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Greek student documents 48-day bike trip from Scotland to Greece to visit his family mid-pandemic

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Didn’t everyone feel a bit trapped under lockdown conditions? With European nations hit hardest, many people were forced to either lock themselves in their homes, or have a high chance of contracting COVID-19 in the community.

20-year-old university student Kleon Papadimitriou was feeling the effects of being forced to stay at university, missing his family in Greece. Yet, rather travel on a plane or bus and risk infecting himself and others, he decided to take a more isolated approach to travel.

On May 10, Papadimitriou set off for his 48-day bike trip home to Greece, preparing to bike over 2,500 miles.

Papadimitriou documented the five-country journey on the Instagram account, kleon.vs.lockdown.

“Lockdown makes you think out of the box and I just had the most crazy idea…” Papadimitriou wrote in his first Instagram post in May. 

“It’s 3:00 a.m. and the moon is above my right shoulder casting a long shadow over the undulating snow,” Papadimitriou wrote at the start of his trek. “Riding my bike, with my buff pulled up and my hands freezing, my shadow looks like some sort of half animal, half machine creature. Liberated from the trail, picking any line through the forests and meadows. 4.100 kms to go.”

Papadimitriou posted daily updates at the start of his journey, telling readers of his difficult venture, facing brutal snow, rain and hail in Scotland, battling several flat tires and tough terrain. 

View this post on Instagram

9 full days without a flat only to get 3 in a day. Not fun. 😣

A post shared by Kleon (@kleon.vs.lockdown) on

He told The New York Times that his very first day on the road was trying.

“My parents did not know where I was, I started crying,” he said. “I didn’t know where I’d stay for the night.”

While sleeping in his tent most days, he was also lucky to spend a few days with his grandma in Germany, which he told the Times was “an important milestone”.

“It was very important to me, it was like a checkpoint,” he said. “I hadn’t seen my grandma for so many years, and the only thing I cared about was, if something were to happen to me, I didn’t want it to happen before I got to Stuttgart.”

Papadimitriou bore witness to some of the worlds most beautiful landscapes, pedalling through the Alps and Venice.

According to the Times, Papadimitriou’s parents met him in Patras, where he tested negative for COVID-19. Together with his parents, Papadimitriou journeyed home in Greece on Saturday, June 27th 2020 at 4pm.

“I think that if I had not already done it, and if someone were to tell me I could do it, I wouldn’t believe it,” he said.

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