The Three Hundreds: The man who will travel by bicycle across Europe in 100 days
Alexandros Ioannou has this dream: to travel across Europe with a bicycle in 100 days, cover 10000 km, visit 100 different places, and survive with just 100 Euro in his pockets. For these reasons, he named his attempt The Three Hundreds.
He has so far visited Ireland, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Strasbourg, Basel, Lyon, Barcelona and Marseille. By this time, he is in Italy.
The difficulties he faces are plenty. He does not have enough money, the weather is crap for a traveler who camps in a tent during the night, and his bicycle needs continuous repairs.
Alexandros wants to show with his attempt a positive image to those who are suffering from the economic crisis and live in pessimism.
Also, his trip is supporting the charity organization ‘One dream, one wish’ for children with cancer and related diseases. Alexandros says,
Transport through a bicycle is a way of life for me.
He loved traveling since he was a little child, so he took the decision to do something adventurous just after he finished his Master of Design for Services, at the University of Dundee.
The difficult economic measures in Cyprus last March (where the banks were closed for three weeks) left him with no money. Since he did not have enough money to buy a new bicycle, he decided to visit a recycling center and get parts from old bicycles and create his own.
I managed to build my own bicycle; I loved it and it was entirely my own.
For that reason, he decided that he could not sell his bike when he was leaving from Dundee after his studies. So he took the decision to drive it back to Cyprus.
The people of Dundee supported him as soon as they heard his decision of the trip. His teachers made a good publicity of his attempt and gave him money, in order to help him. Also he organised a fund raising event, where he sold everything he had in order to earn some extra money.
His family’s reaction was not the same with the people in Dundee. They were in shock. Alexandros says,
My parents thought that I was going crazy and that I was not OK psychologically; my mother was crying every time I talked to her and my father did not want to hear anything about my idea.
Hopefully, his parents realized at the end of the day, how determined he was and that they could not change his opinion. Alexandros showed them that he was well prepared, gave them the map he created and explained them all the plans that he made about the route of his trip. Because of his positive energy, they realized that they had no other option than stand near their son.
He departed on the 1st of September 2013 from Dundee, Scotland with his bicycle and hopes to arrive in Dali, Cyprus in 100 days time.
The night before his departure, Alexandros was very scared and asked himself what his I doing. However, everything changed when he took his bicycle and started his journey. He says,
I was excited. The feeling of satisfaction I had, deleted all my bad thoughts and made me more determined for my new adventure.
Most of Alexandros trip will be covered by bicycle. However, he will be forced to use some other ways of transportation. For example, he had to use a ferry to travel to Ireland and Holland and he will do the same to travel from Greece to Cyprus; pretty logical since he it is not possible to cover these distances by swimming.
Alexandros is wild camping and sleeps in a tent, while sometimes some local residents are volunteering to host him. It is notable to mention his experience in the Isle of Skye in Scotland. An unknown man saw him outside in the rain and told him to stay in his house until the next morning. These are the positive things that Alexandros want to gain from his trip.
He wants to learn to live without amenities and gain new experiences. He believes that,
This trip is a University of life. I can learn about other people, see how other civilizations are, and leave without stereotypes.
Of course there are many difficulties during his voyage. First of all, he has many expenses for the maintaining of his bicycle. Also, he is not well trained to drive a bike on such a long distances. Another important difficulty are the weather conditions. He has to live five to six days under heavy rain and cold.
Above these problems, Alexandros believes that the difficulties are less than the things this trip offers him. He says that,
You must be positive and not a pessimist. I got used to the rain. I mean, if you are under the rain, just grab the opportunity to have a bath and later on see the beauty of a rainbow.
The publicity he received a few days after his departure shocked him. He could not believe that he was being interviewed from newspapers and TV channels. His goal was to show the positive things he could gain from his trip. However, some journalists changed this happy image and presented him as a man who was having a difficult time and was struggling to get to Cyprus. These facts are untrue, since he is so happy with what he is doing and wants to show that all this attempt is happening for a good reason.
Alexandros says, “life is simpler than we think.”
He believes that,
All the people should try to do something that pleases them; this is, according to him, the best reward a human could have. Though this, everyone can face all the difficulties in their lives.
Each new experience is a new chapter in our life. Alexandros is an adventurous and positive person who looks forward to make his ‘chapter’ more colourful. “People must try to accomplish their dreams, take the risk and grab all the opportunities they find in their road,” he says.