out some of the books that inspired him.

Latest Articles

A Grand Departure… and a Feeble Retreat: October 2004
The locals are sure Al and Rob are crazy for attempting to ride through Siberia in winter. Considering even Tippex there is approved down to -40C, they may just be right.

Into Siberia: September 2004
Al has been predominantly alone for three years now; an experience that has ranged from the sublime to the suicidal. Things will be very different now that he has been joined by Rob, an old friend. Al will probably have to stop picking his toenails while cooking dinner.

The End of the Americas: August 2004
If the end of Africa was an unexpected and exultant victory over a fierce opponent, the end of the Americas was becoming a sad drawn-out goodbye to a friend.

Round The World by Canoe: July 2004
Yukon locals said he was crazy to attempt it, but Al Humphreys was looking forward to the adventure of 500 miles in a canoe.

Riding through Canada: June 2004
Canada’s west coast has beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. Al Humphreys just wishes something could be done about the mosquitos.

My Letter from America: May 2004
Al is amazed at the diversity within the USA, but is worried that the rest of the world can only base its impressions on the voice and actions of one man.

Cycling through California: April 2004
Disappointed with LA, Al continued north to San Francisco and another icon of his journey, the Golden Gate Bridge.

Phoenix to LA: March 2004
In most of the world Al is riding a heavily-laden bicycle and therefore he is very rich. In the USA he is riding a heavily-laden bicycle and therefore he is very poor.

Mexico to the USA: February 2004
While observing Mexico City as a sprawling mess, Al actually enjoyed his time there. With so many people living their lives at typical Latino high volume there is tremendous energy to the city and inexhaustible variety.

My American Dream: January 2004
There is nobody Al has met in the world who does not have an opinion on the United States. He’s looking forward to seeing how his own perceptions match the reality.

Colombia to Mexico: January 2004
The Darien Gap forced Al to hitch a ride on a yacht from Colombia to Panama. He decided to stay on the yacht until Mexico.

Colombia…and the End of South America: November 2003
Al agonized over the decision whether to ride through Colombia or not. In the end he decided to forge ahead and was extremely glad that he did.

Cajamarca, Peru to Quito, Ecuador: October 2003
The people are generally friendly in Ecuador, with the notable exceptions of the man who leaned out of the window of a passing truck and punched Alastair Humphreys in the head, and the man who looked him up and down before declaring, ‘with a body like that you will never make it round the world!’

Lima to Cajamarca, Peru: September 2003
A brutal "shortcut" over the mountains around Huaraz was tiring stuff, but the rewards of getting off the travelguided track were ample.

Two Years on the Road: September 2003
On a journey of this scale the highlights shrink to the size of bright stars in a vast night sky. It is the journey itself that has to be the reward. All that lies between the destinations is the true journey: the destinations are important merely to make the journey necessary and give it some purpose.

La Paz, Bolivia to Lima, Peru: August 2003
Al is joined for this leg of his journey by an old friend and this dilution of the experience is a wonderful break for him.

Salta, Argentina to La Paz, Bolivia: August 2003
The Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia, is a dried-up ancient sea, a vast plain of dazzling white salt. It’s also one of the world’s highlights and a perfect place for some naked cycling.

Santiago, Chile to Salta, Argentina: July 2003
All play and no work is making Al wonder if his trip should continue. Perhaps Argentina can help him rediscover why he’s doing all this.

Bariloche to Santiago, Chile: May 2003
Chileans seem to have a bit of a complex about their status in the World and Al did his best to fuel their egos with what he had seen of their country.

The Carreterra Austral, Chile: April 2003
The CA is one of the World’s ‘Great Roads’ for cycling (along with the Karakoram Highway and the Friendship Highway) and Al had wanted to ride it for years. He was not disappointed.

Ushuaia to Los Torres del Paine, Chile: March 2003
Al is back in the bike saddle and it’s only 17,848 kilometers to Alaska. A new continent, new road conditions, but the people continue to be friendly.

Cape to Rio Yacht Race: January 2003
Days after being labelled an "intrepid young British adventurer", Al is given a dose of reality after 24 days at sea crossing the Atlantic. Pride comes before a hurl.

Questions from a Bike Ride: 15 November 2002
Everywhere he goes, Al gets asked the same questions about his trip. Perhaps he’s just trying to earn the right to sit on his sofa like a slob!

Cape Town, South Africa: 20 October 2002
Al had to resort to opening his champagne with his penknife, but the important thing was that he had reached the end of the road.

Francistown, Botswana to Jane Furse, South Africa
What should have been a gentle four day triumphal procession into South Africa turned into a ghastly five day long beasting thanks to the wind.

What a Year!
After a year on the road (and 11,000 miles and 24 countries) Al feels that at last he is at the beginning of the end of the beginning.

Blantyre, Malawi to Francistown, Botswana: 7 August 2002
For the first time ever Al surprises and disappoints himself by being too squeamish to take advantage of an extremely cheap and dinner-party-conversation-enhancing foodstuff: boiled mice on sticks. What a wimp.

Dar Es Salaam to Blantyre, Malawi: July 2002
Tanzania was fun – a gentle, pleasant and amusing country and people: a country that calls roundabouts "keepy-a-lefty’s". Now it’s on to Malawi a country trapped in a spiralling famine, due party to a corrupt government.

Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam: 6 June 2002
It was an exciting first afternoon in Dar Es Salaam. Al was faced with a horrible, horrible dilemma and then received a mysterious warning via a cell phone call. All this amidst the Greatest Show on Earth.

Moshi, Tanzania: 26 May 2002
Nine months of cycling without music has been too much of a challenge for Al. He asks what would be your soundtrack for a trip around the world? Also, Al will be avidly watching the World Cup from an African perspective.

Nairobi, Kenya: 8 May 2002
After determining that the Democratic Republic of Congo might be a "bit iffy", Al is taking some loafing time in Nairobi before he gets back on the bike to Tanzania.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya: late April 2002
As Al moves into Kenya from Ethiopia, he reflects on the serious image problem that afflicts Ethiopia. He encourages you to go see it for yourself before everyone else does!

An Ode to a Bicycle
After 20,000 miles across more than 30 nations and four continents, Rita is no more. Al now has a new bike and needs a name. Any ideas?

Some Thoughts on Foreign Aid
There is a knee-jerk reaction in Ethiopia: a white person equals money. Foreign aid has undoubtedly saved lives in Ethiopia, but is it also breeding a culture where the Ethiopians want to be rich, but they don’t want (or feel the need?) to help themselves.

Northern Ethiopia to Addis Ababa: March-April 2002
In Ethiopia, Al is no longer a person, he is a mobile cash point. Something has gone seriously wrong somewhere and Al thinks foreign aid may be the cause.

Khartoum, Sudan to Ethiopia: March 2002
The heat is a real drag, but Al has crossed Africa’s largest nation and learned so much. The Sudanese are the kindest, most cheerful, most hospitable and welcoming people that he has ever met.

Aswan, Egypt to Khartoum, Sudan: 1 March 2002
Pushing his bike through the desert sands following a track that’s barely there is not the most glamourous thing, but Al is happy to have made it to Khartoum.

Egypt: Cairo to Aswan: 1 February 2002
8434.4km on a rattling bike cobbled back together with string and a teaspoon. Five months and three days of slog, sweat and lots of tears all come to naught as the police order Al to take a ride on a convoy.

Amman to Cairo: 14 January 2002
After meeting up with two friends over Christmas, Al has rediscovered laughter. He’s found the strength he needs to get all the way to Cape Town.

Syria to Amman, Jordan: 10 December 2001
The British Consulate warned against travelling in Syria. After Al’s experiences there, they must be trying to keep it a secret for themselves.

Lebanon: 24 November 2001
Forget what you think you know about Lebanon. It’s a tiny nation combining natural beauty with some of the juiciest history in the world and the best food in the Middle East.

Turkey: 24 November 2001
Al shares some of his moments cycling through Turkey and it’s no wonder he found it difficult to leave.

Turn Right for Africa!: 29 October 2001
World events have forced Al to change his route around the world. Hopelessly unprepared, the fear of the unknown combined with an aching excitement is keeping him awake at night.

Istanbul, Turkey: 20 October 2001
A passport, a cash card and the train to the airport is all you need to launch yourself into the delights of Istanbul.

Budapest, Hungary: 27 Sept. 2001
There are six things you dream of on a cycling holiday: flat, smooth tarmac, beautiful scenery, easy navigation, delicious food, a welcoming bed and an enticing final destination. The Danube River has it all.

On the Road: 18 Sept. 2001
Reality has kicked in and Al realises that there is no glamour at all and this was going to be very hard work, in every way imaginable.

Preparation Diary
Catch up on what Al’s been doing in preparation for this trip since the very beginnings of the idea came to him in a café in Mexico.

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