Dad with zero experience trying to break record for longest distance traveled on 50cc moped
“I’m not convinced who will break down first – me or the bike."
By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS
A dad-of-two will attempt to break the record for the longest distance covered on a 50cc moped – despite having never ridden a motorbike before in his life.
Mark Johnston, 50, aims to trek more than 10,200 miles during his epic journey across mainland Europe on a yellow and white Honda Super Cub, which only goes 30mph.
To add to the challenge, he'll sleep on the road, won’t take a GPS and has only taken the spritely two-wheeler in a few practice spins on the road in preparation.
Mark, a charity CEO is aiming to ride 255miles a day across 30 countries to beat the record - and will set off next Sunday (June 12).
But there is a risk the self-funded challenge, which will raise money for local libraries and humanitarian causes in Ukraine, will be too much for his four-year-old moped.
Mark said: “I’m not convinced who will break down first – me or the bike. It will be a close-run thing, to be honest, but you don’t break a world record unless it’s pretty hard.
"They’ve got a reputation for being the best little bikes ever built, and I think there’s something like 12 million of them already in circulation.
“But they’re not designed to carry a 16 stone (224 pounds) man with all his gear for over 10,000 miles.
“I’ve never been biking, and I haven’t got a bike license, so I’m driving it on my car license.
“I’m not into biking in any way shape or form, so that’s an extra part of the challenge, and something my wife isn’t very happy about."
"She says I haven’t practiced enough, but I think I’ll be okay.
“It’s an anniversary bike that you can’t really buy in the UK. I got it imported from Japan for me, so it’s hardly got any miles on it."
Mark will begin his journey from his home in Irby, England, and hopes to complete the circular route in just 42 days.
He plans to travel into the arctic circle in Norway, before dropping down into the Baltics and crossing over to the Mediterranean, then riding back across central Europe.
And he'll mostly be sleeping on the side of the road in his hammock after riding all day on a bike that's normally just used for whizzing around cities.
Mark said: “I’m not taking a satnav. I want to get back to basics and I want to be stopping and talking to people and asking for directions and being more connected.
“Every kilogram I add to the bike is detrimental, so I have a hammock, and where there are trees and it’s quiet, I’ll throw up my hammock and grab a few hours.
“When I’m in the arctic circle, obviously, there are no trees and it could be quite cold, and there could be lot of mosquitos.
"So I also do have a small tent that I will pop up every now and again.
“But I’m almost sure people will put me up when they hear the story en route. It’s happened when I’ve been hitchhiking and people buy into the adventure.”
Mark, who recently came back from an aid run to Ukraine with his charity, said despite the uneasy security situation in Eastern Europe, it was a good time to make friends.
He said: “I’ll be going very close to the Finnish-Russian border, the Baltics with Latvia, and with a big Russian population, there could be a lot of unease.
“I’ve obviously just come back from the Polish-Ukrainian border, and Moldova there are some concerns about whether Russia might turn their eye to them next.
“Europe does seem a bit unsettled, but there’s probably never a better time now to go and make friends and find out what’s really going on, on the ground.”
The epic trip is just one of several madcap missions he’s undertaken having previously driven a hearse to the arctic circle and a limousine to the Sahara.
Mark, who runs the charity Pioneer People Wirral, added: “I’ve always been interested in really long journeys using daft transport.
"I’ll quite often just get a one-way flight to somewhere and just hitchhike home.
“I’ve done that from Albania, and Ukraine and Georgia, and I’ve taken a hearse to the artic circle.
“And then I found a world record where if you clear 10,210 miles you can break a world record.
“Eight of our local libraries are due to be closed because of government cuts.
“So I thought let’s do a charity run and put the money into trying to rescue at least one of our local libraries and have a chunk of money so that we can help people in Ukraine.”
Visit here to donate to Mark's 50CC moped mission.
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