In the wake of recently setting a new world e-bike long distance record, the E-Bike Cycle Tourists have been asked on a number of occasions if the achievement will be recognised as an official record by Guinness World Records.
The short answer is a resounding “NO”, but given the amount of confusion that surrounds actually gaining official Guinness recognition, the answer needs some clarification.
While clearly we would love our achievement to be included in the Guinness Books of Records, given the length of time we are e-biking – up to 18 months – and the huge distances covered – an expected 25,000-plus kilometres – it is quite simply impossible to comply with the extremely rigid Guinness guidelines.
According to the Guinness organisation essentially every aspect of the trip has to be logged, validated and double checked on a daily basis – something that is just not possible when you are on and off your bicycle for up to 10 hours per day over such a long period of time.
Take for example the following excerpt from the Guinness Specific Guidelines Pack: “Any route may be followed, but in keeping with the spirit of this record, the journey should follow a route between two pre-defined points and should not, for instance, repeatedly cover the same ground or consist of an accumulation of shorter journeys made during the course of everyday life”.
Clearly that excludes us from being able to claim a Guinness record straight away. Surely no one from the Guinness organisation has ever been on a long distance cycle tour that stretches over not days, but weeks, months and even years.
Of course you have to make shorter journeys that are made in the “course of everyday life”, after all how are we expected to get to the supermarket each and every day to buy our food? Or how are we expected to continue cycling throughout the European winter without being able to base ourselves somewhere – like we did in Portugal – and do rides that, shock and horror, go over the same ground on a number of occasions?
Also on a daily basis Guinness request that you fill in a daily log that is signed by independent witnesses – you have to be joking, how many independent witnesses would we need for a journey of 25,000kms!
And, to make things all the more interesting, Guinness insists that “all rest breaks or stoppages for whatever reason must also be fully detailed in the log book”. Do they have any idea how many entries there would be on a daily basis, on some days we are travelling between points A and B for up to 10 hours, but only e-bike for approximately 4 or 5 hours – the rest of the time is taken up by rest breaks, photo opportunities and general chit chat with the many, many people we meet along the way. Do they honestly expect us to document each and every one of those occasions every day?
Accommodating to the end, Guinness generously take some of the onus off us to validate our kilometres by saying “where possible, local dignitaries and police should be sought to sign the (log) book”.
Can you imagine that, at the end of the day, tired, wet, hungry and still unable to find a place to camp, there we are riding around in circles on our Haibike xDuro Trekking e-bikes trying to find the local police station, mayor or any dignitary for that matter to sign our log book!
Clearly it was never going to happen, so that is why we will claim an “unofficial” world record when we eventually decide to finish our amazing e-bike adventure.
As far as we are concerned the Guinness organisation can continue to record such amazing feats as the person with “The largest pair of googly eyes”, or the “Most tattooed senior citizen”, or what about the “Longest duration living with scorpions” or even the “Most spoons balanced on the face”.
As far as the official e-bike long distance record goes, the official record according to the Guinness website is “7,151 km (4,443.4 miles) that was achieved by Troy Rank (USA), who rode throughout the USA between August 1, 2014 to August 30, 2014”.
We are already up to 17,000 kilometres and counting, so you can see there is no comparison.