AN intrepid Inverness woman will set off on an adventure of a lifetime this summer, hoping to smash the female record for cycling round the world without a support crew.
Jenny Graham (37), who lives in the Bught area of the city, came late to adventuring but as her son Lachlan (19) grew up they began heading for the mountains on foot, bike or skis whenever they could.
Jenny, a children’s service worker at The Bridge special needs school in Inverness, said it was five years ago while planning a cycle to Romania that she was introduced to the Highland Trail 550 cycling endurance race.
From that point, she said, life "has never been the same".
"I began to merge my passion for travelling over harsh mountain environments with my love of bikes, but I was always wondering how far I could actually push myself," she said.
When she sets off from Berlin on June 16 she will do so with no back-up support vehicles, unusual for any long-distance cyclist and so far unheard of for female riders on this most gruelling of challenges.
The total distance travelled by bike and rider, including flights, must exceed 24,900 miles – the circumference of the world at the equator – to qualify for the record.
Her route will take in 15 countries, heading east through Asia, Russia, Mongolia and China before flying to Perth, Australia.
A long haul will follow across the country to Brisbane before more flying to New Zealand then Alaska where she will travel across North America to Nova Scotia before a final flight brings her back to Europe.
She said: "The current female record is 144 days fully supported but I plan to knock a month off that time and I will be totally unsupported which would make me the first woman to complete the trip under these conditions.
"My aim is to cycle 15 hours per day, during which I hope to travel 180 miles. I will be carrying three litres of water in some places and I need to eat at least 6000 calories per day. I will not be carrying loads of food but eating from place to place.
"I have done loads of endurance training, including a Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle in 96 hours, that involved cycling 220 to 250 miles per day in bad weather and much in darkness, which was quite good mental preparation."