Described by BBC Radio 2 as Britain’s favourite lunatic, endurance athlete and Solar Technology Ambassador Sean Conway is no stranger to breaking records. His latest feat was setting a new world first for the fastest, unsupported crossing of Europe by bicycle.
Sean broke the world record by nine hours after cycling 3,980 miles (6,405 kilometres) in 24 days, 18 hours and 39 minutes. He cycled across Europe starting from Cabo da Roca on the west coast of Portugal and finished in Ufa in Russia. Sean arrived in Ufa at 15.40 local time.
Sean took the title from Jonas Deichmann who cycled 6,450km 25 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes in July last year. At the time, this was five days faster than the Guinness World Record holder, James McLaren who cycled from Ufa to Cabo da Roca in 29 days, 18 hours and 25 minutes.
This is Sean’s second attempt at the world record. In August 2017 Sean was making exceptional progress covering 800 miles in four days when he sustained an injury forcing him to withdraw. This time around, passing through the point in the Pyrenees where he withdrew last year was his highest moment emotionally.
In 24 days, Sean cycled across nine countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Russia). Travelling unsupported at all times, Sean cycled for 16 hours a day, slept rough on 19 occasions and showered just four times. Madness may have set in when in Portugal, he picked up a hitchhiker he named Pedro. The animal skull travelled with him all the way to the finish line. Arguably an odd decision when he travelled without a tent and cut off the end of his toothbrush just to save weight.
A key piece of his equipment was Solar Technology International's Freeloader SiXER solar battery charger to power his phone and navigation equipment.
Sean said, “After six years, three failed attempts and 60,000 miles, I have finally achieved a cycling world record!”
Sean Conway: Born in Gloucester and now living in Cumbria, Sean is not new to challenges like this. In 2015, he became the first and only man in history to cycle, swim and run the length of Britain. In 2016 he completed a 4,000-mile ultra-triathlon, which circumnavigated the entire coast of Britain.