NOT content with jumping on board a flight for home, one Huntingdonshire man chose to cross Europe with a more unconventional form of transport.

NOT content with jumping on board a flight for home, one Huntingdonshire man chose to cross Europe with a more unconventional form of transport.

Financial adviser Raffaele Cannas decided after 11 years working for a company in Dubai he would return to his home village of Alconbury Weston in style.

The 49-year-old teamed up with two others, Tim Richards and Paul Murray, to travel the 5,850 miles from the Arabian state to English shores by bike.

The journey took six months to plan and saw the trio cross 18 countries including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and France in 13 days.

But the adventure nearly cost them their lives, after an incident with Turkish bandits.

Mr Cannas said: “We were trying to take a short-cut through the mountain, when some guys ran out of this shop and they stopped us. They did not speak English, but we worked out that in the area there were bandits, and they said they would shoot people that went up there. So we decided to take a different route.”

The friends woke up every day at 6am and travelled between 800 and 850km a day. At night they camped on the side of the road and washing was done sporadically.

The continental style of driving and traffic maintenance also caused a problem at times for the bikers.

Mr Cannas said: “Going through Albania and the mountains, it was difficult coming round the bends. If you swerved too much, there were no barriers.

“In Turkey the traffic was knocking the bike, the cars were so close. A couple of times we dropped the bikes, we were tired and had no strength left.”

But despite the dangers and the gruelling schedule, Mr Cannas, who is planning a similar trip to the Baltic states, has no regrets.

“We always found time to hit the best sights. It is one of the best things I have ever done. We saw the war memorial in Galipoli, we saw the ruins of Petra and the countryside in Albania and Macedonia was so beautiful.

“Seeing the countries on bike, you see the bits that as a tourist you would never see. When you are inside a car, it is like watching a film, but when you are on a bike, it is like being part of the film.

“I think all of us have something that we really want to do, but we just for some reason put it off. All it takes is someone saying 'I am going to do this'.”