Duo set for new world record after global tandem trip

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.
The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

Aged just 25, one man from Hunstanton has completed an adventure of a lifetime with his cycling team mate.

John Whybrow and George Agate, 23, who together form The Tandem Men, have finished a world circumnavigation by tandem bicycle after 18,000 miles and 290 days on expedition.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, right, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, right, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The duo concluded their impressive feat on Saturday, March 25, having cycled through 29 countries and five continents since leaving their homes in Canterbury on June 8 last year.

John, a former Smithdon High School pupil, said: “It’s just one of those mad ideas you come up with. The difference being we actually went through with it.”

Believed to be the first to complete such a challenge, it is expected that they will have set a Guiness World Record – while fundraising at the same time.

The pair are due to have their record verified in the coming weeks.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, right, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, right, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

John and George have so far raised more than £15,600 for three charities – homelessness charity Porchlight, Great Ormond Street Hospital and WaterAid.

The duo met while studying at the University of Kent in Canterbury, which is where they came up with the idea to cycle around the world.

They only began cycling three years ago, and prior to the trip, had only completed about 500 miles between them.

John said: “It was a pretty steep learning curve. It was 18 months of planning to get the logistics, kit, visas and route together but it’s all been worth it.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

“It’s an amazing experience, truly once in a lifetime stuff.”

The trip was supported by legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who agreed to be patron of the expedition.

Before they took off for the adventure, Mr Fiennes said: “I wish the chaps all the best on their tandem journey, and here’s to the world record!”

The journey was not without its hardships, though.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The men were hit by a bus in Austria, chased by packs of dogs in Romania, caught up in the military coup in Turkey and cycled through over a fortnight of monsoon in India.

George, from Pulborough in West Sussex, said: “It’s been a lot of fun, but it certainly has had its tough times.

“Some people think it’s a holiday, but sitting on a piece of leather the size of your hand for eight to 10 hours a day isn’t like any holiday I’ve ever been on!”

But in amongst the difficult times, there were also countless unforgettable memories.

John said: “We would do between eight and 10 hours on the bike a day, we tried to cover five to six hundred miles a week, which would allow us on average one day off a week to stop for milestones or to see friends and family.

“The wildlife is probably my best memory. We cycled alongside dolphins in Turkey when we on the Black Sea Coast – they were just a few metres away from us.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

The Tandem Men: John Whybrow, left, and George Agate. Photo: SUPPLIED.

“After we had just done a three-week stretch from Perth to Adelaide of 2,000 miles – which is more than twice the length of the UK – we were halfway across Australia, so that was a good day.”

On their return to Canterbury last month, where the trip had begun almost 10 months before, the pair were greeted by hundreds of people – friends, family and supporters – where they celebrated their success with a beer.

“It was a bit of a surreal day,” John added.

Following their global exploits, John is planning on writing a book detailing his experiences, having kept a journal all the way through the trip.

He said: “There’s just so many stories to tell. It will be a bit of a labour of love as I start back at work as the assistant manager of a restaurant soon, but I have always wanted to write a book. I’m hoping to have it published by the end of the year.”

Also the pair’s agenda will be giving talks on their experiences in Canterbury and London, and potentially some further adventures in years to come.

You can still donate to the cause by visiting: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/thetandemmen.