It’s not every day we get a world record breaker in one of our libraries, but that was the case yesterday when Julian Sayarer came to tell us how he cycled round the world in 169 days.
Julian started with the numbers – on his 18 000 mile round trip he averaged 110 miles a day, spending around 8 to 10 hours in the saddle. ‘A day’s work in a really wonderful office’ is how he described it.
Julian then went back to his childhood to tell us how his love of cycling had been forged when as an eleven year old he made the 20 mile round trip to his grandparents house. This escape from safety and routine sowed the seeds for a life of cycling and adventure.
As a teenager Julian was determined to become a professional cyclist, and fell in love with the stories, mythology and folklore of the sport.
It was a four-week ride from England to Istanbul, however, which opened his eyes to the possibilities of long distance cycling. He learned from a couple he met along the way about an attempt on the round-the-world record that had been backed by banks and big business. Seeing the bicycle and open road reduced to only a corporate marketing strategy, Julian resolved to do things his own way and to take back the record.
And so to his epic trip.
We learned about a wonderful cycle path along the Danube, the lack of personal space in China, the incredible hospitality of New Zealanders, how to cope with Romanian guard dogs and the ‘captivating emptiness’ of Kazakhstan.
All too soon our time was up. Thanks to Julian for coming to Edinburgh and giving such an inspiring and compelling talk.