Cyclist achieves epic round the world dream

Round-the-world cyclist Iain Johnston.
Round-the-world cyclist Iain Johnston.

A former Ripon Grammar School student has achieved his dream of circumnavigating the globe by bicycle after arriving back home in Yorkshire, where his epic 17,134-mile journey began 15 months ago.

Iain Johnston successfully completed his monumental challenge when he cycled into his home town of Ripon after pedalling for more than 1,600 hours through 29 countries.

The 30-year-old accountant marked the occasion by stopping off with his bike at his old school, where students, staff and parents have been following his progress.

“It feels surreal that I can now say I have cycled around the world. It has been an incredible journey and I’m sure the trip has changed me as a person,” he said.

“My plan is to rest up as the last week of cycling in the wind, rain and cold really took it out of me. I’m sure it’ll take a little getting used to not having to get up on a morning get on the bike,” added Iain, who spent 305 days in the saddle.

Headmaster Jonathan Webb said the whole school was proud of Iain’s amazing achievement, an inspiration to students and staff alike.

“We’ve all been following Iain’s progress with interest through regular updates in our alumni magazine. It is an incredible accomplishment.”

Iain even slept in an under-stairs cupboard so that he could rent out his bedroom in order to help fund the £16,000 cost of the trip.

Iain completed the solo trip with no back-up support, camping in secluded spots most nights and carrying all his kit on a bike which he built himself.

Getting up most days at 5am, he cycled an average of 56 miles in temperatures ranging from minus five to 50 degrees Celsius for around six-and-a-half hours each day.

His journey took him through Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, where he climbed a breath-taking 2,500m summit on the Turkish border before descending into Georgia.