Kleon Papadimitriou cycles 3500 km from Scotland to Greece after COVID-19 sees flights cancelled

A Greek man has made headlines around the world after cycling from 3500 kilometres from Scotland to Athens after his flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Twenty-year-old Kleon Papadimitriou, who was studying at the University of Aberdeen, had flights cancelled three times in March, causing him to rethink his travel options.

He began researching cycling as an option in April and set out on May 10. In the end he travelled as lightly as possible, taking only his phone and charger, toiletries, two changes of clothes, a rain jacket, jumper, tent, sleeping bag and four days of food and water.

Not knowing where he would sleep the next night, he headed south towards England. Papadimitriou set up his tent campsites or in fields and forests, occasionally managing to get a hot shower staying with friends along the way.

Although it's likely Papadimitriou could eventually have found a flight, he feared a hard lockdown was coming to Scotland and decided to press ahead with his cycling trip (after breaking the news to his parents in Greece).

He documented the journey on an Instagram account, called Kleon Vs Lockdown, hoping that his trip would stand as "a ray of hope" to people in lockdown.

His initial plans to cover close to 200 kilometres per day were thwarted by bad weather - rain and hail struck on his first day out of Aberdeen. He was forced to scale back his estimated daily distance to a maximum of about 75 kilometres per day, extending the overall length of the trip.

Papadimitriou took a ferry from the UK to the Netherlands. From there, he cycled into Germany following the Rhine for several days, before crossing into Austria, then on to the eastern coast of Italy where he boarded a boat to Patras in Greece.


Along the way, he made a few sightseeing detours, including an 15-kilometre trip off his path to see Cologne's famous cathedral.


Genuinely worth the 15km detour. Feeling 11/10🕍🚴‍♂️

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

From there, he cycled home to his neighbourhood in Athens.

The journey spanned five countries and took 48 days, with Papadimitriou finally arriving in Greece on June 27.

"I learned a lot of things about myself, about handling myself in difficult situations, when I have a low morale, and how important some relationships are," he told the New York Times.

He believes just attempting a feat such as his journey is worthwhile, even if you don't succeed.

"When you set the bar really high and you attempt to reach a really ambitious goal, whether you achieve it or you don't, you will have improved," he told CNN.

"You will learn things about yourself and you will surprise yourself."