Some people like to ride bikes, for others its is a way of life. I think its safe to say that German long-distance cyclist Jonas Deichmann falls into the latter category. The cyclist is no stranger to taking on difficult expeditions on two wheels is currently more than halfway through an attempt to set a new speed record for riding from Norway to Cape Town and looks like he is on schedule to smash the previous mark.
Deichmann, along with fellow rider Philipp Hympendahl, set out from Nordkapp at the northern tip of Norway back on September 6. Their goal was to travel completely self-supported to Cape Town, South Africa, covering roughly 18,000 km (11,184 miles) in the process. Their target was to cover that distance in just 75 days, which would easily beat the previous record of 102 days set by Reza Pakravan and Steven Pawley in 2013. In order to do that, he needs to cover 240 km (149 miles) each and every day, no matter the weather, terrain, or his health.
Currently in Kenya, and on pace to reach Cape Town on schedule, Deichmann has faced some serious challenges along the way. For example, both he and Hympendahl contracted serious food poisoning in Egypt, which zapped their stamina and laid them low for a time. It was so bad in fact that Philipp was forced to abandon the ride, leaving Jonas alone to ride on. While in Cairo, he was also thrown in jail for the night, while the Russian weather tested his resolve, with cold conditions, rain, snow, and wind making things difficult. The highlight so far? Iran was a pleasant surprise, with fantastic landscapes and incredibly friendly people.
Africa hasn’t been quite so welcoming. Deichmann says that there is little to no room on the roads for bikes and that the trucks fly by much too fast and much too close. In this article, he says that riding the Pan America Highway was much more difficult, but the unpredictability of Africa has kept him on his toes. “In Africa anything can happen and the conditions are extremely challenging,” the German explains.
Over the past few years, Deichmann has gotten use to spending long hours on his bike. While in college, he rode around the world and in 2017 he became the first person to ride the complete length of the Eurasian continent, end-to-end. He followed that up last year by cycling the length of the Pan American Highway, solo and in record time. That expedition started in Alaska and ended in Argentina, covering the 23,000 km (14,291 miles) in 97 days. Thats a similar effort to what he’ll need to set a new record on his current journey too.
Deichmann says his daily schedule remains pretty much the same throughout the journey. Wake up early, have breakfast where he camped the night before, then hit the road. He’ll ride for two hours, then stop for a snack, before riding three more hours to take a break for lunch. After that, its a five hour push through the afternoon before finding a place to camp for the night. On average, he rides 10-11 hours per day, then repeats it all again the next day.
Despite being on pace to break the record, Jonas still has a long way to go before he’s done and a lot can happen while en route. You can follow along with his progress on his website.
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