I have done it, I have cycled around the world on a singlespeed bike. From 3 September 2015 till 27 August 2016 I covered 34,097 kilometres trough 26 countries, all on the same gear. I had a lot of fun, I had good and bad days, I met wonderful people along the way.
With only a few plane tickets booked and no planned route I first rode through Western Europe over the Pyrenees to Barcelona. The next stop was Iceland to finally experience the Aurea Borealis, but as I soon found out it came with fierce winds and rain, all good to harden me up for the rest of the trip. Next I went to cross the US from New York to Santa Monica and on to San Francisco for the New Years fireworks. I had worked in both New York and San Francisco in my pre-bikepacking life, so it was great to be back finally.
Tracing back more memories I jumped on another plane to ride the Tour Aotearoa Route through New Zealand in January, cycling mostly off road in the country where I lived before settling in Scotland. The most remarkable part of the journey for me was crossing the Nullarbor plain in Australia on one gear. As I chose a mountain bike ratio of 32/18 for the whole trip to be able to cycle as many hills as I could find, riding flat roads wasn’t an easy feat to do. But do you want to know the most amazing thing about Australia? Whilst the whole country can provide you with magnificent routes and passages that can take you to some of the most beautiful places, they also have amazing choices when it comes to food and drink, which is definitely needed when you’re longing for a pit stop. Though I was spoilt for choice, I eventually settled on somewhere like this warrnambool cafe that I heard other travelers talking about, and at the time, I remember thinking that this was somewhere that I just had to go. And I’m glad I did – it definitely didn’t let me down. In fact, it was one of my highlights and I hope one day that I can return. After Australia, I touched down in Singapore to ride through the fierce heat and humidity of Southeast Asia in April, through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam to Hanoi. I lost one clothing size in the progress, drinking up to 12l of water to survive the heat. From there my brother joined me for three weeks cycling across Northern Iran, the highlight of my trip, sampling the outstanding hospitality of the Iranian people, and riding up to the highest pass of the journey at 3150m. Crossing Turkey the rest of the trip took me through the Balkans and back to my family in Germany, and from here the long way to Scotland.
If you would like to know more about the trip, I recommend watching the video above. If you would like to speak to me about the trip, please get in touch here.
Here are a few links to pieces about the trip:
Feature on Bikepacking.com
Feature on Limitless Pursuits
News Article on Road CC
Podcast Interview with Paul Graham
Podcast Interview with The Pursuit Zone
And finally. Why singlespeed? Why not? I have a huge passion for adventure cycling, it has given me the life I love with many superb friends across the globe. At the same time my appetite for simplicity and endurance has developed, and since I took a one speed bike to Germany I have continued to tour on that, cycled Land’s End to John o’Groats, climbed mountain passes in Scotland, finished the Highland Trail 550, Strathpuffer and Relentless 24, all on one very fine gear.