Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 2:21 pm
Welcome to the Globe Cycle blog. My name is James Bowthorpe. I am aiming to break the record for cycling around the world to raise £1.8 million for unique research into Parkinson’s Disease. I will be cycling 18000 miles over a period of about five and a half months; cycling 120 miles a day for 150 days (there will be rest days). If I manage this target I will beat the existing record by about three weeks (set by Mark Beaumont).
£1.8 million is a massive fundraising target and I think that the challenge at hand is big enough to match it. My target time teeters on the limit of what I think I can do; the physical challenge made all the more difficult by the psychological barriers I am (apprehensively) anticipating.
I have been volunteering at the research clinic for the last two years. I have seen patients’ symptoms getting better because of the work that the doctors do; often patients are on no anti-Parkinson’s medication at all and they may never need to be. I continue to be impressed by how the research team, lead by Drs. John and Sylvia Dobbs, is tackling the question of Parkinson’s root cause rather than focusing on symptoms alone. I have also been humbled by how much they have achieved on a shoe-string budget.
Globe Cycle has come about because the traditional mechanisms for getting funding for research like this are too slow! Organisations talk about having something that can start to be translated into humans in 15 years. The next phase of the What’s Driving Parkinson’s research programme will take five years and cost around £5 million; a long time for sufferers and a lot of money. However, it is based on a solid foundation; the team already has a disease modifier and several promising leads that the next phase will explore.
You can find out more about the research charity “What’s Driving Parkinson’s” (WDP) and view patient diaries at www.whatsdrivingparkinsons.net
I will bring you more updates on what’s happening with WDP; for now let’s get back to Globe Cycle…
My route starts and ends in London. I will be passing through the following countries:
France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Portugal and Spain.
By going to my gps tracking site, www.whereintheworldisjames.com, you can see where i am right now!
We are using the Just Giving site so that you know your donations are secure and go straight to the research charity What’s Driving Parkinson’s? You can donate on the Just Giving website here or alternatively if you want to make a one-off donation, and you are a UK taxpayer, please download the giftaid form. If you’d like to do it the old fashioned way and think that your friends might want to contribute, please download a sponsorship form.
To take a look at the research being done at What’s Driving Parkinsons, click here
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
I thought I’d write a quick blog to explain Globe Cycle to anyone who has just joined in.
My name is James Bowthorpe, I’m from London in the UK. I volunteer at a Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research clinic based at King’s College London in the Institute of Psychiatry. I started this work more than 2.5 years ago to get experience in a clinical setting for medical school applications; I chose this clinic because my grandfather had PD and I wanted to find out more about the disease.
After a year or so I started to understand the work a bit better and it finally dawned on me that there was a great need for it to be properly funded; it has gotten by on a shoestring budget for several years. The doctors that lead the research are working constantly at funding the next 5 years of work, and I decided last year that I wanted to help by taking on the hardest challenge I could find. The world record for fastest circumnavigation of the globe had just been broken, with many saying the new record was “unbreakable”. I decided that this would be the thing to do to raise 1.8million GBP.
I am over 14,000 miles into the 18,000 mile challenge and I will break the record by at least 2 weeks. I have just started to up my mileage from around 120 per day to 150 in an attempt to make it back to London on the 13th September. This would have me break the record by closer to 4 weeks. I have said from the outset that the need to fund this groundbreaking work properly is reflected in the speed and urgency of my record attempt.
I have already passed through France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia New Zealand and Canada. I then cycled down the west coast of the US to Los Angeles where I started to cross the country. I am following the TransAm route (as mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association) to NYC where I will have a rest day. I will then fly from Boston to Lisbon, Portugal, where I start perdalling again, through Portugal, Spain and France; a quick ferry across the English Channel and the final miles to my starting point in Hyde Park in London.
You can see where I have been at www.whereintheworldisjames.com; this is a live GPS tracking site (20 minute delay if you are trying to find me with it!) where GPS tagged photos appear on my route where they were taken. You can follow me on Twitter from this site and also view my YouTube channel (needs updating!). The overall site for the challenge is globecycle.org where you’ll find this blog and also more information about Globe Cycle (PDF’s for media), the work that it is supporting and how you can help by donating.
Thats it for now; I hope to keep updating tthis til the finish line, but at 150 miles per day I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I’m a little lax!
Thanks for following, J
Saturday, September 19th, 2009 at 10:54 pm
On 19th September 2009, I shattered Mark Beaumont’s supposedly ‘unbreakable’ world record for the fastest bicycle circumnavigation of the globe, raising the bar for future riders to an impressive 176 days. (Departure day: 29th March 2009). My trip raised over £120,000 for research into Parkinson’s disease, and I’m not finished yet. So, what’s next?
