How do you ride a bicycle around the world?

Scott's Bike Ride Around the World Map

How does one define bicycling around the world? As you can by the map of Scott’s world bicycle tour, some decisions as to what defines the world need to be made.

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?

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.

  1. USA
  2. Canada
  3. Mexico
  4. Guatemala
  5. El Salvador
  6. Honduras
  7. Nicaragua
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Ecuador
  10. Peru
  11. Bolivia
  12. Uruguay
  13. Argentina
  14. England
  15. Wales
  16. Ireland
  17. Northern Ireland
  18. Scotland
  19. Belgium
  20. Holland
  21. Germany
  22. Czech Republic
  23. Austria
  24. Slovenia
  25. Italy
  26. Croatia
  27. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  28. Greece
  29. Turkey
  30. Egypt
  31. Israel
  32. Palestine
  33. India
  34. Nepal
  35. Tibet
  36. China
  37. Thailand
  38. Myanmar
  39. Malaysia
  40. Laos
  41. Vietnam
  42. Australia
  43. New Zealand
  44. Kenya
  45. Tanzania
  46. Zanzibar
  47. Malawi
  48. Zambia
  49. Zimbabwe
  50. Botswana
  51. Lesotho
  52. South Africa

Countries I visited without riding my bicycle:

  1. France
  2. Monaco
  3. Spain
  4. San Marino
  5. Switzerland
  6. Indonesia

In the United States, some Native American lands are still honoured as sovereign nations. I visited quite a few, including:

  1. Potawatomi Nation
  2. Lakota Sioux Nation
  3. Navajo Nation
  4. And more. I can’t even remember them all…

Countries that I visited but didn’t leave the airport:

  1. Chile (I flew through the Chilean Andes. It was awesome!)
  2. The United Arab Emirates
  3. Singapore

Countries that I saw from their neighbors:

  1. Paraguay
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Mozambique

New countries that I visited since the world trip: My travel bug has worn off, but I have revisited some of the ones listed above, most notably Argentina as the honorary Cultural Ambassador of United States, plus these new ones.

  1. Indonesia
  2. Taiwan (airport only, but still unique)
  3. Cuba (not a true visit but an incredibly long detailed view from the airplane)
  4. The Dominican Republic.
  5. And more…
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