By Chris Marshall-Bell published
A cyclist dressed in Superman attire has been keeping warm and dry at night in his journey across Eastern Europe and Asia by sleeping in a tent behind police stations.
Will Hodson is a tenth of the way through his five-year quest to ride 100,000km around the world and visit every continent dressed as Superman.
Hodson, who left his teaching job in Putney to embark on the trip on May 30, 2015, is currently in Georgia after spending several weeks in Istanbul. He has now completed his Europe leg and intends on riding 30,000km across Asia in the next 12 months.
He had been repeatedly told to steer clear of police, but when in Georgia he decided to disobey the preaching of others and, to his good fortune, it helped him find accommodation and even free breakfast.
“I've camped behind any type of station you can think of and people warned me about the police but I set up camp behind a police station,” he told Cycling Weekly. “They were so helpful, saying ‘we have a piece of grass where you can camp’ and they even allowed me to store my bike in the station overnight.
“They then said that I should come in for breakfast, so I did, and breakfast was leftover chicken in a plastic bag!
“They also gave me a shot of local spirit, similar to vodka or Rakı. One of the policemen said that one drink is good to warm up, but two and I’d be falling off the bike. That wouldn’t happen in a central London police station, would it?”
Hodson left Turkey after a two month stay on December 20 and had to reach Georgia, via the Black Sea coastline, in super-quick time before his visa ran out.
He added: “I crossed the border with four hours left on my visa but would they have minded? I doubt it because they were loving the Superman costume. They were singing, laughing and saying “Do what you want!”
“It was -16 in Georgia. When you’re on the bike it’s fine, but you stop for a few seconds and you go so cold.”
When in Eastern Europe during the autumn, Hodson became a D-list TV celebrity, interviewed on several TV stations and across the news in the Balkan states.
His TV fame has not waned in Georgia, where he is set to appear on a national show.
Presently, Hodson is staying with a family in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and due to the sub-zero temperatures he isn’t riding to other countries just yet.
During the weeks he is arranging visas, travel, accommodation and setting up school visits to inspire children. But general day-to-day living has been tough.
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“The other day I couldn’t even ask for two bananas in a shop and it can be hard work when you’re hungry and you can’t even order some fruit or a muffin. I end up miming for food," he continued.
“Getting food in general is quite a funny experience. I had four people telling me which milk to buy recently as the milk I was buying wasn’t actually milk. I’ve came back from the shop having bought so many wrong things.”
Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.