Juliana Buhring – A WOMAN Takes 3rd Place in the BikingMAN!

March 11, 2018
Juliana Buhring – A WOMAN Takes 3rd Place in the BikingMAN!

Dear Explorer,

Fresh off the road, we caught up with Juliana Buhring in Muscat after an exciting 3rd-place finish overall, and 1st place in the females category, in 2018’s first installment of the BikingMan ultra-endurance cycling race, which took place in Oman last week.

To our surprise, this 36-year old British-German ultra-endurance cyclist has only been cycling for 6 years! She managed to gain global repute by coming out of the gate full force aiming for an incredible target: cycling around the world unassisted! And, she accomplished this goal becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the world (29,000 km) on a cycle in 152 days setting a Guinness World Record back in December 2012.

With numerous firsts and records under her belt, Juliana is now one of the strongest female ultra-endurance cyclists in the world. If that is not amazing enough, Juliana has authored two books as well!

Juliana Buhring

In today’s interview, Juliana Buhring opens up about her childhood, when her passion for cycling began, her experience in Oman, and where she plans to go from here.

Early Years

Before entering the world of cycling, Juliana grew up in a cult called “The Children of God” where she was raised in almost 30 different countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe.
In 2004 she left the cult and has been instrumental in closing it down. She penned her unique experience of living within this sheltered community in the 2007 best-selling book, “Not Without My Sister.” Juliana started a charity, “Safe Passage Foundation,” to raise funding to provide education, resources, and a safe transition for those born and/or raised in extremist, isolated or high-demand organizations.
ub-cool: Would you please tell us more about your unique childhood?

Juliana Buhring: I was born and raised in a religious cult called “Children of God.” From the time I was three, I was taken from my parents and became group property. So, I grew up around Asia under the supervision of people of the group and they had all the children herded into big training camps and centers.

Basically, this was to indoctrinate us and bring us up to be good cult zombies – “Little soldiers for Jesus.

However, it did teach me a lot of independence. I suppose when you’re all alone and you have no one to protect you or no parents to go to when you need help, you develop your own way of coping with constantly changing circumstances, which has helped me later on in life.

Nullarbor desert coastlline

ub-cool: When did you leave the cult and are you in touch with your siblings?

Juliana Buhring: I left the cult in 2004. In the group there were 18 of us brothers and sisters from the same dad but different mothers.

We have managed to connect in our adult years and we are all very close now. Everyone is located all around the world and we all hook up at Christmas. Many live in Europe around me.

ub-cool: Where do you live?

Juliana Buhring: I live in Italy – south of Naples. The beautiful part of Italy.

ub-cool: How did you reunite with your brothers and sister?

Juliana Buhring: I always kept contact with all of them. For me, I think it was more important because I was the only one who grew up alone. The others all had at least one other they grew up with. So, when I was a teenage and could, I started tracking them down and make contact on the internet; once there were social networks, it was very easy to do.

“I kind of made it a mission to find all of my siblings – my tribe (haha). We had our first reunion in 2014 – I got them all to Italy. I managed to get 13 of us in one place.”

ub-cool: Do any of your brothers and sisters also cycle or do sports? Are they supportive of what you do?

Juliana Buhring: No, I’m the only weirdo (haha). Actually, they are the opposite; they don’t do much physical activity.

ub-cool: Are they supportive of what you do?

Juliana Buhring: Oh yeah, and they say: “That’s just Juliana.” But it was a very recent thing. I didn’t start cycling till I was 30 anyway. Before then, I wasn’t athletic. It was a surprise to everyone – it was a surprise to me too.

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Climbing on a Bicycle and Peddling Away!

ub-cool: So, one day you just decided to hop onto a bicycle?

Juliana Buhring: I lost the guy I really loved and I just wanted to escape and just go off – I couldn’t find a way to come back from that. It reached a limit where I had dealt with so many blows in life and I was so tired of bouncing back – I had lost the will to live.

So, I had to do something drastic to pull myself out of it.

That’s when I thought I’d go around the world. I had no plan to make it all the way around and thought: “I’ll just go and what will be will be” – it was very kind of fatalistic almost (haha).

