A cyclist who rode from Edinburgh to Germany and back in the Christmas holidays said he was "very pleased" after completing his 1616-mile challenge in just 13 days.

Markus Stitz, 32, arrived in Edinburgh at 8.30pm on New Year's Day after an "epic but highly enjoyable trip".

It included a sleepless 24-hour dash across Belgium to catch the Zeebrugge-Hull ferry, which he made with just 15 minutes to spare.

He said: "It was a big achievement. I was thinking 'can I really do it?' because my health wasn't 100%, but it all worked out."

Mr Stitz, a passionate winter cyclist, was recovering from a chest infection when he left Edinburgh on Saturday December 19. He arrived at his parents' home in the village of Schwobfeld, central Germany, in driving wind and rain late on Christmas Eve, having ridden from Edinburgh to Dover and then across Europe from Calais to Schwobfeld – 970 miles – in eight days.

He spent three days at home, and was waved off by his parents last Wednesday, heading for Zeebrugge.

After the 15-hour ferry crossing, he cycled back to Edinburgh in just two days, completing a 152-mile trip over hills on the final day.