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June 10, 2007


They met on one of the loneliest stretch of desert highway in northern Africa, hundred of miles from the nearest settlement and several days away from the nearest water resupply. It was a chance encounter between two British expeditions that will undoubtedly assist in the completion of the first circumnavigation of the world by human power.

Actors Ewan Mcgregor and Charlie Boorman, part way into their 9,500 mile motorcycle ride from north Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa entitled 'Long Way Down', ran into the first foreigner they'd seen for several days: Jason Lewis of Expedition 360, bicycling northwards on the penultimate leg of his quest to complete the first circumnavigation of the world using only human power.

'I don't know who was more surprised to see who', said Lewis, 'Me to see the first travelers on this highway for several weeks and with a vast entourage of support vehicles and camera crews in tow, or Charlie and Ewan to see this lone bicyclist in a desert region where people never usually travel alone or unsupported because of the extreme heat, lack of water and possibility of attack from wild animals.'

The daytime temperatures in this desert region of northern Sudan have been regularly peaking over 55 degrees in the lead up to the summer season. It is recognized as the most grueling stretch of the notorious Cairo to Cape Town overland route.

Before parting company the Long Way Down producers handed Lewis 1,000 pounds sterling after learning about his 13-year marathon to circumnavigate the planet using only human power and in particular his failure to attract any sponsors from the United Kingdom. It is the largest contribution from a UK source that Lewis has received since departing Greenwich in East London 13-years ago.

'It was like a windfall in the desert', said Lewis. 'One minute I was riding along worrying about how I'm going to find the money to complete the circumnavigation. The next minute BLING BLING! - I've been given enough to finish it, and in the middle of the Sahara Desert! I am hugely grateful to the Long Way Down team for their generous sponsorship. With big name actors like Ewan and Charlie it's obviously easier to attract financial backing, and it's great that they were willing to share their budget a little. We've approached literally hundreds of UK companies and institutions over the years to gain backing for Expedition 360, but our solicitations have always been rejected. It seems that if you want to get an expedition funded these days you're better off being French, German, American or Canadian - anything but British!'

Since departing the Greenwich Meridian Line in 1994, Jason Lewis has traveled 37,000 miles – over three quarters of the way around the planet - without wind or motor assistance -- pedaling a one-of-a-kind pedal boat ('Moksha', meaning liberation in Sanskrit) across the world's oceans, bicycling and rollerblading over land. On August 18th 2000, Lewis became the first in history to pedal across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco in the US to Port Douglas, Australia - 178 days and 8,000 nautical miles. In 1994, original pedaling partner Stevie Smith and Lewis completed the first East-West crossing of the Atlantic by pedal power, and a year later Lewis completed the first unsupported crossing of the USA on roller blades.

Now into its 13th year, the expedition has comprised a total of 16 legs, each constituting major expeditions in themselves. Put back to back they make Expedition 360 one of the longest endurance endeavours in history.

At present Lewis is biking through the Nubian Desert, north Sudan, towards Egypt; the last country he will travel through in Africa. The absence of any roads at times has made the going exceptionally tough, with Lewis having to push his 15-year old steel-frame bicycle, the same one he started the expedition with back in 1994, through deep sand for tens of kilometres at any one time.

After completing the African and Middle East sections to Istanbul in Turkey, Lewis intends to ride across Europe and use the pedal boat to complete the circumnavigation by pedaling up the River Thames to the Greenwich Meridian Line late this October.

As well as visiting over 800 schools since leaving England, the expedition has raised over $63,000 USD for small-scale charitable causes along the way, such as orphanages, hospices for adults and children living with HIV and AIDS.

Long Way Down is an overland expedition by British actors Ewan Mcgregor and Charlie Boorman riding motorcycles from John O Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa. They expect to finish their trip mid August this year. Traveling over 9,500 miles across two continents, they are filming a documentary for the BBC and an American network and working to raise funding and awareness for UNICEF.



Visit the Press Room on the x360 website for past press clippings, streaming video clips and photos -

Hi-res archive images are available online -

Please contact us for a password. team@expedition360.com

CONTACT: Jason Lewis, Sudan mobile # t: +249 913 14 66 07 or e: team@expedition360.com
Jim Carey: UK press officer, e: carey@squall.co.uk

Regular updates and archived journals from this leg can be read from


Or you can find the link off the expedition360.com homepage


Posted by jason at 1:09 PM