Earlier this week, Lael Wilcox shared that she’ll soon be going after the women’s around the world cycling record (the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle). She plans to ride a whopping 18,000 miles in just 110 days. Learn more here…

Photos by Rugile Kaladyte and Rapha/thereabouts

The around the world cycling record isn’t something we often get to talk about here, likely because tackling a ride of that magnitude is such a monstrous feat that few people think to attempt it. Contributor Jenny Graham holds the current women’s around-the-world cycling record. In 2018, she rode some 18,500 miles across four continents in around 124 days, 10 hours, and 50 minutes. The previous record of 144 days was nearly three weeks longer, which was set by Paola Gianotti in 2014.

  • 2022 Trans Balkan Race
  • 2019 Tour Divide Race Prep With Lael Wilcox
lael around the world

On Instagram this week, ultra-cyclist Lael Wilcox shared that she’ll be taking a run at the women’s around the world cycling record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle. She will be riding the 18,000 miles self-supported, just like Jenny did, and is starting in Vilnius, Lithuania, on May 26th, 2024. Lael is aiming to finish in just 110 days. We reached out to Lael to learn more about the ride and here’s what she had to say.

“Just before racing the Trans Am in 2016, I got a new passport with the thought that the Trans Am would be the start of my Around the World attempt. I was a bit of a dreamer– short on cash and without a route, plan or visas. After the Trans Am, I was totally fried. The ride has been on the backburner since. This spring, I rode nearly 4,000 miles from home in Tucson to the start of the Tour Divide in Banff over 5 weeks. It brought me back to how much I simply love riding my bike every single day and reignited my excitement for chasing the Around the World Record. It’s an opportunity for a long adventure, personal challenge and riding through some new places like Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Turkey and Georgia. Places I’ve always dreamed of. I’m working with Bea & Luca, organizers of the Trans Balkan Race, on designing a route on Komoot. At this point, in regards to the record, there’s no distinction between supported and self-supported rides. I’m choosing to ride self-supported because that’s how I like to travel– with a sleep kit and winging it along the way. I like open-ended adventures and I like competition and riding around the world as fast as I can feels like a great combination of both. Rue will be documenting my ride and I’d love to encourage people to come out and share a few miles with me along the way. I’m hoping to start in Vilnius, Lithuania late next May. Rue was born there and my great grandparents were Lithuanian too. It’s been one of the most welcoming cycling communities I’ve visited in the past few years. I’m already excited for it!”

  • lael around the world
  • lael around the world
Lael Wilcox Alaska Pipeline FKT

Guinness World Records dictates its rules for the fastest circumnavigation of the world on a bicycle record are that “a rider must travel the same distance as the circumference of the Earth — 24,900 miles — in one direction, starting and finishing in the same place. Travel by sea and air is allowed, but at least 18,000 miles of the route must be cycled.”

We’ll continue to share more from Lael as we learn more. Stay tuned!

Further Reading

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