A 65-year-old Machynlleth-based ‘professional adventurer’ who has visited 168 countries, is about to leave the UK to ride around the whole world on an e-bike.
The journey will be Nick Sanders’ 11th trip around the world on two wheels. He will be setting off from his home in Machynlleth tomorrow, Thursday, 7 September, when he will ride an e-bike around the world.
Nick’s 19,000 mile journey officially begins when he crosses the channel and sets off for New York from Rotterdam. On top of the world spanning undertaking he’s already taking on, Nick will be riding his bike across the UK on his way to Rotterdam, and will be riding back to Machynlleth when he returns to the country.
Nick has been an ‘adventurer’ his whole life. His dream from a young age was to be a professional racing cyclist. At 18, he left the UK in hopes of making that dream a reality. Although he accepts he didn’t have what it takes to compete professionally, Nick was set on making something out of his passion for cycling.
Aged 23 and one year after giving up on competitive cycling, Nick set off on what would become the first of many trips around the world. It was this journey that showed him what he wanted to do with his life.
He said: “I set off to bicycle around the world because it sounded like a good thing to do. For me it was a way to travel away from a difficult upbringing in a council house and I needed to get away.
“I don’t think many people knew I’d left or if I’d come back but I knew I’d started what I wanted to be – an adventurer.”
Sixteen years later, aged 39, he achieved a world-record for travelling around the world on a motorbike, completing the 19,930 mile journey in a record time of 31 days and 20 hours.
Nick also became the first person in the world to ride from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and back in under 49 days and 17 hours.
Nick has been away every year for 40 years of his life. In those years, he has learned to overcome the feeling of homesickness which has left him physically sick in the past.
He said: “I’m the greatest adventurer you’ve never heard of. That feeling of leaving home and leaving everything behind is something I’ve known for the last 40 years.”
Nick received an MBE in 2019 for services to endurance cycling and motorcycling.
This will be Nick’s first time making the journey on an e-bike. If successful, will become the first person in the world to have ridden around the globe on an e-bike.
“I’ve been around the world twice on a bike and I thought: ‘What other transport can I use?”
Nick has been training on a non-electric bike, which he has cycled 100 miles on a day, the exact number of miles he needs to cover every day on his journey.
There will be multiple situations where he won’t be able to rely on electric assistance from his bike too.
“There are a number of deserts I’ll be crossing. Although I’ll be on an e-bike, there will be a number of days where I won’t be able to charge the bike up. I’ll essentially be riding an ordinary bike at these points.
“One of the biggest deserts I’ll cross is in Saudi Arabia, it’s called the empty quarter and it’s probably the most inhospitable desert in the world. There’s a road that’s recently been built across it so I’ll be one of the first, if not the first person to cycle it.”
However, the challenge of cycling around the world wasn’t Nick’s concern. When asked what challenges he will face, he said it will be getting into some countries, and surviving in them.
“Some countries are opening up and some are closing down, so getting into some countries could be a challenge. The world is having a very difficult time politically. One of the countries I’ll be travelling through, Ecuador, is becoming a place at the centre of drug cartels. I’ve got to be careful about where I’m travelling because on a bicycle you’re a sitting duck.”
Another challenge for him along the way will be dealing with traffic, which Nick expects to have trebled since his last journey
“Traffic is absolutely the most dangerous part of the journey. I’d say there’s a 10 per cent chance I have a road traffic accident where I don’t come back alive. Ultimately, I am the slowest thing on the road.”
The journey will see Nick earn a variety of achievements, but he wants to add another to that list. The adventurer plans to turn the experience into a feature film, examining “where the world is at the moment”.
He said: “I want the film to examine where the world is at the moment, I’m sure I’ll meet all sorts of people and different things. It’ll give me the temperature of different places around the world.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how electric biking will be received by people in different countries. The e-bike is a good thing, I do think they’re the way forward.
“I’m sure fossil fuels still generate electricity which powers my battery, but if people use electric bikes instead of cars where they can, then on a day-to-day basis there is a difference. If one person rides a bike, that’s one less car being run, if 100 people ride a bike, that’s 100 less cars.”
Nick’s film is expected to be released next year, in the meantime, you can follow his adventure at nicksandersofficial on Instagram or on his YouTube channel.