British endurance athlete Sean Conway has set a new world record for the fastest unsported crossing of Europe by bike.
Conway started in Cabo da Roca in Portugal and finished in Ufa in Russia, cycling 3980 miles (6405km) in 24 days, 18 hours and 39 minutes.
He beat the previous mark set by Jonas Deichmann in July last year by nine hours. Along the way, he travelled in Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, riding for 16 hours per day.
His attempt can be viewed via a GPS tracker hosted by Yellow Jersey.
It is not the first time that Conway has attempted to beat the record. He previously attempted to set a new record in August 2017, but was forced to cut his ride short due to injury. He says that he learned from the mistakes he made the first time around.
“It was a big decision to come back and give this record another go,” said Conway. “I think too often people feel that if they don’t succeed with something then they have to give up. We are so used to hearing about success stories, what is often missed off is how many attempts they took to get there in the first place.”
“I admit, I got things wrong on my last attempt of this record. My self-esteem was really low at the end of last summer when I had to withdraw from my last attempt but I picked myself up and thought long and hard about whether I should give this another go – what if I didn’t succeed again?
“Life is not all about winning and breaking records, it’s about giving things the very best shot that you can, and be confident that you could not have done any more.”
As he was unsupported, Conway had to take all of his clothes, spares and equipment with him. During the ride, he slept rough on 19 of the nights as he did not take a tent and reportedly showered just four times.
Despite being wary of how much weight he was carrying with him, Conway could not resist picking up an animal skull in Portugal, which continued with him on his handlebars.