Tuesday 28 March 2017

Lonely cyclist speaks to 'Wilson'

Mark Beaumont is a week away from finishing his 13,000-mile journey from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina
Mark Beaumont is a week away from finishing his 13,000-mile journey from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina
Mark Beaumont is a week away from finishing his 13,000-mile journey from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina
Mark Beaumont is a week away from finishing his 13,000-mile journey from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina

A Scot who is cycling the length of the Americas has revealed he talks to his camera to stave off loneliness.

Mark Beaumont, who became the fastest man to cycle round the world, has even named the machine.

The cyclist is a week away from finishing his epic 13,000-mile journey from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in southern Argentina.

During the adventure he has climbed to the summits of the highest mountains in North and South America: Mount McKinley in the US which stands at 20,321ft (6,194m) and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina which is 22,841ft (6,962m).

Beaumont has been joined by a BBC cameraman three times for a few days but for much of the eight-month journey he has cycled alone, with only his camera for companionship.

The 27-year-old, from Fife, said: "My constant companions on this journey have been my bike, and my camera. The bike has no name but I call the camera Wilson, as for long periods it's the only thing I talk to.

"Nine months is a very long time to travel like this. People have travelled alone by bike for much longer but not at such a pace, with such specific focus. At times it stopped feeling like an expedition and became simply my lifestyle, cycling all day, living wild, eating where I could find food. Time often loses relevance when alone for so long."

For much of the trip Beaumont was following the line of the American Cordillera, the spine of the continent. The Andes section in South America is the longest mountain range on earth.

Along the way he has encountered howler monkeys in the Panamanian rainforest and visited the shanty towns of Pisco in Peru, which was devastated by an earthquake in 2007.

Beaumont should reach the finish line on or around February 19. His progress can be tracked via the Twitter website and on his online blog at bbc.co.uk/cyclingtheamericas.

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