Belgian Fan Bicycles to Russia for World Cup and Good Cause
A Belgian soccer fan recently completed a three-week bicycle trip from Belgium to Kaliningrad on Wednesday, June 27, to watch the World Cup match between Belgium’s national team and England on Thursday.
“Well, I left about three weeks ago now, on June 4 in Brussels, and I cycled through the Netherlands, through Germany, via Berlin, over Poland, Poznan, Gdansk and yesterday I arrived here in Kaliningrad,” said Maarten Van Middelem to Reuters.
He spent 23 days peddling over 1,240 miles (2,000 km) through the Netherlands, Germany and Poland to arrive in Russia’s westernmost enclave.
He made the long journey alone. However, his friends bought a ticket to the game to support him.
“To offer me support some of my friends have also bought tickets for the match against England. They are going by plane and will wait for me in Kaliningrad. The match will be memorable in any case,” said Van Middelem.
The cyclist, who comes from the Flemish municipality of Dilbeek, didn’t only take this journey for fun. He is also using the trip to collect money for SOS Children’s Villages, a global charity supporting children without parental care and families at risk. Belgium’s team captain, Vincent Kompany is an ambassador for the charity.
Donations will be used to provide orphans with bicycles in the Russian city of Pskov, near the Estonian border.
Kaliningrad is only one stop on Van Middelem’s route. He also plans to cycle all the way to St. Petersburg by July 14.
From there he will get a night train to Moscow for the World Cup final on July 15, and he hopes he’ll be able to watch Belgium win the trophy.