PARIS, FRANCE (AFP) – A British cyclist set a new world record Monday by travelling around the globe in 79 days – beating the fictional exploits of Phileas Fogg by a day.
Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont rode into Paris 78 days, 14 hours and 14 minutes after he set off from the French capital, smashing the previous record of 123 days for a round-the-world bike trip.
Arriving in evening rush hour traffic under light drizzle, the 34-year-old rode the last cobbled mile to the Arc de Triomphe with a 20-strong entourage on wheels, including a man in a top hat on a penny-farthing bicycle.
Some 50 supporters were at the monument to greet him, including his tearful wife Nicci and his daughters Harriet, four, and Willa, one.
“I doubt I’ll ever do anything like it again,” said Beaumont, describing the journey as “definitely the longest two-and-a-half months of my life”.
Bouncing his grinning one-year-old in his arms, Beaumont said the world record was “an absolute dream come true”.
A Guinness World Records judge was on hand to present him with his two framed records – he also beat the previous time for the farthest distance cycled in a month – while he was still in the saddle.
Beaumont had held the round-the-world record until 2009 when it was beaten by a New Zealander, leaving Beaumont to conclude he simply had to have the title back.
“I have taken myself beyond anything I have ever done physically and mentally,” he said.