Pedal Power
October 12, 2007 5:49 AM   Subscribe

Jason Lewis has become the first man to circumnavigate the Earth using human power alone. It only took him 13 years: he set off from London in July, 1994 and ended his expedition in October, 2007, having travelled 46,505 miles (on foot and by pedal boat, roller blades, kayak, and bicycle). [via QI]

He was struck by a driver in Pueblo, Colorado, and spent nine months recovering from two broken legs, returning to the trek in May 1996. He was also arrested on suspicion of spying in Sudan.
posted by chuckdarwin (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So I just biked, boated, skated, and walked in from London, and boy are my legs tired.
posted by PhatLobley at 6:17 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

using human power alone.

posted by quonsar at 6:18 AM on October 12, 2007

I nominate Jason Lewis for the Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by DU at 6:19 AM on October 12, 2007

posted by hjo3 at 6:20 AM on October 12, 2007

Wow, 13 years. Way to go Jason! Good for him for surviving and having the stamina. Sounds like it was awesome. I loved that he in-line skated across the States and the nifty design of the boat.

My dad and five others set out to circumnavigate the world in 1949 on a three masted schooner. He was drafted into the army during the Korean War and so he was able to complete only three and a half years of the five year journey. One of his shipmates, wrote a book about the trip, On Wits and Wind.
posted by nickyskye at 6:30 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

nickyskye, that's a great story.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:32 AM on October 12, 2007

Related post.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:39 AM on October 12, 2007

If Jason Lewis gets the Nobel Peace Prize, how will that affect the election in 2008?
posted by hermitosis at 6:39 AM on October 12, 2007

It is a good story. Thanks chuckdarwin. I recommend the book. The author is my godfather. I was named after the boat too :) California, middle name.
posted by nickyskye at 6:42 AM on October 12, 2007

This is fascinating. Can someone explain to me how exactly he crossed the oceans?
posted by dead_ at 7:01 AM on October 12, 2007

Bah. He could have done something useful with all that time and effort.
posted by LarryC at 7:01 AM on October 12, 2007

Couldn't you circumnavigate the globe by walking in a circle around the north pole? Assuming it hasn't melted yet?
posted by condour75 at 7:08 AM on October 12, 2007

Right now I feel ashamed that I'm too lazy to get up and walk to the breakroom to refill my coffee.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:09 AM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

He completed a true circumnavigation (hitting opposite ends of the earth - antipodal points).
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:25 AM on October 12, 2007

He was good on Sex & The City too.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:30 AM on October 12, 2007

He doesn't seem to have made it easy on himself. He seems to have crossed from Australia to California and then from Florida to Spain. Whereas it looks like it would've been a lot easier to cross the Bering Strait and then go from South America to Africa.
posted by creasy boy at 7:32 AM on October 12, 2007

He doesn't seem to have made it easy on himself.

That may have had to do with the antipodal points thing.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:42 AM on October 12, 2007

Yeah I'm trying to figure out an antipodal route through the Bering Strait. But it looks like I'm light-years from being smart enough to figure it out.
posted by creasy boy at 7:47 AM on October 12, 2007

I'm surprised no one ever did this before, since there have been solo circumnavigations by sailboat, and solo rows across various oceans.

It should be noted this was not a purely solo effort: he had a rowing partner on the the Atlantic and California-Hawaii legs.
posted by beagle at 8:09 AM on October 12, 2007

Would it not count as circumnavigation if you: went from Alaska down through the Americas to Brazil, crossing the antipode to Indonesia somewhere at the top of Brazil; sailed from Brazil to Sierra Leone, across what looks like the Atlantic's shortest stretch (here I'm hoping that tropical storms don't kill you); go straight through Africa (hoping you don't die) and take a short hop across the Arabian Sea to the tip of India; another short hop across the Indian Ocean to Indonesia; across Indonesia northwards and up to Japan; from Japan up to the mainland Russia (hoping you don't die in Siberia) and then up to the Bering Strait? You would miss London entirely, but instead of crossing both of the world's most largest oceans at their largest breadths you would have four relatively short naval trips. And then hope that you haven't shaved too much off of the 40,000 km you need.
posted by creasy boy at 8:11 AM on October 12, 2007

i can't believe this is what i'm curious about, but where did he get the money to do this? did somebody sponsor him?
posted by timory at 8:24 AM on October 12, 2007

Timory, from the article:
The Duke of Gloucester - who is the patron of "Expedition 360" - launched and named the craft in 1994.
So yes, he had a sponsor.
posted by mephron at 8:28 AM on October 12, 2007

I'm currently enlisting sponsors for my circumnavigation of the route from my apartment to work and back again. If you have $1million or more that you would like to donate, email is in profile.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:42 AM on October 12, 2007

hoping you don't die in Siberia

Crucial detail.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:54 AM on October 12, 2007

Why did he choose pedal-power? Wouldn't sailing be more efficient?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:24 AM on October 12, 2007

Why did he choose pedal-power? Wouldn't sailing be more efficient?

yeh, it probably would, but the concept was 'human powered'. a sail is wind powered.
posted by winston smith at 9:33 AM on October 12, 2007

I'm too lazy to read any of this. How many slaves did he use?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:03 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

So when does this kind of endeavor become manic obsessive behaviour?

Guy has to wash everything in his house every day - he's mentally ill.

Guy has to get up every morning and gain another few miles to get back to where he started without using the many modern, fast and cheap ways of travelling - he's a hero.
posted by surfdad at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2007

great story, but color me annoyed that I can't find a map of his route anywhere.
posted by Espoo2 at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2007

A few clicks in you get his journey route: He went West

1: Greenwich to Portuguese coast
2: Atlantic ocean to Florida
3: Miami to San Francisco
4: California to Hawaii
5: Hawaii to Australia via Solomon Islands
6: Australia to south-east Asia
7: Asia to India via China and Eastern Tibet
8: India to east Africa
9: Africa to Turkey
10: Turkey to France
11: France to Greenwich
posted by Rashomon at 2:24 PM on October 12, 2007

Thought: if he allowed himself the mechanical advantage of a bicycle, he certainly could have allowed himself the advantage of a sloop. And working a sloop across the ocean would not, I think, be a sedentary task.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:16 PM on October 12, 2007

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