Congrats to McKenzie Barney on Completing Her Cycle the World Project


Congrats to McKenzie Barney on Completing Her Cycle the World Project

We’re a little late to the congratulatory party but we want to congratulate writer, filmmaker, endurance-rider, and Radavist contributor, McKenzie Barney on the completion of her Cycle the World Project! McKenzie has shared several stories from her 18,000-mile journey that spanned five continents, and four years, and we can’t wait to see more stories from this impressive journey.

Cycle the World

After transitioning from thru-hiking to cyclo-touring, McKenzie Barney quickly found herself hooked on the two-wheeled version of long-distance, self-propelled travel. Upon completion of two multi-week rides, she found herself looking for an organizing element around which to continue pursuing country-traversing bike exploration. Below, McKenzie describes what drew her toward completing the Guinness Book of World Record’s distance requirement for circumnavigating the globe, and a few memorable moments along the way:

“I come from a thru-hiking background which naturally transitioned into bikepacking. Seeing faraway corners of our planet by two-wheels seemed like an ideal speed to immerse in foreign cultures and traverse large land masses.

For my maiden bikepacking voyage I flew into Vietnam, bought a used bike and rode north. By the time I arrived in Hanoi I was hooked on bicycle touring. I set my sights toward another solo tour for six weeks through Europe (Istanbul to Amsterdam), which then led to a five-month voyage down the length of Africa (Cairo to Cape Town) with my partner James. Africa was supposed to be the end of my cycling chapter, but it only left me wanting more. That’s when I came across the 29,000-kilometer (18,000-mile) Guinness Book of World Records metric, and seeing as I was already over halfway, decided to continue toward a Cycle the World goal. So I rode New Zealand’s Tour Aotearoa in the South Island and across Australia from Melbourne to Perth via the Nullarbor Plain in the sizzling summer. The grand finale of my quest was riding the spine of the Andes from Bolivia to Bogota in South America.”

Along the way I crossed the equator twice, was stuck in a military coup in Sudan, ambushed by a wild African elephant in Botswana, narrowly dodged a spear thrown by a Samburu tribesman in Kenya, raced a horse-and-buggy in Bulgaria, summited 16,000 foot passes in Peru’s remote Andes, crossed one of the harshest desert environments (link to Australia) and largest salt flats on the planet.

This Cycle the World project started back in 2019 in Southeast Asia, underwent a hiatus due to the pandemic, was picked back up in 2021 and completed in 2023. I had to stop along the way to work, as this was an entirely self-funded endeavor.

I worried if I would ever be content at the end of this global cycling tour. This was an ambitious, colossal project that spanned long days on the bike that accumulated to years of growth and solo introspection. South America clarified one final lesson when I witnessed the heartbreaking Venezuelan refugee situation and realized what a privilege I have to pursue a dream of seeing the world by bicycle, when others are just traveling toward a better life.

I look forward to my next quest, which will be sharing these stories in a Cycle the World film and speaking tour this Fall.”