A man who survived ten months cycling alone through some of the world’s most hostile terrains has had his bike stolen – in MILTON KEYNES.
Matthew Amery, 30, cycled around the globe on a bike he purchased on a whim, while he was working in China.
The uninsured rider then set off across Asia, surviving a narrow miss with a 1970’s Russian gas crater in Turkmenistan.
His daring route took him along the borders of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and through days of uninhabited mountains, which saw him camping in the dessert alone.
The gutsy rider even plucked up the courage to pedal his way through rogue middle eastern state Iran, emerging unscathed.
But just days after returning to his home town of Milton Keynes, Bucks., the beloved bike which had safely carried him back to Britain was pinched when he loaned it to a friend.
Matthew, who was teaching English in Shanghai when he decided to tackle his cycling adventure, yesterday (weds) said he couldn’t believe his bike was gone.
He said: “Loneliness and exhaustion caught up with me after this and I decided it was the right time to come home – I came home on my birthday.
“My bike was stolen but not on the trip – in Milton Keynes. I let my friend borrow it and he used it to go to work and he forgot to put it away. He must have forgotten to lock it because then it was gone. I couldn’t believe it after all those miles.”
Matthew’s bike was stolen in December just days after he returned from six years living and travelling abroad.
The Staffordshire University sports science graduate had moved to South Korea in 2006 to teach English when he caught the travelling bug and ventured to Shanghai, China.
He set off from there carrying just a tent on his back and several litres of water, spending nine months entirely alone.
Matthew cycled from western China into Kyrgyzstan, through Tajikistan, along the Afghan border, across Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran before travelling through Northern Iraq into Turkey and along the Syrian border, before he flew home from Istanbul.
Matthew said: “I decided to travel back over land across China and central Asia through Europe back to England.
“In China met a swiss cycling couple and they sold me on it I thought no time like the present – next day went and bought a bike – a cheap Chinese one.
“I knew that I wanted to go through central Asia, Iran – I knew my general route but not in detail.
“Also wasn’t planning on going through the north of Iraq – but it is a safe area – Kurdistan – pretty much the only safe place to cycle through.
“I did a lot of cycling as a kid but I’d never done it seriously
“At first, I started in west China – mountainous – Kurgistan pretty much 97 per cent mountains – really tough – roads were terrible – rocks and sand and mud on the roads.”
Matthew will fly to Lithuania this month then travel through Latvia and Estonia and then take a boat to Finland and Russia before reaching Japan.
His first stop, however, will be a bicycle shop in Eastern Europe to purchase a new set of wheels.