“We were caught up in the military coup in Turkey” - Hunstanton man and his cycling buddy set new world record with tandem bike ride
PUBLISHED: 14:42 01 April 2017
Two friends have completed the journey of a lifetime but it didn’t come without its ups and downs.
John Whybrow, 25, from Hunstanton and George Agate, 23, from Pulborough, West Sussex, completed an 18,000 mile journey around the world with a tandem bicycle.
Calling themselves The Tandem Men, the pair left Canterbury, Kent, on June 8 last year and cycled through 29 countries on six continents.
They finished their journey at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday, March 25, after 290 days, eight hours and 35 minutes on the road, setting a new Guinness world record. The pair met whilst studying at The University of Kent where they came up with the idea to cycle round the world.
Mr Whybrow said: “It’s just one of those mad ideas you come up with. The difference being, we actually went through with it.
“It was 18 months of planning to get the logistics, kit, visas and proposed route together for Guinness to approve, but it’s all been worth it. It’s an amazing experience, truly once in a lifetime stuff.”
But the journey was not a smooth ride. The men were hit by a bus in Austria, chased by packs of dogs in Romania, were caught up in the military coup in Turkey and cycled through over a fortnight of monsoon in India, causing five punctures in a single week.
They endured all four seasons of weather in Australia and experienced another disaster with the rear wheel in the closing weeks.
During their second time in Morocco, Mr Whybrow and Mr Agate had to rebuild the wheel themselves and limp their way to Spain where they could get it fixed properly.
Mr Agate said: “It’s been a lot of fun, but it certainly has had its tough times. Some people think it’s a holiday, but sitting on a piece of leather the size of your hand for eight to 10 hours a day isn’t like any holiday I’ve ever been on!”
British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes leant his name to the boys’ trip and agreed to be patron of the expedition. Before they set off for their journey, Mr Fiennes said: “I wish the chaps all the best on their tandem journey, and here’s to the world record.”
The pair have been raising money for charities Porchlight, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Water Aid, setting themselves a target of £100,000.