Joining Mark Beaumont on his latest adventure

Mark Beaumont sets off from Edinburgh Airport for his round the world cycle ride in 80 days. Picture: Toby Williams
Mark Beaumont sets off from Edinburgh Airport for his round the world cycle ride in 80 days. Picture: Toby Williams

I will admit, I’m not the fittest person – in fact, I get most of my exercise from climbing the many, many stairs to the office during the week.

Cycling doesn’t factor on my bucket list of things that I want to do either and my weekends are usually spent watching Netflix and drinking endless cups of tea.

However, when Mark Beaumont invites you along on his latest adventure you, of course, say yes; even if it is just to save face.

So on a sunny but cold Saturday, I set off to meet Mark as he made his way around the Scottish coastline as part of a UK wide trip – a warm up to his world cycle challenge which kicks off this July.

Cycling with an expert is a nerve wracking experience. Will you be able to keep pace (of course not!). Will you fall off or crash? Why on earth did I agree to do this?

But I like to think I did pretty well. Apart from a few wobbles to start with, I didn’t fall, crash or end up in a bruised heap, with the wheels still spinning as horrified onlookers stared.

I was kitted out in my new cycling uniform of trainers, two pairs of leggings, a t-shirt, jumper and fleece – well, it was cold!

My cycling adventure lasted about half an hour by which time Mark had already been on the road for two weeks, having set off at the beginning of the month.

The 15-day training ride saw Mark pedal at 80 days pace, cycling for 16 hours and 240 miles per day, around the 11,000 mile coastline of Great Britain.

“It’s been good going in the main,” Mark said.

“I set off from London and I’ve kept good pace – for the most part! But this was just a warm up for the main event in the summer when I’m attempting to cycle around the world in 80 days.”

Mark continued: “I’m not trying to break any world records here, I’m just training for that event.”

I didn’t warm up for my bike ride but Mark believes it’s vitally important.

“Doing a warm up cycle ride on this scale allows you to notice any small niggles, any teething problems that there might be,” he said.

“It’s better to notice them now, rather than later.”

Mark’s Scottish leg of his warm up tour saw him cycle around our scenic coastline, starting in the west, travelling up around the north coast 500, down the east coast and then across the Forth Bridge.

“The coast is simply stunning, isn’t it?” he said. “It has given me the perfect backdrop to my adventure in this part of the country.

“It definitely makes the ride a bit better when you have such fantastic views along the way.”

Mark was brave enough to include the Forth Bridge as part of his route. Brave? Because no amount of money would get me going across it other than in the safe confines of a car or bus!

“I didn’t mind going across the bridge,” Mark laughed. “I quite enjoyed it as it offered great views.”

Setting off on my trusty powder blue bike – yes, it does have ribbons on the handlebars – it was plain to see why Mark decided to choose a route which hugged the coastline.

On a clear day, the views out to sea are without a doubt, a sight to see.

Even on a dull, drizzly day – normally expected here in Scotland – the views are far from diminished.

“That’s part of the reason I decided to go around the coast,” Mark agreed. “I knew it would be a beautiful journey.

“It was also great to see so many people out in support of me along the way.

“People were out waving as I went passed, shouting words of encouragement and even got on their own bikes to join me for a short time.”

“For me, this is what all this is about,” Mark continued. “I would love for this journey to give people across the country the confidence to take on an adventure or challenge of their own.

“I want it to make people rethink what they are capable of, for young people in particular to stop and to think ‘what’s my 80 days?’, what do I want to achieve with my own life?

“As I’ve said before, I want to redefine the limits of human endurance by proving what seems impossible really is possible.”

My rather small part in Mark’s journey around Scotland showed me that it is possible to get up off the sofa and do something more worthwhile with my day off.

But while Mark finishes the last leg of his UK warm up tour, and continues training for his worldwide trip in a few months time, I will be soaking my poor aching muscles for a few days yet.

It certainly was an adventure though!