How does one define bicycling around the world? Well, you wouldn’t get very far trying to bicycle around the equator since it is mostly water. However, you could try lugging your bicycle to the North or South Pole, once there you could finish the trip in minutes. Or, you could even join the astronauts as they pedal a stationary bicycle while their ship orbits the earth every 90 minutes. Maybe a more practical definition involves bicycling every continent or every country. As it turns out, these aren’t practical options. For instance, the definition between continent, continental plate and island are not clearly defined; while zigzagging between the invisible and often disputed political borders seems silly. I define bicycling around the world as cycling the circumference of the earth (40,077 KM [24,855.34 miles] as measured around the equator) without treading the same ground twice (otherwise I could have stayed in San Francisco and bicycled circles around the donut shops and pubs) and visiting as many cultures and phenomena as practical. As you can see from the map my route consists of a compromise between all the above considerations while avoiding prevailing headwinds, rainy seasons, war zones, health emergencies and cold weather. All the while, I constantly pushed forward, never counting the same kilometer twice.
Where did you go?
As an example of how to ride a bicycle around the world, the red line above is where I rode my bicycle (41,144 KM). Although I did cycle all of North America in a continuous line, I am not a “purist”. There are too many places that are just too ugly, unfriendly and dangerous for cycling. So, to complete my circumnavigation, I connected the dots and lines with either an airplane, train, bus, truck or ferry. See the complete list below.
What countries did you visit?
Note: Some countries listed are given the benefit of the doubt, such as Tibet.
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
- Northern Ireland
- Czech Republic
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- New Zealand
- South Africa
Countries I visited without a bicycle:
- San Marino
In the United States, some Native American lands are still honoured as sovereign nations. I visited quite a few, including:
- Potawatomi Nation
- Lakota Sioux Nation
- Navajo Nation
- And more…
Countries that I visited but didn’t leave the airport:
- Chile (I flew through the Chilaen Andes. It was awesome!)
- The United Arab Emirates
Countries that I saw from their neighbors:
- Saudi Arabia
- Cuba (great view from airplane)
- And more…