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      Film Series - Women in the Wild: Jenny

      By Dawn Rainbolt
      More by Dawn

      Episode 4 - Jenny

      “Once I started hitting 100-mile back-to-back days, I was like, this is pretty cool. I looked at the Around the World record, and realised I was doing these days already.” 

       

      This is Episode 4 in our film series celebrating  Women in Adventures.

      Up until five years ago, Inverness native Jenny Graham had never done – or wanted to do – any competitive cycling. However, a keen cyclist Jenny had always loved exploring the rugged forests, mountains and glens of Scotland on two wheels.

      Several years ago, on a whim, Jenny followed the progress of the Highland Trail 550, an intense 550-mile bike-packing race that, like many competitive sports including cycling, tends to be male-dominated. The first woman to take part in the Highland Trail was Strathspey local, Iona Evans – the only pink dot in a sea of blue.

      “Why is there only one lassie? That’s ridiculous!” Inspired by Iona and keen to challenge herself and add another female rider to the race, Jenny signed up. Although her first races were tough, Jenny was tougher. Despite incredible fatigue, a sore and strained body, and a DNF on her first attempt there was also the realisation this was love. The rest is history.

      In 2018, Jenny set off on a gruelling solo and unsupported journey to be the fastest women to cycle round the world.

      She did it. It’s a record she still holds today.

      Around the World in 124 Days

      You’ve heard of the 19th century novel, Around the World in 80 Days which details a Victorian gentleman’s journey around the world by rail and steamer boat. Now, imagine doing that in the 21st century. On a bike.

      Battling sore muscles, unchartered terrain, and “imposter syndrome,” competitive cycling was never something Jenny sought out to do. However, after travelling well over 100 miles in a day bike-packing as a hobby, and keen to include more women in the traditionally male-dominated area of competitive cycling, riding round the world seemed like the next logical step. From the start, she knew her round-the-world journey would be a Guinness World Record attempt. This means cycling at least 18,000 miles with the whole trip covering 24,900 miles. The circumference of the Earth. She set out solo and unsupported.

      Jenny’s route covered four continents and 15 countries. Starting in Germany, crossing Europe, Russia, Central Asia, China. Then through the islands of Oceania including Australia and New Zealand before heading north to Alaska, Canada, and across the USA. Then journeying back through Europe returning to Germany.

      Jenny’s record-breaking trip involved just four flights and one boat journey.

      It took 124 days, 10 hours and 50 minutes and smashed the previous record by a full 20 days.

      Women in the Wild Episode 4: Jenny

      Watch all 'Women in the Wild' Episodes

      Meet the Author: Dawn Rainbolt

      “American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture, intriguing history, ancient castles, cheery locals and sweeping landscapes of Ireland.”

      View profileMore by Dawn

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