The first ever QuickEnergy Transcontinental Race launched this morning from the middle of London’s Westminster Bridge.
Closed to traffic the really rather splendid location hosted 30 riders ranging from adventure enthusiasts to experienced round-the-world and endurance cyclists. And Adventurists veteran Nick Dodd. You can see him here about to set off, he's the only rider concentrating on looking good on camera instead of the race ahead. Bravo sir.
Framed by the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye the riders began their 2000 mile unsupported race with Big Ben’s 8am chimes providing a fitting start gun.
The London to Istanbul bike race is supported by Turkey Culture & Tourism and the fastest riders are expected to arrive at the Istanbul finish line in less than two weeks. There is no set route, no back up and a compulsory mountain checkpoint at the top of the famous Stelvio Pass will ensure some serious altitude gain for all riders. The emphasis is on fast and light so those who leave their spare pants at home will have a clear advantage.
Juliana Buhring from Italy, the World Record Holder for fastest female circumnavigation of the planet and the only female rider in the race said she was “very nervous but looking forward to get out on the open road.”
We're staging the race in partnership with round the world cyclist, Rickshaw Run pioneer and Mongol Rally veteran Mike Hall, who said:
“We want people to be able to grab a bike and just go, no support vehicles, no teams of helpers and no costly logistics or exorbitant entry fees. Just a bike, a map and a vague sense of direction will do, plus living like a hobo is much faster than staying in hotels”
So there it is, the Transcontinental - fighting to make your world more painful.