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German trio complete 28,400-kilometre cycling trip to Rio Olympics

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - A trio of Olympic spectators who chose to travel to Rio de Janeiro the hard way arrived in time for the opening of the Games on Friday after having cycled 28,432 kilometres from Germany.

At Rio‘s Copacabana beach promenade, the German brothers Julian and Nico Schmieder and their friend Sandro Reiter told the story of their 467-day journey that involved 333 days on their bikes, some rest in Cuba and on the Galapagos islands, as well as a bear in Alaska.

The young men started in April 2015 in Munich, rode through France and Britain, and on by airplane to Iceland and to Alaska. From there, the self-styled "Trio for Rio" traversed the length of the American continents, including climbs over 4,000-metre high mountains in Chile, before arriving in Rio.

"What a feeling!" 33-year-old Julian Schmieder said.

The three men have tickets for the Olympic beach volleyball tournament, and they have also been invited to the German House of Germany‘s Olympic team in Rio.

Julian and Sandro, 33, had given up their respective jobs as a social education worker and a solar energy technician before the trip, while 27-year old Nico had just finished his studies.

The financed their journey by saving money, taking on side jobs and by getting sponsors to pay for their bicycles.

Along the way, they slept in their tents and were often invited to stay in other people‘s homes.

"We did not have any bad experiences with anyone," Nico told dpa.

"But up there in Alaska, a black bear ran after us. But it was hit by a car and died, unfortunately," he said.

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