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Why is one man trying to travel on 200 London bus routes in 24 hours?


Urban transit racer Adham Fisher has visited cities around the world and spent more than 15,000 on his hobby. Now, he hopes to make transport history on the capitals buses

It will start on Oxford Street, possibly on the 139 bus, at around 10.30am on Monday. It will end at the same time a day later somewhere, it is imagined, in zone 3.

In the intervening 24 hours, Adham Fisher is hoping to make a very niche bit of transport history: he wants to become the first person to travel on 200 of Londons bus routes in a single day. What? Why?

Why climb Everest? asks the 31-year-old record-shop worker from Leicester. Because its a challenge.

You may not have heard of urban transit racing. But it is very much a thing. And Fisher is, in many ways, the Usain Bolt of this particular sport.

The rules are informal but widely agreed. Enthusiasts compete to complete a given transport network generally a tram or tube system in the quickest time possible. They must pass through every station at least once. Once they are finished, they post their time online. Then others try to beat it. For those who brave the big ones that is the New York Subway (record: 21 hours, 28 minutes) and London Underground (15 hours, 45 minutes) Guinness will sometimes send along an official.

It is not a new pastime it started with New Yorkers racing the Subway in the 40s but today, buoyed by dedicated websites, there is a global community of such buffs. Forums are filled with discussions on the finer points of interchange swaps and line connections.

Fisher himself has attempted more than 35 networks across the globe and, at different intervals, believes he has held quickest times for transport systems in Nottingham, Sheffield, Paris, Lille, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Chicago and Toronto. His proudest moment was when he and five other British racers smashed the New York record in 2013.

It got beat 14 months later, he says. But for those 14 months … what a feeling.

He has also spent upwards of 15,000 on the hobby. Which sounds a lot, but at least he is seeing the world, right? Not really, he says. I might do some sight-seeing but mainly, when Im in a city, Im focused on my strategy.

He doesnt always succeed. He has attempted to crack Londons tube system on 28 separate occasions, all without success. He will keep trying, though. But I dont think Ill ever do it, he admits. Its too unpredictable there are always delays and suspensions somewhere.

The whole thing has afforded him a unique kind of fame. He has appeared on Canadian TV, been recognised in the street in Chicago and turned his escapades into a standup comedy show. I dont try to be funny, he shrugs. I just talk about it and people laugh.

Now, he is turning to the citys buses. For these, it seems, it is not a case of completing a system, but seeing how many he can ride in a set time.

In trying to fit in his targeted 200 routes, he will ride most for just one stop, get off, then jump on another. To really clock up the numbers, he will spend the first couple of hours just riding up and down Oxford Street on different routes.

I suppose people attempt records because they want their name remembered, he says. I dont think that will happen to me, but its still nice to do something no one else has.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2016/nov/27/london-bus-urban-transit-racer-adham-fisher