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Check out this restored Giant Defy with Ukraine & Union Jack custom paint that's on a 2,000km journey to Lviv

Tom Hashemi is riding to Ukraine to deliver a message of support for Lviv's mayor on this custom-painted bike to raise funds for mine clearance

This Bike at Bedtime is a little more meaningful than others, and at the time of publication, it is on its way to Ukraine from London. The bike belongs to Tom Hashemi, who is cycling 1,300 miles (2,000km) across Europe to Lviv, Ukraine, to show support for the Ukrainians and raise funds for mine clearances in the Eastern European nation. 

Hashemi, who is a CEO of a communications consultancy, has colleagues in Ukraine and has been to the country four times since the war broke out. Now, he is travelling by bike and delivering a signed letter of support from British MPs to the Mayor of Lviv. 

Hashemi, says: “A chance encounter years ago led to me working with Roman, a brilliant Ukrainian who today is a close friend, as are his family - his wife and son stayed with us for six weeks when the full-scale war broke out.

"I started working with people Roman knew in Lviv, who went on to become colleagues and an essential part of our team. The experience of Covid, with all of us working remotely, only reinforced our sense of unity – one we will not allow the war to break.

“But while we work amid the leafy streets of Kennington, our Ukrainian colleagues live under constant threat of danger. This is our way of sending a clear message of support to the country.

"That so many MPs and peers have backed the ride is heart-warming for me, and more importantly reflects the resolute support for Ukraine in Britain today."

Tom Hashemi bike at bedtime departure london

Hashemi left London on Friday 28th April on his custom-painted bike that merges the Union Jack and Ukrainian flag, and he is aiming to arrive 16 days later on Saturday 13 May. 

He is supported on the ride by his partner, Catalina Gonzalez-Hirst, 35, who will drive a support car. But now, let’s have a little closer look at Hashemi’s bike...

2023 Bike at bedtime - Tom Hashemi’s special Giant Defy

As mentioned before, it's Giant Defy from 2014, when rim brakes still ruled the world. Hashemi bought the bike originally for £345 on eBay, stripped its parts and sold them for £258, then built it back up.

Despite also owning a newer version of the bike, this is the one he decided to take to RevampBikes for a custom paint job. 

The groupset is Shimano 105 R7000, and the bike is rolling on Hunt's 50mm-deep Carbon wide wheelset.

For the tyres, Hashemi has chosen fast-rolling Continental GP5000s, and with inner tubes inside. For carrying everything he might need, Hashemi has equipped the bike with Aravis Bagworks bags, and he is also wearing custom kit from Kalas. 


A post shared by Tom Hashemi (@tomhashemi)

The saddle is a Selle Italia SLR Boost, which will hopefully prove comfortable for the whole trip.

Hashemi has been training for the ride by doing a combination of strength training and riding between 200-500km a week. He will be averaging about 900km in a week on his way to Ukraine, and said he is expecting the easiest part to be the first five days. Apart from day one, his route is basically flat until Dortmund in West Germany.


A post shared by Tom Hashemi (@tomhashemi)

Hashemi anticipates the hardest part will be the last six days. The distances he is covering, then, are a little bit longer as there are not many places to stay: "It becomes a little bit lumpier, although generally, the ride is pretty easy going elevation-wise," he says.

"Also because if my knee does flare up, this will be when it happens for sure." 

You can follow Hashemi’s progress here and donate to his cause on, where nearly £15,000 has already been raised for MAG, a charity helping to remove landmines in Ukraine.

Make sure to also check out our other Bike at Bedtime features and let us know of any bikes you think should get a moment in the spotlight...

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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Off the back | 5 months ago

Ironically it looks like it's in the team colours if a certain Mr Tinkov. Who is very much a critic of the Kremlin and it's administration. 

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