We cycled round the world on a tandem bike

Tandem cycle round the world

by take-a-break |
Updated on

Laura was determined to conquer the world on her tandem. Would she and hubby Stevie make it safely round the globe and back?

round the world on a tandem bike

My husband Stevie made his way across the garden, laden down with cups of punch.

‘Here you go,’ he said, handing them round to our friends.

‘Cheers!’ we all cried, raising our glasses.

Stevie and I had recently cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It had been an incredible adventure, but now we were enjoying kicking back with our friends.

‘So, what’s next for you two?’ asked one of our mates.

Stevie and I glanced at each other.

A couple of weeks previously, I’d spotted an article online about two women who’d travelled the globe on a tandem bicycle. They’d completed it in 263 days.

Experienced long-distance cyclists, I was certain Stevie and I could set a faster record.

Buoyed by the strong punch, I grinned.

‘We’re going to cycle round the world on our tandem,’ I announced.

Our friends burst out laughing — it was typical of us!

Back home, Stevie and I began to make plans.

‘I reckon we could do it in 180 days,’ Stevie said. ‘If we clock up 100 miles per day.’

Stevie and I set up a website, so our friends and family could follow our journey. We also included a link to our JustGiving page, where we were fundraising for three separate charities.

We decided our journey would start and finish at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Stevie’s brother lived nearby, so we knew we’d have a cheer squad.

‘Good luck,’ he said, as we mounted our bike. ‘You’ll smash it.’

'It makes you feel so small'

Just like that, we were off.

Over the coming weeks, we clocked up thousands of miles. But the journey wasn’t without its hiccups.

When Azerbaijan closed its borders due to the pandemic, we had to reroute, which included forking out on new flights to India.

To cut costs, we camped overnight whenever we could, but at the end of a long day cycling all we really craved was a comfy bed.

The cycling community rallied round us. People from all over the world had been following our journey and were happy to help.

We were cycling through Australia when I spotted several people on the side of the road, waving to us.

‘We thought you’d appreciate a cuppa and a slice of cake,’ one woman said, holding up a tray.

‘Thank you so much,’ I gasped, taken aback by her kindness.

Others offered us accommodation and a hot meal.

And then there were those that sent us messages of support and donated to our charities.

Their acts of generosity kept our spirits up.

We never needed their words of encouragement more than when we were knocked off our tandem by a motorcyclist in Malaysia.

couple ride a tandem bike around the world

One minute, Stevie and I were cycling along the road and the next, we were hurtling to the ground.

We were incredibly lucky, walking away with no more than bruised ribs and a few scuffs.

‘Do you think we should continue?’ I asked Stevie. ‘It’s so dangerous.’

‘Think of how far we’ve come,’ he said. ‘Do you really want to fly home now?’

He was right. There was no way we weren’t going to finish our epic quest.

So when we suffered food poisoning in India, and a stomach bug in Thailand, we hunkered down in a hotel for a couple of days to rest — and then got on with it again.

Although we had little time for sightseeing, we did pause every so often to appreciate our surroundings.

Standing at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains in Canada was an extraordinary moment.

‘It makes you feel so small,’ I said, staring up at the majestic peaks.

But 24 hours from the end, one of the hubs fell off and we had to send the bike to be repaired.

We were soon back in the saddle though.

Couple ride a tandem bike round the world

As we entered Berlin, snow started falling.

‘It’s blowing in my face!’ Stevie called out. ‘I can’t see anything.’

Somehow we made our way through the flurry back to the Brandenburg Gate.

‘Stevie, I can see it!’ I cried.

Pushing our legs as hard as we could, we finally reached the finish line.

Our family and friends were there to greet us.

Our epic adventure was over.

‘We actually did it!’ I said.

We were massively proud of what we’d achieved. And even prouder that we’d raised over £11,000 for our charities.

‘We did what we said we would,’ Stevie marvelled. ‘But never again.’

Now we’re waiting to hear if we’ve officially set a new world record.

I’ll never forget our wheely incredible journey. I couldn’t have done it without my number one teammate by my side.

Laura Massey-Pugh, 36, Derby

*To read more about Laura’s epic journey, visit www.stelatandem.com

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