August 5, 2007


A historic completion of the first circumnavigation of the world using only human power could be prevented from crossing the finishing line by Royal Observatory officials at Greenwich.

Expedition 360, a British attempt to circle the world without using any assistance from motors or the wind, is set for completion on October 6th, 2007, at the Prime Meridian of longitude at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London where it started over 13-years ago. However, if permission is refused by Greenwich authorities to cross the zero degree line the circumnavigation will have to be completed at another location which would automatically disqualify the attempt according to rules set by the Guinness World Records that stipulate start and end points need to be the same. The much revered feat, seen by many in the international explorers community as one of the 'Last Great Firsts for Circumnavigation', would then be up for grabs by one of three other teams in contention for the prize; from Turkey, Canada and Russia.

"It would be a dark day for the British explorers community if this were allowed to happen", said expedition leader Jason Lewis. "Our support team contacted representatives of the Royal Observatory to notify them of the completion on October 6th. But instead of being helpful as we'd hoped, they were quite negative, informing us that they'd 'Have to think about it first, and get back to us'. That was nearly two months ago, and none of our attempts to solicit a response have since been successful".

Ferdinand Magellan's expedition was the first to circumnavigate the world under sail in 1522. Subsequent circumnavigations by sailboat have since been completed by a veritable roster of sailing greats such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dame Ellen MacArthur. Airplanes, motorboats and hot air balloons have also made circumnavigation history, but as yet no has done so by human power.

After traveling over 45,000 miles without the use of either motors or sails, Jason Lewis (39 years) from Bridport in Dorset plans to cross the zero degree line with the same pedal powered boat that he used to cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with during a 13-year marathon journey that has seen him cross five continents, two oceans and one sea. Family, supporters and His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, the expedition's UK patron, will be there to see him home.

"You'd think the Greenwich authorities would see this as an opportunity to promote the historic legacy of Greenwich", continued Lewis, "highlighting their mission statement of working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. Instead we're being made to feel like a nuisance they'd sooner be rid of."

The British based expedition has always suffered from chronic funding problems, leading in part to the circumnavigation taking so much longer than planned. Team members have apparently sent over 300 sponsorship proposals to UK companies and funding institutions over the years, but not a single one has produced even a penny. Funding has traditionally come from individuals donating 10 pounds to have their name signed on the side of the pedal boat, and in more recently years sponsorship deals from America and Singapore based companies.

"It's bad enough not to get any financial support from our own country", added Lewis, "But to be blocked from finishing the circumnavigation by the very people we'd hope to get support from is the last straw. It makes me ashamed to be British."

Lewis also complained of the Greenwich authorities being unforthcoming with a venue in which to host a party after the completion of the circumnavigation. "The cheapest we've been quoted for a room for 6 hours is 2,350 pounds sterling - their normal corporate rate. Even though we're a registered charity they've refused to give us a discount of any sort. That's the entire budget for the last leg of the expedition from Asia through Africa to Europe! So we may not be having a party after all."

If the authorities relent and allow the circumnavigation to be completed, Jason Lewis and an international team will have traveled 46,505 miles or 74,408 kms 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. Other modes of human power have included swimming, rowboats and kayaks for crossing rivers and straits of water between islands, and walking over certain difficult land sections where wheeled propulsion was impossible.

Expedition 360 is comprised of 16 sections, each constituting major expeditions in themselves. Put back to back they make the circumnavigation attempt one of the longest endurance feats in history. See -

Lewis is currently pedaling (a bicycle) through Turkey towards Bulgaria. After rowing in a traditional Turkish 'kayik' across the Bosphorus to Istanbul (courtesy of The Turkish Rowing Federation) he will continue overland by bicycle through Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Germany to Oostend in Belgium. The pedal boat will be there waiting for the final 3-day voyage across the Channel and up the River Thames to finish.

The African/Middle East leg Lewis is about to complete in Istanbul has perhaps been the toughest overland section, with temperatures in the deserts of northern Sudan reaching well over 50 degrees. 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 and laden with over 150 lbs of equipment, through deep sand for tens of kilometres at any one time.

