At the age of 65, most people would be thinking about slowing down and relaxing a little more.
Try telling that to Nick Sanders, however, who is about to attempt to become the first person in the world to circumnavigate the globe on an e-bike.
The intrepid Mancunian sets off on Friday from Rotterdam and will be on the road for the next seven-and-a-half months, his epic solo journey seeing him cover 19,000 riding miles through 20 countries powered by just a single battery and a spare.
Nick’s record attempt will be aboard a Wabash, the first-ever e-bike manufactured by Yamaha.
His journey will see him initially head south from the Netherlands with a projected arrival in Athens 18 days later.
From the Greek capital he’ll take the ferry to Haifa in Israel from where he’ll plot a course to Dubai via the Empty Quarter, part of the vast Arabian Desert. Mumbai is his next port of call, from where he’ll spend the next 40 days riding across India, including the Himalayas, en route to south-east Asia.
He’ll then head through Indonesia before riding the length of Australia from Darwin to Adeleide before landing in New Zealand from where he’ll fly from Auckland to Los Angeles before crossing the USA to New York for a flight back home at the end of April.
One of the world’s most experienced motorcycle adventurers, having already ridden around the world by motorbike and bicycle ten times – he was awarded an MBE in 2019 for ‘services to endurance cycling and motorcycling’ – the new challenge represents something completely different, with the e-bike restricted to 28km/h (16 mph).
A renowned globetrotter on two wheels, the father of three plans to record his journey via daily blogs and short video films but what possessed him to take on the attempt at his age?
“The e-bike is a revolutionary style of vehicle, the kind anybody can ride,” he said. “Most people are hesitant to ride ordinary bicycles as it is hard work but the e-bike takes a lot of the pain away.
“The bottom line is that every electric bike journey out there is one car journey less and that has to be a good thing for the environment.
“I’ve been thinking about this for the last two or three years and then Yamaha, who I have been with for the past 20 years or so, brought out an electric bicycle for the first time in their history so I suppose it was right time, right place for me.”
It’s all a far cry from his upbringing in a tough council estate in Ancoats in Manchester.
Now based in Powys, Wales, Nick has been in training for months and he’ll need to be in peak condition with no support team travelling alongside.
“I’m completely on my own from first thing in the morning when I set off to when I pull in for the day,” said Nick, whose challenge is also being supported by Squire Locks and Route YC.
“There’s no fear from my side. Yes, I’ve got to be careful about where I’m travelling because on a bicycle you’re a sitting duck. I am the slowest thing on the road and everything overtakes me. The biggest challenge might be the traffic in places like India.
“The bike is limited to about 28kmh and will come into its own on long steep hills such as when I’m going through the Himalayas. I can’t wait to experience that and show people how easy it is on an e-bike!
“You’re reliant on being a very jolly chap to stay alive. There’s a 10% chance of something going wrong. But there’s a 90% chance that I will come home. The majority of people are going to be so nice and kind. The world is a wonderful place and 99.9% of people are lovely but we tend to forget that.
“The bike won’t break down, I have every confidence in what Yamaha have produced. It’s more to do with me and if I start to fail or if I have a crash. I don’t think I will fail as I have been training really hard and feel strong and fit. If I have an accident, it would have to be a really bad knock to stop me doing this.”