This website is now archived. While it is fully functioning, I no longer maintain it and comments are turned off on most posts. Please visit the updated

What Would Lance Armstrong Do?

As the winner of seven consecutive Tour de France titles, Lance Armstrong is more man than I ever will be; even with one testicle. So naturally, when I was directed to swim across the Atlantic Ocean – yes, all 3,462 miles of it – by Google Maps’ Get Directions service, I thought that if anyone can do it, Lance can.

You see, I recently took a trip to Dublin and decided to use Google’s infinite wisdom to get the most efficient route there by car. As expected, it duly directed me to Fishguard’s ferry port on the west coast of Wales and over the Irish Sea. Marvellous.

Interest piqued in my mischievous mind at this point, and I wondered what route Google would suggest for Cardiff to New York – a trip I’m dying to take. Would it take me to the airport? Would it come up with an error? There was only one way to find out, and this is what I was told to do:

Google Maps - Swim the Atlantic

Yes, that’s correct: I was instructed to drive from Cardiff to London and onwards to Dover where I assume I would get a ferry to Calais. Now in France, I am instructed to travel to the port of La Havre and then – and I quote – ‘Swim across the Atlantic Ocean’ to Long Wharf, Boston. It’s at this point that I presume I rent a car and drive to New York.

This, I don’t mind so much. What bugs me though is why I am instructed to drive to La Havre when I can drive to Penzance in England, and save myself 200 miles of extra swimming! Then again, I could jump in the sea 100m from my office, save myself 50 miles of extra swimming and about £100 of petrol money which I could then use to rent a car in Boston.

While I’m at it, why not forego the car rental completely, save myself many hours of driving and hundreds of pounds worth of petrol and swim directly from Cardiff Bay to New York City… that would only add around 150 miles to the total swimming journey – and let’s face it, when you’re swimming a marathon 3,600 miles, what difference does the odd hundred make here and there?