A man has travelled from the UK to Ukraine in just over three weeks - by cycling. 20-year-old Ethan Overton set off on the long journey on April 1, and travelled 1,948.7 miles across Europe to get to the Polish/Ukrainian border.
Despite travelling almost 2,000 miles and going through multiple countries including Netherlands, Germany and Poland, Ethan admitted that the journey "wasn’t as physically challenging" as he expected.
He didn’t travel all that way for nothing, as Ethan, a digital content creator, from Bournemouth, Dorset wanted to raise money for the British Red Cross and has raised just under £4,000 for them.
Ethan said: "I wanted to spread positivity online. There’s lots of negative stuff in the news, lots of crime and death for example. It is good to have some positivity in the world.
"I didn’t know what to expect, I had an e-bike so I knew there would be an element of ease to it but I would say it wasn’t as physically challenging as I expected but it was mentally challenging, especially towards the end. Around day 15 I was really considering going home but I am happy I didn’t do it."
The 20-year-old set off from Harwich, Essex, on April 1, 2023, and got an eight-hour ferry to the Netherlands, where the cycling journey began that took him through three countries.
He said: "I stayed in a mixture of hotels, Airbnb and wild camping. People would be so kind. They would make breakfast and go shopping for me. I did some wild camping in Germany and the Netherlands where there was a risk of wolves and I stayed in an abandoned WW1 bunker."
Facing no massive challenges despite the mammoth journey, Ethan claimed that his biggest challenge was chafing, and when he was bitten by a dog along the way, saying: “Despite having a padded seat and padded shorts that did nothing for me. The chafing was pushing me more to quit.
"There were a couple of days where I was going uphill. I had a headwind, the gears were slipping - on those days I just had to sleep."
When Ethan arrived at the Poland/Ukraine border three weeks after setting off, the situation there was not what he had initially expected. "I was losing a lot of sleep about going to the border but in actual fact there was nothing”, he said.
"It was no different to Dover. The only difference is I saw loads of lorries going in but nothing coming out. The journey there was a lot different to what I thought it would be. I thought there would be checks for your visa and bags but I would just cycle down the road and get a text to alert me I was in a different country."
Summarising his trip, Ethan said: "It has been character-building. I have learnt so many lessons that I would not have learned if I didn’t go on this trip. Dealing with foreign police, google translate and dealing with strangers, it was an experience."