I first published this article three years ago with an extract from my book How To Cycle Around The World. I asked nine cyclists who had done big cycling trips how much it cost them. Today I am updating the article with data from one hundred and thirty one long distance cycle journeys. A vast improvement.
The data comes from the Database of Long Distance Cycle Journeys: a free online resource with detailed quantitative data from over 200 different cyclists who have completed bike trips of 6,000 miles (10,000km) or more.
Average Monthly Cost of Cycling Around the World
The average monthly cost of a cycling trip over 6,000 miles (10,000km) is £546 (mean) and £385 (median.) The costs range from a low of £56 per month to a high of £4,167.
This is based on a sample of 114 cyclists who have completed journeys of 6,000 miles or more. It is calculated simply by dividing total trip cost by the number of months. It includes all expenses whilst away but not pre-trip costs.
(N.B. Those spending over £1,000/month are almost exclusively Round-the-World record attempts.)
Total Cost of Cycling Around the World
The average total cost for a cycling trip over 6,000 miles (10,000km) is £7,610 (mean) and £6,000 (median). The range is from a low of £773 to a high of £30,430. It includes all expenses whilst away but not pre-trip costs.
The trips range from 5 months and 10,000km to 10 years and 150,000km+ so, of course, there will be a wide range of total costs regardless of each cyclists’ approach to budgeting. But even still, £3k-£10k covers the vast majority of all long distance trips.
This is based on a sample of 131 cyclists who have completed journeys of 6,000 miles (10,000km) or more.
Finally, I’ve entitled this piece ‘Cycling Around the World’ because it’s catchy but the actual journeys may just be long trips on a one continent or two rather than actually across the globe.
Here’s a small selection of some of the cheapest trips registered at LDCJ.
|Cyclists||Trip||Distance (km)||Duration||Total Cost||Monthly Cost||Cost per km|
|Lehel Benedek & Előd Keresszegi||15 months around Europe||33,580km||1 yr, 3 m||£840||£56||£0.03|
|Pablo Mandado & Ilze Zebolde||On-going round the world||10,350km||10 m||£773||£70||£0.07|
|Moritz Koch||Never ending world trip?||19,090km||10 m||£840||£84||£0.04|
|Martin Moschek & Stefan Löw||From Germany to India||13,500km||5 m||£924||£185||£0.07|
|Alastair Humphreys||Round the world||73,000km||4 yrs, 3 m||£7,000||£135||£0.10|
And here are some of the more costly cycling journeys:
|Mark Beaumont||Around the world record attempt||29,446km||6 m||£25,000||£4,167||£0.85|
|Amaya Williams & Eric Schambion||Quest to cycle every country||147,210km||7yrs, 6m||£24,344||£270||£0.17|
|Rick Gunn||A journey around the globe||40,233km||2 yrs, 8 m||£30,430||£951||£0.76|
|Sean Conway||Competed in Global Bicycle Race||26,000km||5 m||£16,156||£3,000||£0.58|
Below is the content of my original article from 2012…
Asking how much it costs to cycle around the world is a bit like trying to work out how long a piece of string is. However, I thought a good place to start would be to ask a handful of people who had done it.
Their answers are below.
- Duration: 6 months
- Route: Across Europe, India, Australasia and North America in pursuit of the world record.
- Cost: £25,000
I don’t think that is a good guide as I had a lot of costs that most wouldn’t as I went for the record and filmed a doc for the BBC”
- Duration: 6 months
- Route: From Europe to Shanghai, up New Zealand and across North America in an attempt to break the world record.
- Cost: £3000 on the road plus £2000 on flights
This was more than necessary because time constraints meant I was paying other people to cook for me but it could definitely be done for comfortably less”
- Duration: 3 years
- Route: From Japan, through South East Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
- Cost: £6,000 – £6,500
Don’t use this figure or anyone else’s as a benchmark. The beauty of cycle touring is that it offers you flexibility. Once you’re set up it’s you who makes the decisions according to your budget.”
- Duration: 3 years
- Route: From Canada, through Europe, Middle East, South East Asia, Australasia and back to North America.
- Cost: $25,216 (USD) each for everything including transport, gear, insurance, medical and visas.
Complete and detailed breakdown of all their costs available on their website.
- Duration: 1 year
- Route: Across Eurasia, up half of South America and across the USA.
- Cost: £12,000 including new bike, kit, flights, visas.
The usual answer I give is: everything, you will cash in all your favours, sell all your old stuff and eek out all your savings! I still think it was cheaper than staying in the UK!“
- Duration: 4 years
- Route: Length of Africa, Americas and Eurasia working on the premise that less money spent meant more time on the road.
- Cost: £7,000
I saved my loans through University and left home with about £7000. This easily lasted more than 4 years. A diet of bread and bananas, sleeping rough, and focused, disciplined ascetism mean you can travel most of the world very cheaply.”
- Duration: 1.5 years
- Route: Across Eurasia and South America.
- Cost: €7,000 each including flights. €5,000’s worth of high-end kit donated by sponsors.
I could have comfortably done the whole thing – kit, camping, bike, flights – for 7k. Having sponsors gave us more cash but imposed constraints and tied us into certain itineraries”
- Duration: 2.5 years
- Route: From Japan through China, Central Asia and Europe to the UK. Return journey by skateboard.
- Cost: £11,000 on the road. £3,000 on kit.
If we’re just talking monetary costs, it is extremely expensive if we add in lost income. Something not insignificant. Of course, I consider it worth the sacrifice.”
- Duration: 2.5 years
- Route: Across Eurasia, Australia and South America
- Cost: €15,000
What do you need money for, if you travel on a bike with a tent? ”
If you liked this then you’ll probably like the Database of Long Distance Cycle Journeys (LDCJ). It has detailed data from over 200 long-distance cyclists including their daily costs and cost per mile.