Iran was the favourite country of Spotswood’s Jeremy Scott, but also the place where he had his most terrifying encounter.
Mr Scott, 42, has cycled through 29 countries raising $18,500 for the Australian, British and New Zealand heart foundations.
He is giving an author’s talk in Williamstown this month, speaking about having open-heart surgery at age four and his cycling adventures as detailed in his book, The long road from a broken heart.
In 2004, he was inspired to challenge himself after reading a magazine series on people who had completed cycling journeys in different parts of the world. “I was living in London and I thought, well, I need to get home eventually,” he said.
“I thought, why can’t I do it on a bicycle and why can’t I do the lot?”
Mr Scott said the people of Iran were welcoming and warm-hearted, but he also bumped into some “Iranian mafia” who he genuinely believed were planning to kill him.
“I’d stopped in this wee truckstop restaurant to get some water before camping for the night,” he recalled.
“It wasn’t long before I realised the restaurant was a cover for their drug-dealing business. As I’m planning to get out, the owner comes back from the kitchen with a couple of guns.
“I had a sharp knife in my pocket and was working out how many of these guys I’d need to kill to have any chance of seeing daylight.”
But then a truck pulled up and, unlike other customers, the driver actually ordered food.
Mr Scott reasoned nothing would happen to him in front of witnesses and seized his chance.
“I said, ‘Thank you for your hospitality but I’m leaving’,” he said. “One guy tried to stop me wheeling my bike out the door, but I just kept pushing and eventually these other people started to look up and he just said to me, ‘Go’.”
Mr Scott is speaking at Williamstown library on September 24 from 6.30-7.45pm. Bookings: libraries.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or 1300462542.