London2London Update: Sarah Begins Cycling Stage Across North America

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It has been quite some time since we last checked in on Sarah Outen and her London2London Via the World Expedition. You may recall, Sarah set out from London, England back  April of 2011 on her attempt to circumnavigate the planet completely under her own power. She started by rowing down the River Thames, then crossing the English Channel by kayak, before riding her bike across Europe and Asia. Upon reaching Japan, she then attempted to row across the Pacific Ocean in the summer of 2012, only to be caught in a tropical storm that damaged her boat, and left her stranded on the water. She returned to the Pacific last summer, finishing the row by reaching Alaska’s Aleutian Islands just as the fall weather was about to make things very difficult for her.

In May of this year, Sarah resumed her journey exactly where she left off, and she has been making steady progress ever since. She, along with companion Justine Curgenven, first completed a massive kayaking stage along the Aleutian Islands that covered more than 1355 miles (2180 km) over 101 days. That consumed almost the entire summer for Sarah, who made landfall in Homer, Alaska back on August 15.

Of course, that impressive kayaking journey was just to get her back on dry land so she could start riding her bike again. Sarah has now returned to her two-wheeled mode of transportation, and launched her ride across Alaska last Saturday. She has already ridden all the way to Anchorage, and of course that is just the start of her big ride. She’ll now travel by bike across the U.S. and Canada, making her way towards New York City. Once there, she’ll return to the water once again and begin a row across the North Atlantic, which will eventually take her home. She now expects to wrap up the London2London journey in September of 2015. That’s a bit off her original schedule, but it will still be a great achievement on her part.

Sarah is an inspiration for would-be adventurers for a number of reasons. First, her determination and will to complete this journey, no matter what hurdles get put in her way, is admirable. She has faced adversity numerous times, and experienced things that would put an end to many expeditions, and yet she picks herself up, dusts herself off, and just keeps moving ahead. But on top of that, you have to love her adventurous spirit. After rowing across the Indian Ocean back in 2009, she wanted to find other adventures to keep her occupied. She came up with this idea of circumnavigating the globe under her own power, and she set off to do it. It is easy to plan for an adventure, but it is hard to actually go out and execute it. She is doing just that.

The ride across North America should be a relatively easy one for Sarah. The roads are good, towns are plentiful, and she’ll probably get good support from the locals wherever she goes. There are still a lot of miles to cover however, and I’m sure there will be times when it’ll be a challenge. But ahead lies the Atlantic Ocean, and another difficult water crossing. I’m sure she isn’t anxious to get back on the water again anytime soon.

Kraig Becker