Four Wheels and 14,000 Miles

After pedalling a gruelling 14,421 miles in 130 days and 14 hours, two recent St Andrews graduates, Chris Lally and Danny Beech successfully cycled the length of the Pan-American Highway. With support from the University, the R&A International Scholarship, and the Alex Richardson Fund, Danny and Chris made it from Alaska to Argentina, with a few unexpected challenges along the way.


When they set off on their trip, 300 miles outside of the Arctic Circle, the cyclists aimed to break the World Record (125 days) for the fastest time taken to cycle the length of the Pan American Highway, from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. Throughout the journey they kept an impressive pace, on average cycling nearly 111 miles per day! Unfortunately, due to various bouts of illness Danny and Chris lost 10 days of precious cycling time, and missed the opportunity to break the World Record. However, this does not take anything away from the incredible achievements of these St Andrews alumni.


Thanks to some stats the team shared on their Facebook page, observers can gain a better appreciation for just how daunting an adventure Chris and Danny embraced over the past five months. They spent 1,300 hours in the saddle, and their speed topped out at 45.5 mph. As they climbed through various mountain ranges, from the Rockies in North America to the Andes in South America, they managed to cycle to a vertical height of 3846 m! (For perspective, Machu Picchu sits at 2,430 m). In a single day they managed to cycle 172 miles, which is the equivalent of biking from St Andrews to Kyle of Lochalsh at the tip of the Isle of Skye! In addition to cycling day in and day out, the alumni managed to make time to meet with young people interested in studying at St Andrews through various school presentations along their journey.


Thanks are due to the for generosity of the St Andrews alumni network, who offered Danny and Chris advice, food, bike maintenance, and a place to stay. It is with your support that they were able to complete their incredible journey. Now that they have finished pedalling (for now) they are getting some well-deserved rest before flying back to the UK for Christmas. For more photos and stories from the journey, check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or their website.


A complete list of stats:
Total miles: 14421
Days: 130.6
Average daily mileage: 110.5
Hours in saddle: 1300
Longest distance in a day: 172 miles
Longest day: 13.5 hours moving time
Top speed: 45.5mph
Highest point: 3846m
Gravel track miles: 614 miles
Punctures: 95
Best countries: Mexico, Colombia
Worst…: Peru – lovely people off the bike but crazy roads and tough winds.


For an overview of their trip, here is Part 1 of this blog series, and Part 2 that checks in with the team as they crossed from the United States into Mexico.


Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

On Wednesday, 2 December, the University hosted the annual Alumni Carol Service for local alumni at St Salvator’s Chapel.

The service was led by the University Chaplain, Revd Dr Donald MacEwan, with opening prayers by the Very Revd Dr Ian C Bradley (BD 1989), Principal of St Mary’s College and Honorary Church of Scotland Chaplain, and the sermon by Revd Dr Alasdair Coles (BSc 1990), Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Honorary Church of Scotland Chaplain,

Readings were by Miss Sarah Thompson (MA 2014) President of the Athletic Union; Mr Peter Haselhurst (MA1972) President of the After Many Days Club; Miss Emma Shea (MA 2000) Deputy Director of Corporate Communications; and Professor Gary Taylor, Deputy Principal and Master of the United College.

University Organist, Mr Tom Wilkinson and The St Andrews Renaissance Singers led the packed chapel in song throughout the evening in what was a lovely celebration of the Christmas season. Many attended the mulled wine and mince pie reception which followed where Professor Gary Taylor thanked alumni for their continued loyalty and support.

Below are some photos of the evening from Oli Walker of Tilted Frame Photography.