NEWS
27/07/2018 12:08 BST | Updated 27/07/2018 15:32 BST

Unicyclist Who Circumnavigated The Globe Returns Home To Somerset

He is the first to complete the 21,000 mile journey on one wheel.

A British man has become the first person to unicycle around the world, completing his 21,000-mile one-wheeled journey in Somerset on Friday to the cheers of gathered friends and family.  

Ed Pratt left Curry Rivel, near Taunton, Somerset, in March 2015 to begin his adventure aged just 19. 

Now 22, Pratt has finished the challenge unsupported – carrying a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove and kit in panniers attached to his 36in Nimbus Oracle unicycle.

His challenge saw him unicycle through Europe, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan before travelling across China and through South East Asia to Singapore.

PA Wire/PA Images
Ed Pratt, 22, returns home to Somerset after three years having travelled around the world with his unicycle

Pratt then tackled Australia and New Zealand before moving on to the USA, finally flying from New York to Edinburgh to begin his final 500 miles home to Somerset.

He has raised more than £300,000 for School in a Bag, a charity that delivers educational equipment to poor and vulnerable children around the world.

His parents, Nick and Roxanne Pratt, said: “He left school in search of a challenge and adventure.

“Anyone who has followed his journey around the world will know that he has created just that.”

Pratt has documented his unicycling feat through regular updates on Facebook, videos on YouTube and through a website tracking his progress.

He has even learnt how to operate a drone while unicycling, with footage featuring in his videos, which have been watched by hundreds of thousands of people.

His adventure has not always been a smooth one, lasting one year and four months longer than he had originally planned when he set out.

PA Wire/PA Images
Pratt greets the crowds who turned out to welcome him back 

On the first day of his unicycle challenge, Pratt was only able to clock up seven miles after breaking his pannier zip when trying to cram egg sandwiches inside.

And in November 2015, he had to suspend his trip after almost being hit by a car in sub-zero temperatures near Aktobe in Kazakhstan.

Luke Simon, founder and CEO of School in a Bag, said: “Back in 2014, we received an email from a chap called Ed saying he was unicycling around the world, that he wanted to do it for charity, and why should he choose us?

“We were naturally intrigued and got straight back to him, explaining a bit more about the work that we do, before suggesting he unicycle over for a meeting.”

Simon said the charity was thrilled to have been part of Pratt’s “epic journey”, adding that funds raised from his trip would directly help more than 15,000 children.

Pratt learned how to unicycle just two years before beginning his challenge and set up a club at his former school, Wellington School.

Throughout his world tour, he has taught others how to master the one-wheeled vehicle and has been joined by people on two wheels for parts of the trip.

Pratt had two requests for his return: to be welcomed by Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell and a chilled bottle of cider.

Both were granted.

After remarking how it was a “little overwhelming” to be greeted by crowds and cameras, he told those gathered: “You can’t say you’re going to ride a unicycle around the world and not do it.

“I mean my friends would tease me about that for the rest of my life. I just needed to complete it for my own sake but also because I enjoyed it.

“There were some weeks it sucked … saddle sore was a big issue … but it beats coming back here and getting a job doesn’t it?”

His journey has been documented on online.