Coming face to face with Siberian brown bear in the Russian wilderness was possibly the last thing Louis Snellgrove had on his mind when he set off on a cycle ride which would allow him to see the world.
Nonetheless, that was one of many exploits the emergency and helicopter rescue doctor and his colleague Lloyd Collier say they have got up to during their fundraising Guinness World Record attempt to make the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by tandem bicycle.
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The pair are aiming to raise money for the Spinal Research and Australia-based Brain Foundation charities.
Dr Collier, from Pontyclun, Wales, is raising money in memory of his Uncle, Alun, who died in March last year.
Alun began using a wheelchair following a spinal injury at the age of 29, and Dr Collier references his uncle as his “inspiration in life”.
Soon his adventures with Dr Snellgrove, who is originally from Burley in Leeds but now lives in Australia, will come to an end.
Looking back on some of their memories, Dr Snellgrove, whose mother owns Mister Fish on Kirkstall Road, said: “We have encountered many trials and tribulations on our journey thus far including being hit by a truck on our first day, robbed at knife point in the Gobi desert of Mongolia, coming face to face with a Siberian brown bear in the Russian wilderness and knocked off our bicycle by a selfie taking motorcyclist in India to name but a few.”
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The friends cycle more than 60 miles a day on average despite having to sleep in a tent in the wilderness, cook on a fire – even in sub-zero conditions – and carry all their own provisions. So far, they have covered more than 11,800 miles and aim to complete over 18,000.
They are now in Miami on day 206 of their challenge and heading to San Francisco, then cycling across New Zealand before finishing in Australia.
Countries the colleagues have cycled through include China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Morocco.
In March 2017, George Agate and John Whybrow circumnavigated the globe on a tandem in 290 days and entered the Guinness Book of Records as the first to achieve the feat - the doctors must beat this time to break the record.