The Journey of an 80-Year-Old Adventurer
An 80-year-old Canadian adventure cyclist is embarking on a remarkable challenge this June. Robert Fletcher, a retired educator and lifelong bicycle tourer, aims to break the world record for the longest electric bicycle ride. This extraordinary journey will stretch approximately 13,500 km (8,388.5 mi), spanning from Alaska to Panama. If successful, Fletcher will surpass the previous world record of 8,209.20 km (5,100.96 mi) by a substantial margin.
The Current Record Holder and His Remarkable Feat
The existing record is held by the renowned long-distance e-biker and advocate for alternative transportation, Ravindra Kempaiah. During the summer of 2016, Kempaiah rode a Stromer ST2-S across a portion of the U.S., covering a distance recognized by the Guinness World Records as the longest journey on a motorized bicycle.
Fletcher’s Choice: An Electric Bike for a Daring Venture
For his upcoming attempt in June, Fletcher has selected an Evelo Atlas hybrid-style e-bike. This impressive bicycle is equipped with a Bafang mid-drive motor, a dual battery design, and a mountain bike-style riding position. It promises to be reliable and provide the necessary power to conquer this daunting challenge.
The Route: From the North Pole to Panama City
Fletcher’s journey will commence in North Pole, Alaska, a charming town with a festive Christmas theme, just outside of Fairbanks. From this unique starting point, he anticipates it will take him approximately five months to pedal his e-bike across the interior of Alaska, through Canada’s captivating British Columbia, down the stunning western seaboard of the United States, and onwards along the length of Mexico. Finally, he will cross numerous Central American countries, with his ultimate goal of reaching the vibrant Panama City, Panama.
The entirety of the route will encompass an impressive nine countries and span approximately 13,500 km (8,388.5 mi), as detailed in Fletcher’s Facebook page post.
A Seasoned Adventurer and His Remarkable Pursuits
Robert Fletcher’s upcoming journey is not his first foray into long-distance bicycle touring or ambitious adventuring. His resume boasts an ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2014, making him the second oldest person to achieve this feat. He has also completed numerous bike tours exceeding 1,000 km in length and, most recently, journeyed approximately 10,400 km from Anchorage to Mexico City in just four months. With his wealth of experience and undeniable passion, Fletcher is undoubtedly a remarkable adventurer.
The Different Route for an Adventurous Journey
Though this trip heads the same direction as his Anchorage to Mexico trip, Fletcher isn’t following the same route.
“One of the first things I undertook for the planning was to select a route and layout a day-by-day itinerary to know where I would be each day and how long the journey would take. In 2015 I did a similar ride from Anchorage, Alaska, to Mexico City, 10,400 km, over four months with TDA Global Cycling,” Fletcher told Electric Bike Report. “For this trip, I wanted the route to cover new areas than the previous trip. That is why I am coming down the center of British Columbia and along the Pacific coast of the USA. The previous trip had us riding down the Baja so that the new route would take us along the eastern side of the Sea of Cortez. From Mazatlan to Nicaragua, I will follow the path used by TDA Global Cycling.”
A Philanthropic Adventure with a Festive Touch
Inspired by his Santa-themed start point and his expected arrival time close to Christmas, Fletcher will be toting $200 in gifts with him to Panama, where he says he plans on giving them out to local children. He’s also started writing a book on the effort, which he’s calling ‘Octogenarian Odyssey: Trading the Sofa for a Bicycle Seat.’