2010 – Make New Friends
Closing the eventful 2009, 2010 marked my new chapter with new cyclist fellows. After last year’s achievement, I decided to call 99 cyclists to join me on a ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise at least £100,000 for What’s Driving Parkinson’s charity. The journey was to leave John O’Groats with other cyclists on 5 September and return to Land’s End 7 days later.
My idea of JOGLE2010 was, “Cycling on your own is great, but cycling with other people is so much better.” And thanks to my 99 fellows, I made my goal again.
This year I also marked my first cooperation with director Antony Crook for Crook’s film “30 Century Man“. We went with the stylist Glenn Kitson and the team on the road to Norway and looked for some shot locations to make the movie. Everything was perfect. With the help of our team, we’ve successfully had a production for inspiration to keep pedaling and finishing the race.
2011 – A New Breakthrough
This year, I decided to do something special again. The Race Across America (RAAM) was the next aim on my radar. The race was grueling, starting from California within the Pacific’s sight and ending in Annapolis, then the Atlantic coast. Whoever reaches the finish line first will be the winner.
At first, I thought I could build a team, but for some reason, I changed my mind and attended the race myself. With the RAAM race, I understood that cycling with a team is geared towards logistical exercise, yet riding on my own is a real psychological and physical challenge. After considering, I set the target to finish the race in 10 days (or a maximum of 12 days), equal to around 300 miles per day.
Following this success, I couldn’t miss out on the 2012 RAAM and started practed for this race after finishing the 2011 RAAM. In June 2011, I broke a new record in my career by cycling 24 hours on end in front of the window of a cafeteria named Look Mum No Hands.
I also set the target to ride 300 miles on that day, but in the end, I managed to break the limit and rack up 670 km or more than 400 miles. That sent me a lot of confidence in the 2012 RAAM.
2012 – Become An Inspiration For A Film
After a few years, in 2012, I had a chance to cooperate with filmmaker Antony Crook again. Rapha Condor Sharp wanted the film set in Tokyo, providing a visually arresting and highly atmospheric insight into life at a pro team training camp.
I was glad and proud of being the inspiration for the main character. It’s such a great feeling when you know that what you’ve done still encourages people in some ways.
From 2013 to 2016 – Take Up A New Hobby
As years passed by, I still kept my passion for cycling and noticed the connection between a city and its natural infrastructure, i.e., the environment around me.
I had many chances to do big things after cycling, however, I wanted to go for something cheap. Thus, the idea of making a boat from bits of the town came to my mind. It was the perfect time for me to try new experiences and be helpful.
Within 3 days, I collected usable rubbish in London (mostly imported plywood) and fashioned a craft to go off to Cricklade, Wiltshire – the first point where boats could join the Thames. And I stayed there for about one week.
It was quite an easy experience, and I thought, let’s do something bigger. I need a wilder river and a big metropolis to explore the relationship between these two factors. The Hudson River is an ideal choice, leading to the start of my Hudson River Project (in February 2015).
The Hudson River is less gentle and mannered than the Thames. Though it is as long as 315 miles, I couldn’t conquer the whole river back then since this was only my new hobby. But anyway, I managed to “float” around the border of New Jersey to the west, surge through New York suburbs, and finish my journey there.
In October 2014, I traveled from London, England, to Brooklyn, New York, to collect scrap materials to make a boat as a test for my upcoming project. I hope the project will clear the line between nature (living environment) and how people live.
The time I prepared for the project is actually quite long as I also spent my time joining other creative projects around the city. One of the most remarkable ones is the cooperation with the Southbank Centre to build its temporary installations.
Since I also wanted to make a film about my project, I devoted my time meeting and talking with people who knew the river. Besides, funding took time.
During the period from the start, I faced many difficulties. For example, many people were looking for scraps, too. Or one night, I struggled so much to get out of a stationary barge moored in the river.
Finally, I finished my boat and started my journey in 2016. As I was on the river, the cameraman and crew were following me. I hope the recording of my project will inspire more and more people.
The year 2023 – A New Comeback
The past 7 years, from 2017 until now, have been a quiet period for me to lay low. I didn’t do any big projects, yet I still kept my passion and habit of cycling. It seemed like I was seeking something to rekindle the cycling passion and awaken my spirited soul from its slumber. Sometimes, my friends and I still meet at the cycling club, but nothing was special until one day, a miracle did happen to me.
I met Mike – a new member in the club, and his story really touched my heart. He had been involved in quite a terrible accident and required physical therapy. It was a tough period of his life, but he didn’t give up cycling.
After that day, I was thinking about that buddy and looked back at my past: I used to be full of energy! I realized I have always looked for something positive and wanted to inspire people.
That’s why I started this blog to tell people what I have achieved and experienced and to encourage them to go forward and contribute to society.
I’m also having ideas about some projects and planning to share them with all of you in the near future. So, stay around and stay tuned! Great minds think alike, and I hope we can do something great together.