Last month, Scottish cyclist Jenny Graham became the fastest woman to cycle around the world. The 38-year-old took 124 days, 10 hours and 49 minutes to complete the ride, starting and finishing in the German capital, Berlin, via Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
Although she appears to have soundly beaten the previous record of 144 days, set by Italian Paola Gianotti, in 2014, this has yet to be ratified by Guinness World Records. Its rules state that “a rider must travel the same distance as the circumference of the Earth – 24,900 miles [40,000km] – in one direction, starting and finishing in the same place. Travel by sea and air is allowed, but at least 18,000 miles of the route must be cycled”.
Although she took four flights, Graham cycled 29,657km – or 18,428 miles – so Guinness recognition should be a formality. For more on Graham’s record-breaking ride, visit bikepacking.com.
Hailed as the first woman to circle the globe by bicycle, Latvian-American Annie Londonderry rode for a much shorter distance over about one year, in 1894-95, making most of her journey by steamship. She sailed all the way from France to Japan, via Singapore and Hong Kong, for example, in only six weeks. Sadly, she was noted mainly for her unladylike attire in the Singapore and Hong Kong papers, who also criticised the needlessly fabricated stories of grand adventure written on her return home.
“We fear though wilt come no more, Gentle Annie, this way round. You would have too many things to explain,” wittered The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, while Hong Kong’s China Mail dubbed her “a brilliant and original fictionist”. Her true story is, however, still a remarkable one, and was discovered and told by her great-grandnephew, Peter Zheutlin, in his book Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride (2007).
Pullman opens first Japanese hotel in Tokyo
AccorHotels took over the upmarket and venerable Pullman hotel brand in the early 1990s, then inexplicably proceeded to rebrand every Pullman property as a Sofitel. Presumably seeing the error of its ways, the French company then resurrected the name as Pullman Hotels and Resorts in 2007, with talk of 300 hotels by 2015.
Still some way behind that figure, with about 125 properties in operation, Pullman has just opened its first Japanese hotel (above), in Tokyo. The 143-room Pullman Tokyo Tamachi’s claim to be “surrounded by beautiful canals” isn’t entirely accurate, but it is in a pleasant location, with easy access to Haneda Airport, and is linked by a covered walkway to Tamachi station, on the Yamanote line, which connects most of the city’s popular tourist areas.
Visit pullmanhotels.com for a closer look and opening rates.
Deal of the week – three nights in Bangkok, Thailand
Connexus Travel is selling a three-night package to Bangkok for bookings made before November 9. Prices, including flights with Thai Airways and daily breakfast, are listed from HK$2,490 per person (twin share) for stays at the Marriott Marquis Bangkok Queen’s Park and from HK$2,980 at the Anantara Siam Bangkok.
Departure dates are from November 16 to December 15 and from January 15 to March 30. For more details, go to connexustravel.com.
Lonely Planet launches the 19th edition of Southeast Asia on a Shoestring
The 19th edition of Southeast Asia on a Shoestring – the longest running of Lonely Planet’s once-indispensable Shoestring series of guidebooks – is out this month. Various content changes over more than 40 years have included the removal of misplaced Hong Kong and Macau chapters, and the addition of chapters on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which used to be bundled together in a discouraging five-page section called “The Other Southeast Asia”.
There was a time when few Western backpackers ventured to Southeast Asia without a copy. It is a rarer sight these days, and, at almost 1,000 pages, not practical when e-books are an option.
Fortunately, you can choose either format for the same price at shop.lonelyplanet.com, with the e-book edition offered in full, or by the chapter.