A CYCLIST from Odiham has found himself stuck in lockdown in Argentina mid-way through his charity cycle ride around the world.

Craig Buckland, 34, left his home in September 2018 to set off on a bicycle ride around the globe.

Since then, he has completed over 22,000km through 31 countries to fundraise for two chosen charities.

The 34-year-old has so far raised £850 for Re-Cycle and Cyclists Fighting Cancer out of his £1,000 target.

Craig set off from Dover with nothing but his bike and the bare essentials in some well-stuffed bike bags.

He travelled from the UK through Europe to Athens, before riding the length of the African continent: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namimbia, all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa.

Craig told the Gazette: "Dealing with some countries with high population density can be challenge. People have been hospitable and looked after me but I expected to be more remote.

"In other countries, whenever you stopped you would struggle to have any personal space and be surrounded by people trying to fight for your attention and speak to you.

"Although there were amazing conversations, other times it was just pure harassment.

"In one other country, I was subjected to children being chased, hit and my bags being grabbed, constantly begged and jeered as I cycled through the villages and towns.

"There were always other people who restored my faith in the country. Other parts of Africa were boring to cycle through. There were not many suitable roads to ride through. It felt like I had tunnel vision.

"The experience I had was amazing and I wouldn't change anything and know what it is like to live in Africa."

Following the completion of the first stage of the trip from Dover to Cape Town, Craig has now found himself in South America with an intention to cycle all the way up to Alaska.

The whole journey came to an abrupt halt when Covid-19 hit and Craig is currently waiting out a national lockdown in Argentina.

He was making his way through Patagonia, in both Chile and Argentina, when the Argentinian government put the nation into a compulsory quarantine.

Craig said: "Initially, fundraising for charity wasn't part of my plan when I decided to do this trip.

"I wanted to do it for my own personal reasons; travel the world in a cost effective, eco-friendly way but to especially to break away from the mould of how society assumes how your life should play out.

"I felt there must be other ways to live, so what a better way to find out than to explore the world & live within simple means on a bicycle. I also thought the added pressure of fundraising would make an already challenging journey more intangible.

"I always intended to leave the door open to working with a charity and decided I would revisit the idea whilst on the road and once I felt I could give it more of my attention and energy.

"Travelling is a great privilege that isn't available to everyone and due to the nature of this epic journey I could have an opportunity to use any interest in my trip to also raise awareness and funds for some worthy causes.

"I now feel that I'm able to do this and will dedicate the rest of my journey to these charities."

People can donate to Craig's chosen cycling charities via the Virgin Giving Money page.