But, as I started to go, it reawakened the passion for new experiences in life and life goes on and you find a new passion.


ub-cool: Your record is incredible – 152 days to circumnavigate the globe! And you didn’t have experience cycling before this?

Juliana Buhring: Yes, I had never really cycled before the round-the-world trip. I had to learn to cycle because I had a goal and I wanted to do it. But, ultimately, I didn’t care if I made it or not – I just wanted to try.

I learned to cycle properly and trained for about 8 months. Then, I left with about 3000 Euros and just started going at it. When I reached New Zealand, I ran out of money. At that point, people had started following me on Facebook and, for them, it was the craziest thing they had ever seen; here is some person who has never cycled riding around the world.

I was consistently chalking up the miles and basically surviving on the kindness of strangers. So, people were following me online and they started sending little donations like 10 or 50 euros to keep me on the road. When I ran out of money, everyone said keep going and, within one day, my bank account had another 1000 Euros from everyone who had sent little bits. So, I actually got around the world like that. By the time I got to the finish line, I could not believe I had made it.

That is was what really got me into cycling. And, since then, I realized I was alright at doing distances.

The Nullarbor longest straight road on earth

Cycling in Oman

ub-cool: What was your goal in this BikingMan Oman challenge?  

Juliana Buhring: I’m always trying to best my last record just for me to see how much further I can take it. The most I’ve ever done without stopping is 800km. So, this time, I wanted to hit 1000km without ever stopping. That was my target to see if I could – to see if I was capable of it.

ub-cool: Did you achieve your target?

Juliana Buhring: I did! I rode 1070km nonstop and it took me around 49 hours and 50 minutes.

ub-cool: What made this event special? How was it different?

Juliana Buhring: After Mike Hall passed away last year cycling across Australia in the inaugural “Indian Pacific Wheel Race,” I couldn’t get back into these races mentally – it messed me up a lot. I thought I wouldn’t race anymore.

So, when I saw this event, it was really interesting to me because I have always wanted to go cycling around the Middle East. It is a place that was on my bucket list. And, this year, I thought I would do rides that I want to do and enjoy. I first did Patagonia for fun and thought Middle East is on my bucket list too, so that’s next.

I came into it thinking that if I feel good I’ll race, but if not I’ll do it and just enjoy the experience. Oman looked like a cool place to cycle from the photos. For me, that was the attraction.


ub-cool: What will you remember?

Juliana Buhring: I flew in to Dubai because I wanted to see a little more than just Oman.

“So, I cycled from Dubai to Oman to warm up because I had not trained. I thought I should get a few miles in my legs (haha).”

I was so delighted by the Oman route – it was super tough. The projections shown before the race was not what it actually was; instead, it was constant rollers, mountains, climbs, head wind – there were no flats really. There was only maybe a 50km-section of flat but since that was into a head wind it made you feel like you were climbing anyhow.

What kept me going and enjoying the ride was that there was so many new things to see and I was just enjoying the scenery. It was very interesting. The route took us through some beautiful parts of Oman and I feel I got an overview of the highlights – so that’s cool.


What’s Next?

ub-cool: What is on your bucket list for this year?

Juliana Buhring: I have many things on my list but perhaps I’ll do the BikingMan race in Taiwan in October this year. It looks interesting. It’s famous for its long, mountain climb.

ub-cool: Are you planning to write more books?

Juliana Buhring: I’m working on my third book right now. This one will be a fiction and it takes place in Napoli, Italy.

ub-cool: What is your advice to our readers to inspire them to get off the couch, to overcome their personal challenges, and to go on extraordinary challenges?

Juliana Buhring: I always shy away from giving people advice because what works for me may not work for someone else. With that said, what I can say is that I had never cycled in my life till 6 years ago and now I do these types of ultra-races. And, within the first year of cycling, I cycled the world!

I was not an athlete – so if I can do it, then so can anyone else.”

I would just say just go and don’t over think it. It’s really about just going and having a good time and having a new experience. If you don’t make it, then try again next time. It’s not a big deal – don’t over play it in your head.


All photos courtesy of Juliana Buhring

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Where in the World is the ub-cool Flag?

