Sam and Jayne ( @pedallingtheworld) are a cycling couple from London who are preparing to set off on a round the world adventure.
They’ll start pedalling in London in June and will spend a year in the saddle travelling over Europe and Asia to Hong Kong, across the south of Australia between Perth and Sydney, up New Zealand from Invercargill to Auckland, and then down through the Americas from Vancouver.
The best thing about it? They'll be Beelining the whole way.
We caught up with them at Chiswick's The Old Ship pub on a very dreary April evening to find out more.
The wheels on this adventure really got rolling about a year ago when 28 year-olds Sam and Jayne got thinking about cycling a really, really long way together.
Having completed the Mongol Rally, spent long stints in the US and China, taken on Land's End to John O'Groats and fallen in love with two-wheeled transportation, Sam has long dreamed of cycling around the world.
Jayne now regularly bashes out Saturday centuries but never used to like cycling at all.She only began to dip her toes in the sport when she bought a ‘horrible little bike’ called Trevor to commute to work. After a while, Sam persuaded her to buy a nicer bike and they cycled to Brighton.
Next thing they knew Jayne was standing on the podium at the Barcelona Ironman having well and truly caught the cycling bug and smashed the opposition to come third in her age group with a time of 11 hours and 5 minutes.
Jayne was clocking up the miles while training for her Ironman Triathlon and several of her friends had suggested that she might enjoy cycle touring rather than blasting round in circles. Returning from a girls' weekend away last summer, Jayne asked Sam if he would like to cycle around the world. 'Yes! And no take backs!' came his reply, and that was that. They bought a map and penned a rough route on it. No 'pencilling-in' for this plucky pair.
Fast-forward ten months and Sam and Jayne will soon be taking a break from the worlds of politics and marketing as they swap the Central line for the saddle and set off eastwards. There's plenty to look forward to: a year without work or commutes, sunnier and warmer weather than our country can usually muster, awe-inspiring scenery, and the exhilarating unpredictability of life on the road.
For Jayne and Sam, China is one of the main draws. Arriving fresh from a notoriously brutal 2-3 days of solid climbing as they leave the stans and cross the border, they'll find themselves in the vast openness of western China. One of their first stops will be the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar where they'll take in the bustle of the bazaar and the sights of the first of many oases that they'll encounter as they cross the Taklamakan Desert.
Not only does China hold the fascination of being home to nearly a fifth of the world's population, but its enormous size will provide Sam and Jayne with a huge variation in landscapes as they cross mountains and deserts in the west to reach the madness of the modern metropolises in the east. Somewhere along the way they'll also stop over in Xi'an - Sam's most anticipated stop - which is home to Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army.
For all that's exciting about the trip, there are, of course, some trepidations. For one, Jayne, who is used to tearing through the Surrey Hills to cover 100 miles+ in 4-5 hours, will need to get used to cycling more slowly. But Sam and Jayne are already steeling themselves for a 200 mile stretch between petrol stations in South Australia. They're hoping that a friend may be able to support them by motorbike as they take on two back-to-back 100 mile days laden with all of the food and water that they will need to make it between two outback outposts.
Of course, the anticipated challenges aren't limited to those in the saddle. There will be the things that they miss about home: football for Man U fan Sam, having more than one change of clothes for Jayne, Marmite, cheese...and "we have to say our friends or else there won't be anyone at our leaving party"!
In the face of challenges, seen and unforeseen, how will they keep themselves going? A healthy dose of competition, for starters. Jayne has proven herself as a fierce competitor on the triathlon course, but Sam, too, has a competitive spirit that pulses through his veins thanks to years of sporting rivalry with his sister.
Generally "slow and steady", Sam says that the desire to keep up with triathlon tearer Jayne will be enough to keep him going, while Jayne says that keeping ahead of Sam will be her motivation. Perhaps loaded panniers will be enough to slow Jayne down slightly? Sneaking a couple of bricks in them has crossed Sam's mind too.
When the going gets tough, Sam and Jayne will also draw inspiration from Mark Beaumont. In 2017 Mark smashed the world record for a round-the-world cycle when he smashed his own record to make it 18,032 miles from Paris to Paris in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes. "He cycled 225 miles a day every single day. The willpower and mental strength to do that is quite impressive. It must be one of the greatest sporting achievements".
How are they preparing for the physical challenge? Jayne, who is recovering from a broken hand, will be bashing out the miles on the turbo trainer to make sure that she can comfortably cycle 100 miles before they set off. Sam's philosophy is that being on the road will be the best training and he anticipates a few brutal first days before he's rewarded with the fitness he needs to bash out a couple of hundred days behind handlebars.
There are bikes to prepare too and Sam and Jayne will be taking their 2014 Cannondale Synapse and Specialized Allez bikes with them. "Eliza" (the Allez) and the Cannondale will shortly be getting complete makeovers and Sam and Jayne have bought new groupsets for each bike. They're building their own new wheels and will also be switching out the gears, brake cables and shifters. What will be left? "The frames and pedals will probably stay the same"!
Finally, fuel is also pretty important as the pair will need to consume several thousand calories a day to keep up with their burn-rate. What do they think will be on the menu? "We've been practising a few cycling meals at home, not necessarily intentionally", they laugh. Recently it was egg, potato and tomatoes in a Spanish tortilla style dish but they envisage plenty of pasta and cured meats on their journey.
Of course, a lot of their culinary options depend on what they are able to buy and they're looking forward to seeing how the food they eat changes along the way. Once they get to more remote places they'll probably find it cheaper to eat in local restaurants and cafes but they do have a trick up their sleeves for some free extra calories if they need them: "the trick is to save your pasta water from the evening to make your porridge the following day. That will make your porridge more starchy and will add a few extra calories too"! Sam has a soft spot for Nature Valley Nut Butter bars (he gave us one to try and it was just great). Oh, and flapjacks. They will eat a lot of flapjacks.
A few final questions...
All that remains to ask is the traditional Beeline Ambassador Desert Island Discs questions. At some points in their journey, Sam and Jayne will be in such remote places that they might as well be stranded on a desert island. So we thought that we'd apply the same rules as BBC Radio 4 and ask them what they would take with them if they were only allowed to take eight songs, one book and a luxury item on their journey. Here's what they chose.
Their eight tracks:
With their eight track list completely full, a bereft Sam says that he is going to miss the Beastie Boys, Kanye, Hamilton, Childish Gambino, Example and The Who.
This is a hard one. Jayne reads fiction while Sam reads non-fiction. Obviously we need to comprise so we've gone for "The Book of the Year" by the people who make the No Such Thing as a Fish podcast.
Full of facts from 2017; Sam and Jayne now know that swearing improves your cycling. Researchers at Keele University tested people's cycling speeds, asking them to say neutral words as they pedalled, and then to pedal the same track again while swearing. People were 4% better at cycling while they swore.
They're sure that they'll make lots of friends on the road with all their fun facts.
Their luxury item:
A bluetooth speaker to listen to their 8 songs on repeat.
...And a couple of 'would you rathers'
We'll be following along as Sam and Jayne make their circumnavigation of the globe. Give them a follow on @pedallingtheworld to track their progress. Allez!
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Follow this classic route to Surrey's Box Hill. Make your way through the parks of South West London, crossing Richmond Park and passing Hampton Court Palace on your way out of the city. Get up early to make the most of quieter roads!