18,000 miles around the world, 100 days, 19 year old Bournemouth University student Vedangi Kulkarni is 10 days into pedalling the planet and we've been following her progress.
Back in 2014, a new record was set by Paola Gianotti, cycling over 18,000 miles around the world, making her the fastest woman to cimcumnavigate the globe by bike. Vedangi only started cycling a few years ago, simply through commuting, but got hooked after a bikepacking adventure through the Himalayas and set her sights to greater challenges. A few rides later, including a LEJOG challenge, Vedangi decided there would be nothing to stop her from setting a new round the world cycling record. If you're not up to date, have a look back at when Vedangi popped in to see us here at AKHQ.
I think it would be fair to say that there could have been a smoother start to Vedangi's challenge. The proposed start date was 15th June, but a few visa issues and other setbacks meant this had to be pushed back. Nonetheless she was in high spirits when she set off from Perth, Australia on 17th July at 12am, relieved that the adventure was finally beginning. Nothing but Vedangi, the bike and the open road...
wheelsandwords: "Visa issues, misunderstandings with the core team, mini mental breakdowns, potential losses of sponsorship, overly priced extra luggage and so much more- everything kept going wrong until the minute we were to get on the flight. But today@woodarkand I finally landed in Australia after over 20 hours of travel time. That excitement of leaving a country and starting a new adventure, a new chapter in the story is UNREAL, to say the least. I want to store this feeling in a box and remind myself of it the next time I feel low. We’re gonna be doing exactly what we love and we’re extremely grateful for that."
Vedangi's route will take her through 15 different countries. Currently gaining ground towards Adelaide, South Australia, she'll continue Eastward along the coast and following the Great Ocean Road, before heading North and up to Brisbane. A hop, skip and a jump across the water to New Zealand to cycle up the North Island to Auckland. Another flight will take Vedangi over to Alaska, down through Canada and across to the East Coast before heading a little closer to home, Europe. Setting off from Portugal, she'll head up through Spain and France to Belgium and continue North through Germany to Scandanavia. Through Denmark, Sweden and Finland before a long slog through Russia, Mongolia, China and finally returning to the starting point in Perth.. What a journey!
You can imagine that a trip like this will undoubtedly have its ups and downs, but it was rather unexpected when we heard Vedangi had come down with a case of food poisoning in the first 10 days of the trip. Not one to let such a thing stop her, it's clear that Vedangi's sense of humour is prevailing after a recent instagram update:
wheelsandwords: "The very definition of embarrassment is having to run to a service station toilet with soiled pants to have a shower and clean up. But you know what's making this a tad easy? Laughing at myself and the situation. It's truly being Poo-chera and I still have 75km to go #PainfullyUnfunny P.S- It's only embarrassing if you make it. The point of this post is that bad things happen, you just accept it and keep going : )"
So after delays, 40kmph cross winds across the Nullarbor (a vast and arid area of Australia which includes the countries longest straight road at 90 miles), close calls with camels and kangaroos, technical issues, nearly being taken out by road trains (think of a lorry but with 5 or 6 trailers instead of just the 1!) and a pretty bad case of food poisoning, Vedangi is powering through, stepping up and riding on after what can only be described as an eventful start to her adventure. So here's to the road ahead being a little calmer! Good luck Vedangi!
You can track Vedangi's progress with us by heading over tovedangikulkarni.comand viewing the spot tracker map, or follow Vedangi on instagramfor updates on how she's getting on. Vedangi's not alone in the challenge either, Jenny Graham of The Adventure Syndicate is hot on her tail after touching down in Perth just a few days ago. Jenny started in Berlin on 16th June and you can also track Jenny's progress here.