There is something compelling about an act of circumnavigation: heading off in one direction only to—eventually, astonishingly—find yourself approaching your starting point from the opposite side. Accounts of global circumnavigation go back centuries, and the feat is no longer quite as astonishing as it once was. Modern adventurers are left to devise increasingly specific constraints in order to claim a “first”: first single-handed circumnavigation (in 1898, by Joshua Slocum of Nova Scotia); first single-handed with just one port of call; first by a woman; first African-American solo single-handed, etc. In Beyond the Horizon (Doubleday), Colin Angus lays claim to “the first human-powered circumnavigation of the planet” and spends 374 pages documenting and defending this claim (there’s also a DVD). The story begins on June 1, 2004, when Angus sets off by bicycle from the Maritime Museum in Vancouver with a fellow adventurer, Tim Harvey. They head north toward Alaska; when they reach land’s end, Angus and Harvey set their bikes aside and spend a month making “the first ever row across the Bering Sea.” The expedition continues across Siberia—on foot, on skis and again by bicycle—until the partnership finally dissolves in acrimony with Irkutsk still 4,000 kilometres away. At this point Angus and Harvey become competitors, vying with each other to be first around the world on human power alone. Colin Angus completed his circumnavigation on May 20, 2006, and I was among the dozens of local cyclists who accompanied him and his fiancée, Julie Wafaei, on the final leg from the Museum of Anthropology at the University of B.C. to the finish line. Harvey’s circuit concluded six months later before a much smaller crowd; he is now preparing his own account—to counter some of the claims made by Angus in Beyond the Horizon. Camaraderie can apparently be damned when there’s a global “first” at stake.