University student Will Guest has returned to his studies, after a gruelling 3,000km European challenge with a difference.
When the summer term arrived after Will’s first year, the neuro-science student returned to his Chorley family home, asking to borrow his dad’s bike.
He outlined rough plans of a cycle ride, something his dad, Brothers of Charity support worker Christopher Guest, didn’t take too seriously.
But Will, 20, and two friends stepped off a Newhaven to Dieppe ferry on August 12 then started pedalling through France.
Less than five weeks later, to his dad’s astonishment, he’d journeyed on via Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary to Romania, to stay with friends in the Black Sea resort of Constanta.
Furthermore, Will’s epic 3,100km (1,926-mile) ride involved him wearing a pair of £2.99 Crocs-style shoes from Aldi in Chorley all the way – saving him having to wash his socks en route.
Will, a former Holy Cross High School and Cardinal Newman College student, was joined by fellow students Greg O’Connor, from Stonyhurst, and Robbie Carew, from the Wirral.
He said: “We ended up at the Black Sea, having camped all the way, with one of the lads sleeping in a hammock at night.
“It’s just something we fancied doing, and we’re already thinking of following it up next year, perhaps starting where we ended up, heading for Turkey and Iran.”
Next time Will hopes to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association, as his older brother, Joseph, 21, who attends a Caritas Care day centre in Preston, has Down’s.
The intrepid trio caught a taxi to Bucharest before flying home from their trek, with the bikes – sent home by courier – only just returning now.
Proud dad Christopher, of Lawrence Road, received weekly calls from Will.
He said: “I was amazed by how well he did.
“He’s hardly been so far as Preston on a bike before.
“William casually asked if he could borrow my bike, a 20-year-old Dawes touring bike, adding a couple of panniers, asking a few questions about maintenance, how new the tyres were, and so on.
“He struggled at first, but got fitter as he went.
“We got regular updates, and he didn’t even get a puncture.
“And I can’t believe he wore those shoes all the way there!”