School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


4 Sep 2014

James breaks world record in race across Europe by bike

Loughborough’s James Bowtell, who graduated from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in July, has broken the world record for cycling across Europe, a distance almost twice as long as the Tour de France.

He completed his feat on 1 September, having cycled 6,226 kilometres in a ride time of 212 hours.

The ‘Race Across Europe by Bike’ route crossed seven European countries – Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal. It had never been attempted before due to the logistical complexity of the challenge and the extensive mileage from the race’s start point in Ufa, Russia to the finish line in Cabo Da Roca, Portugal.

James completed the ride in 37 days, easily beating the 45-day benchmark he needed to better in order to set the Guinness World Record.

Although James has experience of long distance cycling events, the ‘Race Across Europe by Bike’ was by far his toughest challenge yet. Whilst James was the only cyclist, he had a strong support team called Velo 7, consisting of fellow Loughborough University undergraduates and graduates, to assist in the pursuit of this unique world record.  

During his time at Loughborough James completed 'Tomorrow's Leaders', a Development Trust-funded programme of events for high-calibre students designed to develop leadership skills.  Run by Dr Hilary McDermott of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, and Andy Borrie and Simon Wombwell of the Sports Development Centre, the programme consisted of six sessions covering leadership concepts, motivation and self-reflection.  In addition to a residential weekend away, students also received an inspirational talk from London 2012 Team GB athletics coach Fayyaz Ahmed.

We hope the programme was instrumental in motivating James to realise his amazing achievement!

Find out more about James’s record-breaking journey on the Velo 7 website.