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Best Photos
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Georgia Tours
4 Best Ways to Explore Georgia on Wheels

Dear Explorer, Counting down the days till your vacation but haven’t settled on a destination? Why don’t you set your eyes on Georgia? (The country in Europe, not the State in the United States!). This country has captured the hearts of many with its warm welcoming nature and generous people. It definitely has the ub-cool team completely in love! Some of our team really enjoy adrenaline-filled adventures like paragliding and white-water rafting, which Georgia has so much of to offer! But, others on the team prefer staying close to the ground – in fact, they prefer their feet firmly fixed to Mother Earth! So, we figured some of you – our lovely readers – may also feel the same and want to check out awesome adventures that keep you as close to the ground as possible. Below are a list of Georgia tours we love that allow you to explore this beautiful country from the comfort of a vehicle. Oh, and don’t forget these Georgia tours are also perfect to enjoy with the family! Related: 4 Best Sky-and-Water Adventures in Georgia 4 Best Georgia Tours on Wheels Recently emerging from decades of Soviet rule, Georgia re-opened its doors to the world in 1991. Since then, there has been a massive building project of hotels and resorts not to mention the increase in the number of flights to this small country. The Caucasus mountains are a sight to be seen – they stand tall with snow-capped peaks against gorgeous rolling-green valleys dotted with small towns. If you’re keen to explore the beautiful countryside and views from the hills all the while keeping your feet close to the ground, we have 4 different options for you from quad bikes to NASCAR-style cars! #1 – Experience the Caucasus Mountains and Castles on this Fun Jeep Tour Jump in for this fantastic jeep tour! The local experts will take you through the Dzama gorge, which is hidden between the valleys of the Borjomi forests and Kartli. Georgians consider this a sacred place as you’ll see by the many old-and-new monasteries in the area. You’ll also visit the gorgeous Bateti lake which sits on a mountain plateau surrounded by forest and a beautiful swamp. Whatever season it is when you visit, make sure you bring your camera because the scenic views will blow your mind! Oh, and we shouldn’t forget to mention the delicious barbeque picnic and red wine tasting you’ll enjoy! Learn more about this Fun Jeep Tour in Georgia > #2 – Explore Georgia on an Amazing Quad Bike Tour Want to explore the rolling green Georgian hills with your friends? Then hop on your very own quad bike and speed away! Imagine spending 2 hours exploring Mitarbi mountain, Bakuriani traditional villages, and rice fields! Then, after lunch, you’ll get the chance to taste the famous Borjomi mineral water in the national park! For those wondering – yes, the quad bike is really easy to handle making for a truly enjoyable journey. And, if you’re looking for fresh air, then this is the trip for you! Learn more about this quad bike tour in Georgia > #3 – An Exciting NASCAR-Style Car Ride in Georgia Do you love watching car races? Well, when in Gerogia, why don’t you give it a try! Strap on your seat belt and take this first-generation NASCAR car, The Legends, down the track for a spin! This modern vehicle is in the retro style fitted with a Yamaha 1300cc, 145 horsepower engine. What does this mean? Yes – You’ll go from 0 to 100km in 4.2 seconds! Fact: before NASCAR, this vehicle was a popular get-away car for the mafia! Learn more about racing NASCAR-style cars in Georgia > #4 – Adrenaline-Packed Off-Roading Drive Through Georgia Calling adrenaline seekers, this rafting trip in Georgia is perfect for you! Hang on tight for an exhilarating rafting trip down fast-moving waters! If you’re new to rafting, learn to raft from local experts and set off on an adventure of a life time. The waters in Georgia’s rivers are ideal for white-water rafting enthusiasts. Do you live for adrenaline-filled adventures? Then this off-roading tour is for you! Race through Georgia’s rugged terrain in the best off-roading vehicle, Polaris RZR. This high-quality AT vehicle will have you perched atop hills in no time! Learn more about off-roading drives in Georgia > Looking for other adventures? Visit ub-cool for more exciting adventures from all around the world! Working with local experts, the ub-cool team seeks out the best adventures for you to try! Liked what you read? Subscribe below to get more adventure tips right in your inbox!

Xia Boyu
Xia Boyu: Double Amputee Summits Mt Everest

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