A teacher based in China is travelling the 10,000 miles home to Scotland – by bike.
Ross McKechnie, originally from Busby in Glasgow, has spent the last five years teaching PE in Asia. But last week he began the epic journey back to Britain, to raise money for Achieve More! Scotland.
The charity, based in Ross’s home city, offers young people in deprived areas the chance to get involved in sports.
Ross, 27, heard about its work through the smartphone apps which he uses to keep abreast of life back home.
He said: “I download a Scottish football podcast every day. It’s good to keep up to date and even just hear a Scottish accent. They were talking about Achieve More Scotland, and how young people can’t afford a pound a week for a playing field, and don’t have football boots or trainers.
“I was in China, teaching wealthy children who don’t have those barriers and thought, I need to help.”
The first leg of the journey took Ross the 86 miles from Shanghai to Waxi, and he hopes to reach Scotland in March after passing through 21 countries.
His adventure will be shared online on a dedicated website which his Vietnamese girlfriend Maikhanh set up. He’ll be posting a weekly blog, YouTube videos and Instagram stories. A GPS tracker will pinpoint his location in real time.
Ensuring he has plug-in battery points will be a challenge in some areas, but Ross plans to use a solar panel charger on the back of his bike, which should keep him topped up in remote areas. He is also planning to use the WarmShowers bike app.
Ross said: “Eastern China is so built up, it won’t be a problem to find power sources. Once I get out to Western China, it will be more difficult, and then when I get to Europe there will be camp sites and more options for power sources.”
Ross studied sport at Stirling University before following his longheld ambition to become a PE teacher.
After graduating, he spent a few months in China teaching English and, while there, was offered a full-time job at a school in Shanghai.
Ross has a fundraising target of £10,000, based around the distance he’s cycling.