He was also recently apprehended by Egyptian border security while crossing illegally between Sudan and Egypt. Following two days of intensive interrogation by Army Intelligence Lewis was faced with charges of espionage carrying a prison sentence of up to 40 years. Permission for the border crossing was granted at the 11th hour by Security Head Quarters in Cairo, freeing Lewis and allowing him to continue with the circumnavigation. See -

> February 1995: original pedaling partner Stevie Smith and Lewis complete the first east-west crossing of the Atlantic by pedal power.
> September 1996: Lewis completes the first solo crossing of the USA on roller blades.
> August 18th 2000: Lewis becomes the first to pedal across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco in the US to Port Douglas, Australia - 178 days and 8,000 nautical miles.

As a zero-emissions initiative, X360 seeks to further young people's understanding of the impact of their individual lifestyles on global climate change, in particular with regard to carbon footprints. A curriculum-based program 'Ecological Footprints' was launched in 1999 for teachers and school children to utilize in the classroom.

As a 501 (c) (3) registered Non for Profit organization, the X360 team are committed to using the adventure both as an educational tool for furthering children’s learning experiences in the classroom and as a platform from which to implement a variety of cultural exchange activities that empower young people in better understanding their role both as local community and world citizens. Over 850 schools have been visited and tens of thousands of students have participated in the programs. See -

The expedition has raised over $66,000 USD for small-scale charitable causes along the way such as orphanages and hospices for adults and children living with HIV and AIDS.

> Total Timeframe: 13 years, 2 months, 23 days, 11 hours or, 4833 days and 11 hours
> Start date: 1pm July 12th 1994. End date: 12 noon 6th October 2007
> Total distance traveled: 46,505 miles or 74,408 kms
> Price tag: to date the expedition has cost in excess of $400,000 USD - most of which has been raised by grass roots fundraising along the way and working odd jobs. However since June 2006 the expedition has enjoyed title sponsorship from Aberdeen Asset Management, a Singapore based investment group.

> Sept 1995: Jason run over by a car while in-line skating through Colorado USA and suffers compound fractures to both legs. Initial prognosis was amputation of left leg (below the knee). After extensive insertion of hardware (including metal rods in each tibia) he is able to continue after 9 months of recuperation.
> Nov 1998: pedal boat Moksha capsizes in a storm off the coast of California during the second attempt to pedal to Hawaii. No one is injured although the boat's interior is completely destroyed.
> June 2000: Jason contracts septicemia (blood poisoning) 1,300 miles from land pedaling between the islands of Hawaii and Tarawa (Republic of Kiribati). A US-based doctor of Dermatology achieves a remote diagnosis via Iridium satellite phone and prescribes broad spectrum antibiotics before the poison reaches brain tissue, undoubtedly saving his life.
> Oct 2004: Jason undergoes surgery for 2 x torn hernias and worn knee cartilage. Doctors predict he will need a knee replacement within 10 years from the constant wear and tear of human powered travel.
> May 2005: a 17 foot salt water crocodile attacks Jason's kayak in shallow water 100 miles north of Cooktown, Cape York, Australia. His paddle is destroyed fending off the croc, otherwise Jason escapes unscathed.
> November 2005: Jason contracts malaria twice in six months: first on the island of Sumatra (Plasmodia Vivax) while paddling through Indonesia and again in Laos with the potentially lethal cerebral version (Plasmodia Falciparum).
> September 2006: Jason survives acute Altitude Sickness at 5,200 metres while biking over Lalung Pass in Tibet's Himalaya region.
> June 2007: after crossing the border between Sudan and Egypt illegally Jason is detained and interrogated by Egyptian Army Intelligence for two days. He is charged with espionage and faces 40 years in military prison.
> the expedition has been the victim of four robberies: one successful (Mexico) and three attempted also involving violence (Indonesia, India and France).

To contact Jason Lewis in the field: +90 545 338 7496. 2 x hours behind London. Or Jim Carey, UK communications officer: t: 07944 310 591, e: carey@squall.co.uk

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

Hi-res archive images are available online -

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Posted by jason at August 5, 2007 1:19 PM