Who is Nick? MBE
1981 Around the World by Bicycle the First Time
Age 23, no sponsors, no money, lived in my tent for 7 months. Cycled around the world in 138 days. I don't think many people knew I'd left or if I'd come back, but I knew I'd started what I wanted to be, an adventurer!
1983 Journey to the Source of the Nile
My first sponsor - VIMTO paid for the ride. This was my first solo effort into Africa and to the source of the world's longest river. I followed the river and then the railway line out of Wadi Halfa to Dongola. First of 15 books published. When I got to central Africa after 4165 miles, I then rode back.
1984 22 Days Around the Coast of Britain
This was a hard one. I rode around the coast as a training ride in about 3 or 4 months then immediately attacked the then record of 130+ days and by riding 171 miles a day brought it down to 22. It's not been beaten yet. As always, my Dad was there to see me home.
1985 Around the World in 80 Days
If the coast ride was the training run, this was the real ride. 171 miles a day, solo, unsupported. SPAR gave me proper money to represent their brand. We raised £20,000 for BBC's Save the Children charity and so successful was their PR campaign around the ride, they hired me for another year to fly their hot air balloon.
In 1985, the BBC magazine Radio Times was the largest circulation television weekly in the world. My projects were published by them many times.
The project was filmed around the world by BBC 2 for a 6pm weekend prime-time schedule which received 2 million views.
1986 Trans Sahara by Bicycle
Whilst we had the balloon built for a new SPAR campaign, I set off over the winter to cycle from Manchester to Timbuktu which included a solo ride across the Tamanrasset route over the Sahara Desert.
1986 BBC TV series, 'Hot Air'
SPAR bought into a £100k PR campaign where I flew a balloon around the UK to raise £120,000 for the BBC's charity 'Save the Children.' Also created a 6 part TV series for BBC 1 called 'Hot Air' interviewing celebrities in the balloon as I flew them where they lived: Victoria Wood, David Bellamy et al
1987 The Cadbury Chocolate Run
Part of my strategy over the years was to diversify into different types of historical adventure. Sandwiched between the cycling journeys were well funded projects such as ballooning but also a horse-drawn canal boat journey from Liverpool to London. By collecting raw supplies of sugar and cocoa from Stanley Docks in Liverpool, we had them processed into chocolate at the Cadbury factory in Bourneville to be then carried to London. The horse was called 'Crunchie' by the way!
1990 Short Summer in South America
Back to cycling when I went out to Patagonia to ride from the southernmost tip of South America to Ecuador. Unsponsored. I just wanted to go and do the ride for me, to continue the 'adventure apprenticeship' as a young guy. For me, it's not always about getting press but getting experience.
1992 First Motorcycle Journey Around the World
Back to the drawing board. To learn how to become a long distance biker. Partly supported by Enfield Motorcycles I rode 38,000 miles in 7 months to prove the point that I was able to ride a bike. I had no idea what was to come next!
1993 Longest Canal Boat Journey in the World
Back to the drawing board again! To learn how to become a long distance canal boater. I raised £100,000 to have a motor and butty boat commissioned. Cash funded by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (Banks's Beer), the adventure was called the 'Banks's Black Country to Black Sea Expedition' and 30 years later is still the longest canal boat journey ever undertaken.
The butty sunk in bad weather near Bratislava but was recovered to complete the journey.
1995 Fastest Man Around the World
This was a breakthrough year. The world wide web (www) internet had just been invented and I had three blue ribbon sponsors: Mobil Oil, Triumph Motorcycles and crucially IBM computers. This project was the first circumnavigation to appear on the internet. We received 50 million unique users and proved to be a massive hit. This adventure would set the tone for the next 18 years.
This project was the first circumnavigation to appear on the internet. We received 50 million unique users in a month and it proved to be a massive hit.
1996 - 2004 3 Journeys Around the World (Global Rider TV Show)
During this period I motorcycled around the world three times but also three times along the length of the Americas. Twice leading clients on road trips over 30,000 miles, once to film a 10 part television series for Granada Sky called 'Global Rider,' along with 70 other programmes filmed in Ireland, France, Spain and Morocco. I also got married, bought a farm in Wales and became a Dad to three beautiful children.
