While David Kovari (Hungary) was completing his master's degree in Budapest, he had a sudden realisation: all of his time was spent studying or working and not on the things that brought him joy.
Rather than sit at a desk all day, he wanted to enjoy his personal life and push himself to his limits. So, he decided to recapture his spirit of adventure and attempt a Guinness World Records title!
David put his research skills to test and found a record for the most countries visited in 24 hours by bicycle (male), which was the perfect mix of sporting challenge and logistical strategy.
After weeks of meticulous preparation, including going so far as to check the quality of roads on Google Street View, he worked out what he believed was the optimal route for surpassing the existing record of six. Now all he had to do was actually cycle the distance!
The record was first set at four in 2013 by Glen Burmeister (UK), who chose Eastern Europe for his attempt, starting in the Czech Republic, before reaching Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. A few years later, compatriot Karsten Koehler surpassed his total by attempting the record in Western and Central Europe, reaching Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, all within a 24-hour period.
Michael Moll (Germany) calculated it was best to start his attempt in Italy, before passing through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and France to achieve the record in 2016. David, however, believed it would be best to start in Poland before cycling south through the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia – seven countries and a total of well over 500 km (310 miles).
"I used 3 different platforms for planning," he explained. "The roads were split into three categories based on their quality: perfect, acceptable, no-go. The plan was to stay on perfect roads as much as possible, avoid main roads and heavy traffic, and keep elevation to a minimum."
For the journey, David packed a small bag of essentials (tools, camera, GPS, energy drinks, salad and sushi – prepared for him by his mother) before setting of on his mission to become Officially Amazing. His first long rest break was not until 10 hours into the attempt, when he reached Bratislava, Slovakia, which is near the Austrian and Hungarian borders.
David explained that his native Hungary was his favourite country to visit: "As the attempt started at 5 p.m., I was riding in the dark and cold for the most part. Hungary was the first country I entered after sunrise and it was an amazing experience to feel warmth both in my heart and outside on my body. As soon as I crossed the border, it felt like I arrived home."
He reached Mursko Središće, which is on Croatia's northern border with Slovenia, with just over two hours spare.
"Reaching the next country would have been almost impossible," he noted. The nearest country was Bosnia and Herzegovina, roughly 228 km (141 miles) away.
David was coy when asked how he could have added an extra country to his total, but did offer some friendly advice: "If someone wishes to break this record and visit eight countries, they will need to minimise their time stopped, especially for finding witnesses."
As well as a personal challenge, David used the record attempt to support IT education for children. He would like to increase his record one day; but before then he plans to celebrate his record-breaking achievement on Guinness World Records Day, which also happens to fall on his birthday!
What will your adventure be?
Feeling inspired to attempt a Guinness World Records title yourself after reading David's story? Discover your Spirit of Adventure by finding out more about GWR Day, including how you can get involved on the day itself (Thursday 14 November). We realise everyone’s adventure is different, so whether it's taking on a new challenge, fulfiling a desire for adrenaline or perfecting your existing skills – there's a record waiting for you.