Adventurer and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys made his name on a four-year bike ride around the world and across 60 countries. He has been National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year for his pioneering work on microadventures, and he talked to We Love Cycling about how this non-cyclist took on one of the biggest cycling challenges of all…
You have been on lots of adventures, what made you want to cycle around the world?
I wanted to do something massive, difficult and exciting, but also simple and cheap and achievable to a non-expert.
How did you get into cycling in the first place?
I am not really a cyclist, but I wanted a way to travel the world, to do something big, self contained and difficult, but also something cheap that I could afford!
Why do you enjoy cycling?
I like the speed, I like the simplicity, and I love the wildness of mountain biking. I also love the efficiency of road biking.
Four years is a long time to be cycling! What was your biggest challenge?
Loneliness, boredom, and doubt over whether I could ever achieve the goal as well as trying to make £7000 last for four years!
After all that do you still love cycling?
I didn’t for a while, but now I enjoy being on my road bike again. I enjoy mountain biking and I enjoy the chaos of dodging taxis and buses on the London streets.
Would you do it again and would you recommend the experience?
I wouldn’t do it again. Four years was a big chunk of my life but I cannot think of a better adventure for a person than to set off on a bike with basic camping gear and see what adventures happen.
What was your strangest experience in that time?
How about waking up with a naked Russian weatherman in my bed in Siberia?
What has been the most rewarding moment in all your adventures?
The ridiculous generosity and kindness of people who are financially poor but rich in spirit.
More microadventures to try to encourage more people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.