Joining Mark Beaumont on his latest adventure

Mark Beaumont  cycled the coast as a training exercise for his around the world in 80 days challenge this summer.
Mark Beaumont cycled the coast as a training exercise for his around the world in 80 days challenge this summer.

I will admit, I’m not the fittest person – in fact, I get most of my exercise from climbing the many, many stairs to the office during the week.

Cycling doesn’t factor on my bucket list of things that I want to do either.

And my weekends are usually spent watching Netflix and drinking endless cups of tea!

However, when Mark Beaumont invites you along on his latest adventure you, of course, say yes ... even if it is just to save face.

So on a sunny but cold Saturday, I set off to meet Mark as he made his way around the Scottish coastline as part of a UK wide trip – a warm up to his world cycle challenge which kicks off in July.

Cycling with an expert is a nerve wracking experience. Will you be able to keep pace (of course not!). Will you fall off or crash? Why on earth did I agree to do this?

But I like to think I did pretty well. Apart from a few wobbles to start with, I didn’t fall, crash or end up in a bruised heap, with the wheels still spinning as horrified onlookers stared.

I was kitted out in my new cycling uniform of trainers, two pairs of leggings, a t-shirt, jumper and fleece – well, it was cold!

My cycling adventure lasted about half an hour by which time Mark had already been on the road for two weeks, having set off at the beginning of the month.

The 15-day training ride saw Mark ride at 80 days pace, cycling for 16 hours and 240 miles per day, around the 11,000 mile coastline of Great Britain.

“It’s been good going in the main,” Mark said.

“I set off from London and I’ve kept good pace – for the most part!

“It’s just a warm up for the main event in the summer when I’ll attempt to cycle around the world in 80 days.”

Mark continued: “I’m not trying to break any world records here. I’m just training for the event in July.”

I didn’t warm up for my bike ride but Mark believes it’s vitally important.

“Doing a warm up cycle ride on this scale allows you to notice any small niggles and any teething problems there might be,” he said.

“It’s better to notice them now than later.”

Mark made his way to Angus from Aberdeenshire travelling through Montrose, Inverkeilor and Arbroath before heading to Dundee and across the Tay Bridge.

“The east coast offers great views all round, from the views across the sea to the glens inland,” Mark said.

“It gave me the perfect backdrop to my adventure in this part of the country.

“It definitely makes the ride a bit better when you have such fantastic views along the way.”

Setting off on my trusty powder blue bike – yes, it does have ribbons on the handlebars – it was plain to see why Mark decided to choose a route which hugged the coastline.

On a clear day, the views across to the sea are without a doubt, a sight to see.

Even on a dull, drizzly day, normally expected here in Scotland, the views are far from diminished.

“That’s part of the reason I decided to go around the coast,” Mark agreed. “I knew it would be a beautiful journey.

Leaving Angus behind, Mark cycled across the Tay Bridge on his way to the Kingdom of Fife.

“It made sense to go across the Tay Bridge as its such an iconic part of the east coast,” he said.

“It was also really great to see so many people out in support of me and my journey.

“People were out waving as I went passed, shouting words of encouragement and even got on their own bikes to join me for a short time.”

“For me, this is what all this is about,” Mark concluded.

“I would love for this journey to give people across the country the confidence to take on an adventure or challenge of their own.

“I want it to make people rethink what they are capable of, for young people in particular to stop and to think ‘what’s my 80 days?’, what do I want to achieve with my own life?

“As I’ve said before, I want to redefine the limits of human endurance by proving what seems impossible really is possible.”

My rather small part in Mark’s journey around Scotland showed me that it is possible to get up off the sofa and do something more worthwhile with my day off.

And while Mark finishes the last leg of his UK warm up tour, and continues his training for his worldwide trip in a few months time, I think I will be soaking my poor aching muscles for a few days yet.

It certainly was an adventure though!