How far would you go for a cause? How deep is your love for travel? Does age really matter when it comes to exploring the world? Often you would find yourself coming across these queries. But today for the very first time EploreOutLoud has gone ahead and found answers to these questions. As we proudly bring forward an unbelievable travel tale of two young boys straight out of school who decided to bike a humongous 10,000 kms of the entire silk route by biking Beijing to Tehran. Surprising! isn’t it?
Here we have these two courageous and crazy boys Charles and Will joining us in a candid chat about their decisions, trip, stories and some of the most beautiful awe inspiring experiences.
EOL- How did the idea of biking Beijing to Tehran strike you?
Charles:I came up with idea initially when several years ago I was flying across Asia and it struck me how, despite traveling thousands of miles, paradoxically, I wasn’t really traveling and seeing the vast area beneath me. I thought that it would be amazing to actually visit all this countries and a few years later I found myself discussing cycling across Asia with Will.
EOL- What was the main objective behind this?
It’s hard to say, but I wanted to take advantage of this rare opportunity of a year off to be able to do a trip like this and visit so many fascinating places. It has been and will continue to be a steep learning curve in so many ways, such as languages, food, cultures and of course bike maintenance. And to me that’s what is great about bike touring, it teaches you so much by allowing such close interaction with the places you visit and you really have to learn to look after yourself.
EOL- What motivated you both to be a part of something like this?
Being able to do this trip from Beijing to Tehran for charity was a big motivator and we feel that A Child Unheard has really given meaning to the trip, so far over £20,000 has been donated so we’re delighted. As well as this, I love a tough challenge and cycling from Beijing to Tehran certainly provides that in every way imaginable.
EOL- How did your family and friends react?
The majority think we are utterly mad and my family tried to persuade me on numerous occasions not to do the trip, including trying to bribe. However, everyone has been hugely supportive and also so generous in donating to A Child Unheard charity, which has really meant a lot to us.
EOL- Was biking your passion since childhood?
We have both been keen cyclists since we were young and I always spent the summer on my bike in the garden when I was younger. However, neither of us have ever been more that recreational cyclists, never being part of clubs or doing big trips so this was really a first for us both. I think it goes to show that everyone is capable of doing adventurous trips; it’s just whether you have the time and motivation to get out and actually do it.
EOL- What challenges do you both face while on a trip?
Staying hydrated and consuming enough calories is surprisingly difficult. We’ve both lost about 3kg each already and we’ve been eating constantly (over 6000 calories a day), and on rest days that’s all we seem to do, having spent 5 hours in a restaurant one afternoon.
The biggest challenge though is mental focus, it makes such a difference. Your state of mind can make 150km of cycling into a joy or a struggle. So staying focused and motivated is the hardest thing and also the most important.
Another issue that is more of a problem than a challenge are the dogs we meet along the way. For some reason dogs seem to love trying to bite cyclists and so we have been chased more times than we like to admit, the worst being when 5 German Shepard’s descended on us along a three lane highway.
EOL- How do you fight those challenges?
For the mental challenge it’s important to just focus on the short term as it isn’t wise to think too much about the challenge ahead, at least not at this point when we’re only halfway. Also to just remember to laugh and enjoy both the good times and remember even the most miserable ones will come to an end eventually.
EOL- One memorable experience you both would like to share
Will: The most memorable moment for me was in Mongolia when we were camping on a grass plain with scenic views of rocky mountains and a river in the distance. I had just settled into my tent for the night when I heard the wind whipping up, and within 15 minutes it had turned into a furious sandstorm. Tents were collapsing under the strain so we had take them down after an hour of fighting a losing battle, with Charles losing his Thermarest to the wind, and we rushed to the nearest town around midnight for shelter. It turned out to be a beautiful morning afterwards though – typical.
In Mongolia it was raining when we were off road and whilst coming down a hill too quickly I lost control and fell off. I was extremely lucky in that the rain started to stop during the 30 minutes when I couldn’t move because I had the biggest dead leg of my life from the impact. Then it took 2 hours of limping followed by a further 10 hours of very slow cycling to finish for the day. I slept well that night although we woke up to a layer of ice on our tents as it hit around -10 during the coldest hours and -7 when we got up.
Message to our readers
I think I would encourage anyone and everyone to do an adventure of some sort, since you learn such a huge amount from it.
Some one has truly said that once the travel bug bites there is no antidote. The compassionate story from Biking Beijing to Tehran of Charles and Will would surely inspire innumerable souls who are still weighing the probability of realizing their dreams.
If you wish to find out more and donate for this noble cause, do visit