Doctors pedal more than 28,000 km to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem

By Daniel Kidane
Fastest tandem circumnavigation

On 7 August 2018 Lloyd Edward Collier and Louis Paul Snellgrove set off on the trip of a lifetime from Adelaide, Australia.

Nine months later, on 16 May 2019, they returned to complete their successful attempt of the fastest circumnavigation by tandem bicycle (male)

In the intervening 281 days 22 hours they cycled over 18,000 miles across Asia, Russia, Europe, North America and Oceania to break the previous record by nine days.

Their journey was announced on Guinness World Records Day which this year has encouraged people to push themselves with the theme "Spirit of Adventure".

Learn about more record-breaking exploits in the Spirit of Adventure chapter in Guinness World Records 2020

The British friends, who work as doctors in Australia, embarked on their epic journey to fulfil a boyhood ambition for adventure and to also raise money for Spinal Research and the Brain Foundation.

"Life is far too short. Working as an Emergency doctor I’ve witnessed first-hand accidents and illnesses cutting short the lives of many people. Growing up I was inspired by the olden day adventurers who explored the unknown corners of the earth not knowing if they would every return, risking all in the pursuit of knowledge," said Louis.

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The pair's unbounding optimism and do-it-yourself approach, which Lloyd attributes to his late uncle Alun, even extended to watching how to fix your bike videos on YouTube. The idea being that they had the next nine months on the road to learn everything they needed to know.

Lloyd explained: "The entire journey was littered with mechanical failures and makeshift repairs. Cycling through India in particular, we became incredibly inventive in fixing mechanical components in non-conventional ways."

Their journey was made unsupported and the two antipodal points they passed through were Madrid, Spain, and Wellington, New Zealand. 

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Being on such a journey, Lloyd and Louis came across numerous challenges, with one of the biggest being the weather - especially the coldness encountered in Russia.

"Dealing with the elements day after day," recalled Louis. "From 100 km/h head winds in Mongolia, blistering heat in the Texan desert, suffocating humidity and monsoon rains in India to the freezing cold snow-covered mountains of Siberia. 

"I found the cold the most challenging. Originally from the north of England, I have lived in sunny North Queensland for the past seven years. My tolerance to the cold was lost a few years ago!"

As well as the challenges, cycling westerly around the world does have its perks. Cycling into the setting sun most evenings allowed the pair to witness many magnificent sunsets framed by picturesque landscapes, across various countries and continents. 

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"Falling asleep under the stars, breathing the fresh air and not knowing what tomorrow would bring was such a liberating experience. Living life with the basics needed to survive and appreciating the simplicity this brought," Louis Collier.

The pair also attribute the most enjoyable parts of their demanding journey to the people they met along the way and experiencing the generosity of many individuals around the world, even when a common language couldn’t be spoken. 

"We met people from all walks of life. Different socioeconomic backgrounds, different religious and cultural backgrounds and many different languages yet we were always treated with the utmost respect," said Lloyd.

Fastest tandem circumnavigation locals

"We met so many different characters from farmers and labourers working every hour to put food on the table to Ambassadors, polar explorers and celebrity chefs. All of whom did everything to try and help us in any way they could. I loved learning about different cultures and trying to live the way the people of that country lived, eating their foods, sleeping in their communities and spending time with them."

When asked to lend some advice for future adventurers considering attempting such a record, Louis responded with resounding positivity for boldly going for your dreams.

"Don’t plan too much. On such a large trip there are so many different factors that can affect you. To succeed you have to be more fluid than tangible, be prepared for failure but not let failure succeed you. Have the courage to make ideas into reality. Let the doubters doubt from the comfort of their home while you’re out living and putting your ambitions into reality."

It's this strong spirit of adventure and determination that has earned the pair a special place in this year's worldwide Guinness World Records Day celebrations.

Fastest tandem circumnavigation Lloyd Louis

Read about other achievements celebrated on Guinness World Records Day: