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Hackney cyclist survives brush-ins with Hezbollah and Taliban on epic bike ride to Delhi

PUBLISHED: 11:33 12 September 2011

Sash Reading from Stoke Newington on his epic bike ride to Delhi - pictured here in India

Sash Reading from Stoke Newington on his epic bike ride to Delhi - pictured here in India

Archant

A cyclist survived brush ins with the Taliban and Hezbollah on an epic 14,500 mile ride from Stoke Newington to Dehli.

Sash Reading, 25, left from his home in Foulden Road 11 months ago, and returned last week to complete a Masters degree in architecture.

Travelling through Pakistan and Iran with his school friend Julian Cox, it was in Lebanon that they came up against their biggest scare.

Rebel group Hezbollah mistook them for Israeli spies, and interrogated them in a mosque for four hours.

“After going through all our stuff and phones they realised we weren’t spies and we became the best of friends,” said Sash.

“They bought us chocolate and fizzy drinks and gave us permission to camp anywhere in their district, and men in 4x4s would wind down their windows and wave and say, “Good going,” it was amazing.

“It’s really humbling and makes you look at the world again and think there aren’t as many bad people in the world as you think,” added Sash who was also introduced to a Taliban member in Pakistan before he made a quick getaway.

They found the intensity and heat of India brought different challenges.

“People’s understanding of personal space is not quite the same, and Indian drivers are just crazy - they have their horn on constantly, there aren’t any road laws, and there’s a big drink driving problem - as a cyclist it’s petrifying.”

The pair have raised nearly £5000 for the International Childcare Trust charity, which operates in the areas they passed through.

“The last few months has the most important of my life, it still hasn’t really sunk in but I’m beginning to remember where I live and taking stock of where I’ve been,” said Sash.

“Probably the most amazing thing is it felt so normal, every day you feel it’s your natural place - even in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain you feel like you are at home.”

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