A large world map adorns one of our walls.

I love looking at it. Imagining all the different places we could go. One night we happened upon the question “if we were to ride our bikes around the world, where would our route go?” The thought drew us closer to the map, annotating arcs across continents, noticing places we’d like to include and places we’d never really thought about.

It was the seed of an idea that was ready to dig in roots.

When I started trawling the internet to find out what other people had done I immediately noticed a pattern in the names – they were all male –– whaaat, no women? I hadn’t even anticipated people would be rolling out to set world records, noticing one didn’t even exist for a woman got me more excited. Challenge accepted!!

And so began the countless hours pouring over blogs, researching routes, and corresponding with experts around the world.

The route requirements set out for a Guinness World Record (GWR) provided a structure for me to begin laying down our route, we needed to:

  1. Start and finish at the same location
  2. Cycle in one direction (East to West or West to East), with any considerable distance in the opposite direction being discounted from the overall distance
  3. Cycle a minimum of 18,000 miles (28,970km) and travel a total distance the length of the equator (24,900 miles or 40,075km)
  4. Ride through two approximate antipodal points (opposite points of the planet)

But then, there was this other thing we’d committed to doing.

Kristina in Patagonia Australia HQ

We decided we should find a way for people around the world, particularly those who might find their circumstances wouldn’t allow them to undertake such a global adventure, to vicariously experience the whole thing with us. And this arm of our adventure became known as Ride To Learn – an adventure learning program streamed into classrooms all around the world with kids being inspired by our adventures and learning about the origins of t-shirts, shoes and bicycles through the stories we shared and the resources we provided. We built a team of educators and advisors who would be setting up interviews along our route.

So, both our sponsors and our education team would be very influential in planning our route.

Kristina with Rob Eva, SRAM GM Asia Pacific

We were also open to the fact that we needed a general arc for our route and to allow for minor adjustments on the ground.

Our plan was to ride 120km a day, 6 days a week, equating to ~700km a week and 10-months to complete the journey. Additional days off the bike for any reason would need to be caught up.

So, our route markers for the GWR requirements:

  1. Start and finish location – St Kitts & Nevis, West Indies
  2. Direction – West to East
  3. Cycling distance – 29,025km
  4. Approximate antipodal points – Rosario, Argentina (32.85°S 60.63°W) and Gaoyou, China (32.85°N 119.37°E)

Breakdown of countries on our route

Country, Entry Location, Exit Location
Cycle Distance (KM)
Risks/Challenges
St Kitts & Nevis, Nevis, Nevis
Hardly any
TRANSIT: St Kitts & Nevis to Brazil
Brazil, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janiero
1,600
Wet season: storms, flash floods, landslides. Serious crime, avoid Favela's
TRANSIT: Brazil to Senegal
Senegal, Dakar, Rosso
360
Heat, limited water supply
Mauritania, Rosso, Nouadhibou
700
Heat, limited water supply. Kidnapping, land mines, civil unrest.
Western Sahara, Guerguerat, Maghreb
900
Heat, no water supply. Disputed territory, what does that actually mean?
Morocco, Tarfaya, Erfoud
1,200
Heat
TRANSIT: Erfoud to Tangier
TRANSIT: Tangier to Paris
France, Paris, Roubaix
285
Cobbled roads of the Paris-Roubaix route
Belgium, Mouscron, Zelzate
100
The Netherlands, Sas van Gent, Venlo ex Amsterdam
400
Germany, Nettetal, Konstanz
620
Switzerland, Kreuzlingen, Valsot
230
Alpine crossing. Cold.
Austria, Martinsbruck, Reschenpass
10
Italy, Reschenpass, Bari
1,100
TRANSIT: Italy to Greece
Greece, Patras, Athens
200
TRANSIT: Greece to Turkey
Turkey, Cesme, Gurbulak
2,000
Iran, Bazargan, Sarakhs
2,000
USA conflict
Turkmenistan, Serakhs, Lebap
460
Extreme heat
Uzbekistan, Alat, Dilkushid
1,000
Kyrgyzstan, Osh, Bishkek
800
TRANSIT: Bishkek to Ulaanbaatar
Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Zamiin-Uud
815
China, Erenhot, Shanghai
2,095
First antipodal point
TRANSIT: Shanghai to Bamaga
Australia, Alice Springs, Sydney
3,600
TRANSIT: Brisbane to Vancouver
Canada, Banff, Grasmere
300
USA, Roosville, Antelope Wells
4,000
‘Tour Divide’ route September will be cold and potentially snowy, mostly off road riding with little access to amenities
Mexico, El Berrendo, Tapachula
2,920
TRANSIT: Tapachula to La Serena
Chile, La Serena, Paso de Agua Negra
230
Argentina, Paso de Agua Negra, Rosario
1,100
Second antipodal point
TRANSIT: Rosaria to St Kitts & Nevis
TRANSIT: St Kitts & Nevis to Sydney