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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 13:00 GMT
'Hardest day' for world cyclist
Mark Beaumont (picture courtesy of David Peat)
Mark Beaumont was left bruised and shaken after the crash
A Scottish cyclist has vowed to complete his round-the-world record attempt, despite being knocked over and robbed on the same day.

Mark Beaumont, 25, set off from Paris on 5 August last year, with the aim of smashing the current fastest time of 276 days, 19 hrs and 15 mins.

However, as he cycled through Louisiana he was run over by an elderly lady and then robbed in a drugs den motel.

Mr Beaumont is now back on his bike and has promised to finish the challenge.

His trouble started when he was cycling through a crossroads in the town of Mamou.

Unbeknown to us, that was the roughest part of town and the worst place to stay, it was a bit of a crack house where gangs hired rooms and basically got high smoking crack
Mark Beaumont

The light was green but he was hit by a woman who had apparently skipped the red light.

Mr Beaumont, who is originally from Bridge of Cally near Blairgowrie but now lives in Edinburgh, said: "The outcome of that was that I was pretty shaken up and bruised."

He said the bike's front wheels had completely buckled and the front cage of the bike was seriously damaged after taking the worst of the blow.

There was no cycle shop in Mamou, so the son of the woman who knocked him down drove him to a town where he could get the bike fixed and stay in a motel.

Mr Beaumont said: "Unbeknown to us, that was the roughest part of town and that was the worst place to stay, it was a bit of a crack house where gangs hired rooms and basically got high smoking crack."

Remaining focused

That night while the cyclist was distracted by a fight going on outside, his wallet and the BBC camera he was using to film a documentary were stolen from his room.

He then had to manoeuvre through groups of addicts when he tried to leave the motel.

Things were so bad the police offered him an escort.

"They came and just got me out of there", Mr Beaumont said.

Mark Beaumont
Mr Beaumont is now continuing on with the challenge

"They turned up with a couple of cars and put the bike in the back and took me to the bike shop".

The cyclist has admitted that what happened to him has taken its toll.

He said: "I think mentally I've been trying to keep myself going and focused for five-and-a-half months now.

"Every day I gave myself the same boundary to keep going and I suppose after that, when something like this happens, it's going to shake you up even more."

To stick to the Guinness World Record rules, Mr Beaumont then had to return to the place where the road accident happened.

He told the BBC: "The way to focus is to get back on the bike, despite being a little bit bruised.

"I still don't doubt the final outcome.

"I know I can get to Paris in one piece, but I think once I do get to Paris, my body's going to completely flop."

Midway point in global challenge
13 Nov 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
World cyclist reaches New Zealand
19 Dec 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife


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