Homesick student cycles 2,000 miles home to Athens from Aberdeen during lockdown

His journey took 48 days, surviving on bread, peanut butter and sardines

(Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

A homesick student cycled 2,000 miles home to Athens from Aberdeen during lockdown.

20-year-old Kleon Papadimitriou was getting bored sitting in his Aberdeen flat, waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted and all the while missing his family.

Taking matters into his own hands, he rode out of Aberdeen on May 10, getting on a ferry to Holland before travelling through Germany, Austria and Italy, then hopping on another ferry to Greece, eventually arriving in Athens seven weeks after setting off.

He carried 30kg on his bike, fuelling himself on bread, peanut butter and sardines, dealing with extreme heat and freezing temperatures along the way.

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Multiple punctures a day slowed Papadimitriou down, which also dented his morale.

"I like adventures so when I couldn't fly home I decided to go by bike," he said. "I had a lot of punctures and had to put up with snow, hail and intense heat along the way.

"Sometimes the bicycle tire burst two or three times a day, and that not only cost me a lot of time but it wasn’t good for my morale either. It was a lesson I had to learn to manage. I'm a bit saddle sore but it was worth it."

Papadimitriou traded in his student accommodation for camping during the journey, but the toil was worth it when his parents greeted him with a large banner reading 'Welcome Home Kleon: One more challenge accomplished!' just north of the Greek capital.

The student will return to complete his electronic engineering degree when flights resume, having started at the Scottish university in 2018.

Having also summitted Kilimanjaro in 2019, it will surely only be a matter of time until his next adventure.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.