How to break the trans-Europe cycling world record in 10 easy steps - Edinburgh Festival of Cycling

How to break the trans-Europe cycling world record in 10 easy steps

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How to break the trans-Europe cycling world record in 10 easy steps

Despite having done no sport at all until the age of 40, Ian Walker broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest bicycle ride across Europe after riding 6367 km non-stop in under 17 days. Here, the author of Endless Perfect Circles explains how he got sucked into ultra-distance sport and what years of extremely hard competition taught him about mental toughness, personal goals and yoghurt.

Ian Walker spent his entire life believing he had no ability or interest in sport. Then, in his forties, he won a 4300-kilometre bicycle race before going on to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest bicycle crossing of Europe.

This journey – made entirely alone and without any support crew – went from the northernmost point in the Arctic down to the very southernmost point in Spain. Averaging 377 kilometres each day and with up to 18 hours in the saddle at a time, the total distance of 6367 km was covered in well under 17 days, knocking more than two days off the previous record. It was a journey of ultimate self-reliance.

Endless Perfect Circles is the story of how all this happened, and what he learned along the way. It is not just a tale of sleep deprivation and eating terrible food in supermarket car parks, it is also a celebration of how tough sporting challenges offer ordinary people a path to self-improvement. Weaving my experiences together with psychological insights, he demonstrates the rewards we can all find from setting ourselves difficult personal goals and working out how we will rise to meet these.

Tickets: Adult £11, Concession £9 Or Double bill with What can psychology tell us about creating healthy, happy places? Adult £18, Concession £16 see below

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