Cycling UK member joins inspirational footballer on a mission to Munich

Four men are standing with their bikes on a paved path. They’re wearing Scotland football shirts and black shorts, one is wearing black tracksuit bottoms. Two bikes are hybrids, two are road bikes.
Left to right: Martyn Robertson, Ethan Hunter, Gordon MacKay and Stephen Collie all set to 'Make it to Munich'.
Football-obsessed Cycling UK member Stephen Collie is set to fulfil a long-held dream this summer as he joins a group of Scotland fans on an international bikepacking challenge from Glasgow to Munich for the start of the Euro 2024 championships

Stephen Collie, 47, from Airth, Stirling, is set to team up with inspirational teenage Scottish football star Ethan Walker for the epic cycle ride. Ethan’s participation in the ride made national news due to his remarkable recovery from life-threatening injuries after being hit by a car in the USA just seven months ago.

The journey will begin at Hampden Park on 1 June, where they will be waved off by supporters, including Scotland national women’s team captain Rachel Corsie. Over the next two weeks, they will ride alongside fellow ‘Tartan Army foot soldiers’, filmmaker Martyn Robertson (who is making a documentary of Ethan’s story) and Ethan’s surgeon Professor Gordon Mackay.

The bond between the aspiring footballer and the renowned surgeon is central to this expedition. It was Professor Mackay who inspired 18-year-old Ethan to continue his rehabilitation by challenging him to cycle 7,000 miles to the championship’s opening game, where Scotland will face Germany at Munich’s Allianz Arena on Friday 14 June.

Stephen’s journey to Munich

Despite not being a long-distance cyclist and having never cycled outside of the UK, it was originally Stephen’s ambition to ride solo to the tournament after Germany was announced as the host nation in 2018. The Aberdeen fan’s dream was initially met with scepticism from friends and family: “Oh you’ll cycle to Munich, will you aye?!”

Undeterred, Stephen identified Martyn as a kindred spirit with a matching sense of adventure and was able to overcome some initial reluctance and convince his friend to join him on the adventure. “He ended up talking himself into it.”

While Stephen planted the seed, it was ultimately Martyn who later became the driving force behind the project and subsequently created the quartet of intrepid cyclists after becoming inspired by Ethan’s extraordinary story.

A rigorous training regime has prepared the enthusiastic Scotland fan for the mission to Munich. Early morning spin classes have been combined with regular long-distance outdoor rides, such as Dunfermline to Edinburgh, and Stephen’s personal favourite, climbing the Ochil Hills up to Logie Kirkyaird.

Stephen will embark from Glasgow riding his trusty Boardman Hybrid 8.9, having refused to buy a new bike to keep his “carbon footprint as low as possible”. Alongside packing some essential inner tubes, chain links and spare rear derailleur hanger, he has also made some adaptations which he hopes will make the ride easier.

I’ve added Shimano dual SPD/flat pedals as I will be in a few cities and want the peace of mind using flat pedals in heavy traffic. I’ve also got Ergon GP4 hand grips, which will help me on hills and save my wrist from getting sore when moving positions


Cycling alongside the Dutch canals is expected to be the highlight of a route that includes a first stage of Glasgow to Newcastle via Edinburgh before a ferry ride to Amsterdam and the start of the continental leg of the journey.

“I planned the route using Komoot. You can click on the camera icon on your route and the scenery looks incredible.” 

From Amsterdam, the route will take in stops at Arnhem, after which they’ll continue to follow the Rheine down to Dusseldorf before a final journey south to Bavaria and the ultimate destination of Munich. “It’s one of my favourite cities in the world,” revealed Stephen. 

Happier, healthier, greener

This is Stephen’s first ride of this scale having caught the cycling bug years ago after buying a bike through the Cycle to Work scheme

It helped my fitness, I lost weight and find it really good for my mental wellbeing. If work is tough, you forget it all when you are on your bike


Stephen’s passion for cycling developed over time, and he recently joined Cycling UK after attending an annual gathering in Dunblane, where the Scottish team warmly welcomed him.

He learned more about the charity during the event and participated in a guided ride. The extensive member benefits, including various discounts and support, convinced him to join.

For the small cost which can be paid monthly, you could save more on discounts than you spend on membership. There’s the free Komoot region map, bike purchase and repair help line. It’s great value for money


As a regular match-goer, Stephen was also encouraged by the environmental benefits of the ride. “It's a bit more climate positive than the usual multiple plane trips when going to watch Scotland.”

He’s confident they’ll be able to cover the planned 70 miles daily thanks to splitting the journey into 10 ride days with two rest days. They’ll also be travelling with a support car driven by a doctor to ensure any medical emergencies are covered.

His optimism even extends to the outcome of the big match with a prediction of a 2-1 win to Scotland. “There’s no pressure on the team and you never know!”

Whatever the result of the match, you can cheer on Stephen and the team’s progress through the ‘Make it Munich’ Facebook page, while residents of Aberdeen and the northeast of Scotland can also enjoy daily phone-ins to the Northsound 1 radio station. For more details on their journey and fundraising efforts, visit the GoFundMe website.