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AROUND THE WORLD AT 18 | LE COL X CHARLES CONDELL

It's not every 18 year old that decides to cycle around the world. Starting in Bristol, Charles Condell's attempt to be the youngest solo rider to circle the globe made headlines when his bike and kit were stolen in Queensland Australia. Hearing Charles' story, we decided to get in touch.

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I've been riding a bike for as long as I can remember, my first introduction to road bikes was when I was around 13. I started on my mum's aluminium Specialized, going out to Clevedon from Bristol with a couple mates before venturing out on longer rides with my dad.

 

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I've been riding a bike for as long as I can remember, my first introduction to road bikes was when I was around 13. I started on my mum's aluminium Specialized, going out to Clevedon from Bristol with a couple mates before venturing out on longer rides with my dad.

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I was inspired by Mark Beaumont, Sean Conway and Alistair Humphreys all being incredible great examples. Also the current record holder - Tom Davies, absolute legend, and a top guy! I knew that I wanted to make my gap year into a real adventure, so I reasoned that there isn't a much greater challenge in the world of cycling the entire planet!

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I was inspired by Mark Beaumont, Sean Conway and Alistair Humphreys all being incredible great examples. Also the current record holder - Tom Davies, absolute legend, and a top guy! I knew that I wanted to make my gap year into a real adventure, so I reasoned that there isn't a much greater challenge in the world of cycling the entire planet!

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"I think something is only daunting if you make it out to be that way - it's all in your head..."

"I think something is only daunting if you make it out to be that way - it's all in your head..."

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A record like this is a mental game. Before this challenge the most I'd cycled by myself was 140km in the Cardiff Velothon. It's also the loneliness that gets you sometimes. It's fine when you're cycling along, but in the evenings, or when something amazing happens, there's no one to turn to in that moment.

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A record like this is a mental game. Before this challenge the most I'd cycled by myself was 140km in the Cardiff Velothon. It's also the loneliness that gets you sometimes. It's fine when you're cycling along, but in the evenings, or when something amazing happens, there's no one to turn to in that moment.

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There have certainly been intimidating moments, from being chased by a pack of massive farm dogs, to being challenged to a brawl by drunken Serbians! I was entirely oblivious to my age. It only hit me when I was out of money, no card, and very hungry in Jaipur. I think something is only daunting if you make it out to be that way - it's all in your head.

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There have certainly been intimidating moments, from being chased by a pack of massive farm dogs, to being challenged to a brawl by drunken Serbians! I was entirely oblivious to my age. It only hit me when I was out of money, no card, and very hungry in Jaipur. I think something is only daunting if you make it out to be that way - it's all in your head.

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" To begin with it was more frustration, but over the past 48 hours I've grown more angry with the thief...."

" To begin with it was more frustration, but over the past 48 hours I've grown more angry with the thief...."

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I've seen some of my favourite riders wear Le Col Kit. It always looks so professional and clean! My mate Josh highly recommended it, and from the moment I opened the box I knew that it was some special stuff. I'm convinced that few other bib shorts could withstand day after day of constant wear, whilst also being swam in, slept in, and pretty much only getting a bathroom sink and bar of soap wash until Delhi!

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I've seen some of my favourite riders wear Le Col Kit. It always looks so professional and clean! My mate Josh highly recommended it, and from the moment I opened the box I knew that it was some special stuff. I'm convinced that few other bib shorts could withstand day after day of constant wear, whilst also being swam in, slept in, and pretty much only getting a bathroom sink and bar of soap wash until Delhi!

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I've had so many amazing days on the bike so far. From crossing the Alps in Austria, to cruising along deserted sea side highways in Turkey. One of my best experiences must have been my first proper mornings ride in Australia, down the first few kilometres of highway one. The sunrise was beautiful, and the road absolute perfection - perhaps one of the best on the trip!

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I've had so many amazing days on the bike so far. From crossing the Alps in Austria, to cruising along deserted sea side highways in Turkey. One of my best experiences must have been my first proper mornings ride in Australia, down the first few kilometres of highway one. The sunrise was beautiful, and the road absolute perfection - perhaps one of the best on the trip!

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When I discovered my bike was gone, my heart sank. To begin with it was more frustration, but over the past 48 hours I've grown more angry with the thief. Not just because of what he's done to me and my trip, but also for how he is making the people of Townsville feel.

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When I discovered my bike was gone, my heart sank. To begin with it was more frustration, but over the past 48 hours I've grown more angry with the thief. Not just because of what he's done to me and my trip, but also for how he is making the people of Townsville feel.

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"I've got no idea where I'm going to be the night after I set off, the whole thing is as adventurous as I can make it!"

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The people of Townsville have been amazing! Since that first post on Facebook asking for people to keep a lookout for my bike, the whole thing has just blown up. I've even just done an interview for national Swedish radio! Everyone is offering help and words of support. I'm absolutely blown away by the whole response.

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The people of Townsville have been amazing! Since that first post on Facebook asking for people to keep a lookout for my bike, the whole thing has just blown up. I've even just done an interview for national Swedish radio! Everyone is offering help and words of support. I'm absolutely blown away by the whole response.
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The thing that keeps me going is the thought of getting home, but also not knowing what's ahead. I've got no idea where I'm going to be the night after I set off, the whole thing is as adventurous as I can make it! I also feel like there's such a massive following, that I can't let either the people down, or myself. I know that if I give up without a good reason, then I'll regret it for the rest of my life.
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The thing that keeps me going is the thought of getting home, but also not knowing what's ahead. I've got no idea where I'm going to be the night after I set off, the whole thing is as adventurous as I can make it! I also feel like there's such a massive following, that I can't let either the people down, or myself. I know that if I give up without a good reason, then I'll regret it for the rest of my life.

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We'd like to thank Charles for taking the time to talk to us about his adventure. If you're interested in following his progress or supporting his attempt, follow him on Instagram at @RTWCharlie.