Cycling Around the World for Four Years and Counting

Aurelie and Doc Marco, both 39 years old, started cycling in April 2018. Four years later, they are still pedaling.

They met in Barcelona, where Aurelie was an event manager and Marco, as he likes to go by, taught English. They married, then set out on their dream voyage.

Their initial plan was just to cycle from Helsinki to Singapore for charity. They dubbed their journey 421 Adventure, which stands for four wheels, two hearts, one world. “That’s probably the best description of our trip,” they say on their website.

A couple sit around a camp fire in the forest near their tent.

Photo: 421adventure

45,000km, 32 countries

The husband-and-wife duo has now been on the road for 1,673 days. They have covered 45,000km and passed through 32 countries on their bikes. Ironically, they never made it to Singapore.

Starting in Finland, they have cycled Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and back to Thailand.

Then the pandemic hit and closed borders stopped them from continuing to Malaysia. So they flew back to Europe and spent some time cycling around their home continent.

The route map so far showing cycle rides from Europe to southeast Asia and through Argentina and Chile.

The route so far. Photo:

Friends puzzled

After they had been on the road for one year, some of their friends were puzzled. How long would they continue, and why? But the pair loved their new lifestyle. “Our first year on the road [was] an amazing feeling of freedom, utter control over your life, and happiness,” Marco explained.

They admit that it is not always easy. Perhaps the hardest part of their journey has been visa applications and crossing borders.

“Sometimes, administration [stuff] wants to make you rip your hair out,” they say. Often they find themselves anxiously waiting for new visas with only days left on their current ones.

Aurelie stands with the bikes in front of a volcano

Photo: 421adventure/Facebook


In September 2021, Argentina opened its borders to vaccinated foreigners. Within hours, the couple had booked flights. They planned to cycle across the Americas from Ushuaia to Alaska.

From Buenos Aires, they made their way 1,000km across Argentina to San Rafael. They thought this would take two weeks. In fact, the journey lasted almost a month. They had not accounted for the difficult terrain, the wind, or the fact that their bikes were so heavy. Although they typically carried everything they needed, this time they had extra gear for the cold Andean temperatures.

A woman rides her bike along the Carretera Austral road next to a river.

Photo: 421adventure/Facebook


More lifestyle than journey

They also took a huge detour to cycle through the Atuel River Canyon. Much of Argentina is quite flat, and they “were looking forward to some proper climbs.” It did not disappoint. The “rock colors and types, vegetation, and even the river itself looked different every time we looked up. We had an absolute blast.”

Over four months, they cycled 4,500km from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. After they finished the first leg of their journey, they flew home to see a family member with health issues. Theirs was never intended to be a continuous A to B journey, with no interruptions.

Eventually, they strapped their helmets back on and cycled from the UK to Madrid, often stopping for weeks at a time to see family and friends. 

Cycling through the Carretera Austral. Snowcapped peaks in the background.

Photo: 421adventure/Facebook


After four years of cycling, they are now back in South America. In October, they landed in Punta Arenas, Chile, and are now a month into their journey to Alaska. Over the first week, they cycled through Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales.

They estimate that the first 250km of their Americas journey would take four days, but they are flexible. They don’t want to just pedal past interesting areas, they want to experience them. In Punta Arenas, they spent two days at a ranch to see a rodeo, then climbed an extinct volcano with some police officers. 

Theirs has become more lifestyle than journey.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.