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The two Nicks: Adventure cycling across the globe in the pre-internet age

The two Nicks: Adventure cycling across the globe in the pre-internet age

Words Trevor Ward Photography Juan Trujillo Andrades Back in January 1986, two cycling adventurers sat down in a London boozer to brainstorm ideas for their…

Thursday, Nov 17

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Words Trevor Ward Photography Juan Trujillo Andrades

Back in January 1986, two cycling adventurers sat down in a London boozer to brainstorm ideas for their next project. Cousins Nick and Dick Crane had recently ridden bikes around the crater of Kilimanjaro and wanted to top that with something even more audacious.

They came up with a plan to cycle to the most remote place on Earth, which they calculated to be a spot in a desert in northwest China, 5,000km away from the nearest ocean.

They would eventually cycle to ‘the Pole of Inaccessibility’ from the Bay of Bengal, crossing the Himalayas, Tibetan plateau and Gobi Desert in 58 days (including four days detained by Chinese police) and accumulating 26,680 metres of ascent.

At the time, ‘adventure cycling’ was highly competitive. Their main rival was another Nick – by the name of Sanders – who had just completed a record-breaking ride around the world in 79 days (the rules then stipulated a minimum of 13,000 miles, compared with today’s 18,000).

Sanders, who had already circumnavigated the world by bike in 1981 and since ridden to the source of the Nile and then around the coast of Britain in a record-breaking 22 days, would be looking for another headline-grabbing adventure of his own.

Sanders’ ride had been called ‘Around The World in 80 Days’. Now the Cranes took their own inspiration from Jules Verne and called their adventure ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. But for now, it would be veiled in secrecy, referred to […]

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