Around the world in (more than) 80 days

A British university student is planning to make history as the fastest woman to cycle around the world – and she’s going it alone.

Vedangi Kulkarni, 19, is aiming to complete the epic 18,000-mile ride inside 100 days to smash the world record of 144 days.

That means she will have to average almost 200 miles a day, travelling for over 14 hours – on some of the toughest roads on Earth.

Kulkarni said: “I hadn’t planned to do it in 100 days initially, but as I started my training I realised it’s not impossible.

“If I’m physically able to do it, I might as well set a benchmark for unsupported cycling.

“The aim is to finish, in whatever condition”.

The marathon ride will start and end in Perth, Australia and is planned to begin in June 2018.

Kulkarni hopes to cross Australia then head to New Zealand, before travelling across North America and Europe then back Down Under.

Although she has a contingency plan in place, Kulkarni admitted she needed to be cautious.

She said: “You need to be a bit worried, but this trip is properly planned – even if I have to travel further, I’ll have a safe place to stay.”

The Bournemouth University undergraduate will be travelling unsupported and using a ‘bivvy bag’ – a sleeping bag that doubles as a tent – whenever she can’t find proper accommodation.

She plans to use a custom made Isen bike after the company approached her upon hearing about the trip.

Kulkarni, a sports management student, has already secured sponsorship from a company in her native India and is hoping others will get involved.

The rules for the Guinness World Record attempt include cycling from either East to West or vice versa and use the same bike throughout.

She plans to record the ride with GPS tracking software, writing blogs and making video logs.

Her attempt is part of the ‘#StepUpAndRideOn’ campaign which Kulkarni hopes will inspire more students to get out of their comfort zone, face their fears, and challenge themselves to achieve great results – something she admits she struggled with.

She said: “I used to be really awkward.

“I joined the cycling club to get over that, but everyone was into road cycling.

“I realised I was comfortable with myself and could do long distances in less time, so I started doing that”.

Kulkarni has been in regular contact with Scotsman Mark Beaumont, the current male record holder for cycling round the world.

He completed his trip in a remarkable 79 days in September 2017.

Kulkarni said Beaumont has been providing support in the form of mentoring and guidance.

He also introduced her to Sir Sean Connery, who she says she has been in touch with via social media.

Kulkarni said Connery had been offering her “advice” about filming techniques – something she freely admits he knows much more about.

Talk about making a Bond.

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