2005 Journey Beyond Reason
(around the world in 19 days)
Sponsored by Yamaha, we constructed a 19,800 miles journey around the world which was ridden in 19 days 4 hours, a daily average of 1000 miles each day. The bike was the 2005 R1, 171 kilos with 171 BHP. One of the lightest and fastest super sports bikes.
2008 Parallel World
Again sponsored by Yamaha, Parallel World was a 38,000 miles journey that engaged with a route to travel the longest distance around the world in the relatively short time of 5 months; basically riding the length of each of the world's continents as the ride went around the planet.
2009 Parallel Coast
Parallel Coast of Britain was a companion project with Parallel World. The pattern of travel is such that after a world ride, I look locally for something closer to home. this was the Coastline of Britain; film & book.
2012 Incredible Ride (record ride in the Americas)
This concluded my greatest period of record breaking. Between 1996 and 2012 I rode the 16,000 mile length of the Americas 8 times. The fastest ever time to complete this journey was 21 days 4 hours by Dick Fish. Due to a technical difficulty 300kms from the finish at Ushuaia, the southernmost city on earth, I missed the record by 4 hours. By now I had a second wife, Dr Caroline and she said I had to ride back. Well, I'd ridden north to south in 21 days 8 hours so once I become only the second fastest rider to do this run I turned around and rode south to north in 24 days to complete the only known recorded double transit of the world's longest road, the Pan American Highway.
"The record motorbike rides around the world, along the Americas, were projects patterned on the early cycling records. I think the crossover from bicycle to motorbike and possibly back to bicycle is unique. This compliments my own view of my life on two wheels."
2016 Nick Sanders Expedition Centre
Completed in 2016, on the southern edge of Snowdonia, deep in the heart of mid Wales, the Centre has been operational for 6 years. European press launches for Yamaha, Continental Tyres and Touratech have been planned here. Primarily catering for motorcyclists and soon for cyclists and electric cyclists, the venue, with it's own small dining room, cinema, bar, festival stage and shepherds huts accommodations, could be unique in the UK.
2018 Journey to Mongolia
It was like returning to my early days - get on bike, tell no one, just do it, see what happens. I rode from Wales to Ulaanbaatar. Across Russia, Siberia and the Gobi, alone of course and it was a little cold! Published book #14 but this time reviewed by the Guardian newspaper.
2019 Paris - Dakar
Russia, Mongolia, Motorcycle, Me
I must say it is a minor masterpiece, one of the best short travelogues I know - and short ones are always the best.
First of all you are elegiac in praise of motorbikes, not my favourite vehicle, which I now see in a new light. I shall certainly drive more carefully in the light of 'highway hypnosis'.
You brilliantly fuse the personal and the practical, the immediate and the eternal. I admire your spare but always pertinent use of quotations. There is enough of you and not too much. The pictures are excellent. Above all, unlike so many such travel books, every page, every encounter, is utterly plausible. You almost make me want to follow in your footsteps, even if you don't quite answer your own question, For God's sake why? I think I prefer deja vu to your jamais vu and a "pummelling by random thoughts on time and space". I like your reflections on Pascal.
Ed. Evening Standard 1976 - 78
Times 1990 - 92
2019 (summer) Paris - Dakar
August 2019, the birth of Yamaha's flagship adventure bike, the indomitable Ténéré 700. I rode the bike from the MBK factory east of Paris to Senegal, retracing the idea of the word "Ténéré" - arabic for "Desert" - a trademark name that has been linked to Yamaha's history for making dual purpose adventure motorcycles.
2019 (winter) Nick's World Ride - interrupted by Covid, resumes Feb 2022
November 2019, the follow on feature to the test development of Yamaha's flagship adventure bike was another big ride, my 8th circumnavigation by motorcycle, my 10th circumnavigation overall.......ongoing.