Most countries visited in 24 hours by bicycle (male)
Benjamin de Bruijn
8 total number
Germany (Zittau)
Age Restriction: Applications for this record title will only be accepted if the applicant is 16 years of age or over.

The most countries visited in 24 hours by bicycle (male) is 8, and was achieved by Benjamin de Bruijn (Netherlands) in Zittau, Germany, between 16-17 July 2022.

Becoming a GWR title holder has been a dream for Benjamin for many years. It was at a young age that he discovered his talent for long rides. When he was 15, he rode the Elfstedentocht by bike (240 km) and then five years later, he rode 8,000 km in 4 weeks and in 2011, he rode Paris-Brest-Paris (1.250 km) in 61 hours and 8 minutes.

He enjoys challenging himself on the bike and was on the search for records within the database that he could potentially achieve as a cyclist. After hours of research on Google Maps, he managed to find a route through 8 countries within a distance that he was capable of doing within 24 hours. It was at this point that his dream started to become real - but he knew there was still work to be done.

Benjamin trained a lot. His girlfriend Ellen van Dijk is a professional cyclist and has previously achieved the GWR title for "Cycling – women's 1 hour unpaced standing start" in May 2022. He joined her at training camps in Spain and Switzerland. From December 2021, it came both of their dreams to achieve a world record in 2022.

Another important part of preparation was the route. Once he knew he wanted to go from Poland to Croatia, he had to check every sing road on Google Street View. He wanted to ensure the roads were good and safe to ride on. He also checked to make sure there weren't too many traffic lights to slow him down and the whole route was prepared on the Komoot route planner. In total, it took around 8 months to prepare for the journey.

During the attempt, Benjamin and his team recall a moment where they were looking for eye witnesses in Szombathely, Hungary during the middle of the night. They spotted a party going on in the distance and realised that a car from that party was driving towards them. The team quickly stopped the car and asked if they could sign their witness form. The people in the car were slightly drunk and flabbergasted to see a man from The Netherlands in the middle of the night who had just ridden for 18 hours on his bike. Finding eye witnesses was sometimes challenging but nice to do as they got into conversations with all kinds of people - most of them couldn't believe what he was doing!

When describing his biggest challenge, he says "To stay riding for as long as possible during the journey. It is really tempting to take break, but you’ll loose time so quickly. I knew it was possible, but only when I minimized the time off the bike.

Another challenge was the heat and the sun. My physical performance in the heat is not great and I had to be really cautious for sun burn. Every few hours I needed new sun block to protect me for the sun and I needed to drink a lot of water."

"After about 100 km there were road works on a bridge in Nymburk (Czech Republic). There wasn't an easy way around it, I had to do 10 km extra. I got really stressed in my head. I knew the schedule was already pretty tight, but this made it even tighter. I tried to stay calm and focused on riding on. The strategy was to be on the bike for as long as possible before taking a break. In the end I took only 5 breaks before arriving in Croatia."

"During the night I had stomach problems and nausea. I couldn't eat much, which is a big problem during an ultra cycling event. I didn't eat for an hour, maybe two hours, and hoped that it would go away. Luckily I could eat again after that and it didn't cause big problems for my energy management."

Benjamin burned about 13,000 calories during the 22 hours and 3 minutes on the bike. It is almost impossible to eat enough to make up for it but he tried to stay focused on eating because it would become a problem if he got hungry too early during the journey. He ate homemade pancakes from his mum, white bread with jam, apple pie and some power bars. He didn't eat anything else due to having a sensitive stomach. Other local food might have cause problems so he made sure to drink a lot of water with minerals in it to keep hydrated.

His favourite country was Austria. When he arrived, it became dark outside. "The feeling of being 15-16 hours on the bike and still going on was magical. The roads were just perfect, which was really important because I couldn't see much in the dark. I would definitely go back there to enjoy the country more, because I didn’t see much."

"I really like to challenge myself, so there will be definitely a new goal. Maybe in combining cycling with running, which I also like to do. But I don't have any plans yet. Maybe I will try to visit 9 countries within 24 hours someday."

"Becoming a Guinness World Record holder has been my dream since 2009. Having a record to my name after all these years, would be a dream come true to me. It’s a memory for life. And I want to inspire other people to challenges themselves. It makes life so intense and special."