An adventure-loving Leeds man is using pedal power to travel the world on a trip-of-a-lifetime to China.
Freddie Oxland, 23, repaired his dad’s old Dawes bike and set off from his home town of Boston Spa in April after deciding to take on the 6,500-mile challenge once he’d graduated from university.
The thrill-seeker has so far cycled through 16 countries and is now in Tajikistan climbing the Pamir mountain range - just 500 miles from his goal.
He said: “The hospitality has been fabulous. I’m often offered tea and occasionally a glass of vodka. I was even stopped and invited into a wedding last week.”
But he added there had been a hair-raising wake-up call during one night in Bulgaria where he was disturbed by an animal snuffling around his tent.
“I got out to shoo it away, standing tall, well, as tall as I could, but could only see its silhouette before it wandered off, deeper into the woods. I was worried it might be a bear, or maybe it was a boar, I’ll never know for sure.”
It’s the first time Freddie has ever attempted anything like this, said mum Joanne Oxland, “apart from cycling from Wetherby to Filey when he was about 14 years old,” she added.
And despite the huge challenge the journey poses to Freddie, she said his training consisted of “a few 20 mile bike rides and some running”.
Freddie’s route so far has followed the Rhine and the Danube to reach Istanbul in June before reaching Georgia and Azerbaijan. He then crossed the Caspian Sea by ferry to Kazakhstan and into Uzbekistan. His current journey through Tajikistan is the most challenging, with the road ahead the second highest on earth, climbing to 4,000 metres. He hopes to complete his awe-inspiring journey in around 15 days’ time.