HE has cycled almost 10,000km since leaving the Capital seven months ago on the ultimate trip of a lifetime.
But Robbie Sage’s quest to cycle all the way to the US was almost cut short – after he was hit by a tractor while travelling through Turkmenistan in central Asia.
The 25-year-old narrowly escaped injury after jumping from his bike before being hit himself, but the bike was badly damaged after being struck by the tractor’s trailer.
Worse than that for Mr Sage, however, was the discovery that his beloved guitar – which has accompanied him all the way from Edinburgh – was completely destroyed.
The musician has been recording all his travel experiences so far through the medium of song, and has even produced an album capturing his adventures.
Mr Sage, from Torphichen in West Lothian, was devastated by the loss of his guitar, but his friends rallied round to buy him a new one.
He said: “When I saw the damage to my guitar I was absolutely devastated.
“I’d carried it for almost 10,000km, recorded my on-the-road album on it and, for me, it was every bit as important to the challenge as the bike.”
Mr Sage was cycling alone through the town of Mari when a tractor pulling a trailer overtook him and cut in front of him too soon, hitting the bike.
Fortunately Mr Sage threw himself on to the roadside just before impact, narrowly avoiding injury.
Just two days earlier, Mr Sage’s special SPD cycling shoes – which clip on to the pedals – had been stolen while he slept in a mosque, forcing him to cycle in flip-flops.
Despite being angry about the theft at the time, he believes it actually may have saved him from being struck by the trailer.
He said: “If I had still been cycling in my SPDs, I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself free so quickly and would have taken some of the impact myself.
“As angry as I felt watching the tractor drive off without stopping, I also feel very lucky to be looking at damaged possessions rather than injuries.”
At first, Mr Sage thought his adventure was over, however a passing lorry carrying watermelons gave him and his crumpled bike a lift into town.
Mr Sage has been undeterred and has decided to continue his travels through Kyrgyzstan, China, Japan and then on to Australia and New Zealand before heading to Canada and America.
His friends set up a fund to buy him a new guitar and he now has enough money for the purchase.
Sister-in-law Jessica Sage, 30, said: “He is waiting to get to a town where he can buy a decent guitar.”