British cyclists complete London-Medina cycle ahead of Hajj pilgrimage
A group of eight British-Muslims arrived in Saudi Arabia after cycling over 3,000 miles from the UK to reach the Hijaz for the annual Hajj holy season.
They became the first Brits to travel to the pilgrimage by bicycle from the UK.
The men – known as the “Hajj Riders” – reached the Muslim holy city of Medina in under six weeks as part of a charity challenge that raised money for medical facilties in Syria.
Their journey took them through the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Greece and Egypt.
“Just walking into the Haram (Prophet’s Mosque), I can’t bring the emotions into words, nearly six weeks of riding, I can’t believe the journey is complete, but one journey is finished and now we must complete the next part,” said Hajj Rider Abdul Mukith on Facebook.
“The whole team has made it safely, and the hospitality, I honestly can’t put it into words.”
Videos posted to social media showed scenes in the streets of Medina on Saturday, where the cyclists were serenaded by locals who played hand drums, sang traditional songs and showered them with flowers.
The men can be seen crying with joy at their arrival, thanking the local people who had come out to greet them.
Along their journey, the eight cyclists faced various obstacles, including torrential rain and the dry desert heat in Saudi Arabia.
Due to visa issues, the team also had to abandon their original plan of taking a ferry from Hurghada in Egypt and cycling along the Saudi coast to Medina. Instead, the group were forced to fly from Egypt to Jeddah.
Having now arrived in Medina, the Hajj riders will rest in the city and prepare for the Hajj pilgrimage which will begin at the end of August.