"I believe that the slower you travel in a country the better you come to understand it." - Charlie Stevens
Named the 'Silk Road' in 1877 by Ferdinand von Richthofen, an eminent German geographer, the ancient 10,000 kilometre route from Beijing to Tehran is one of the most important trade passes in world history. As far back at the 15th century, caravans of camels, horses and mules transported everything from jade and gunpowder to rhubarb and, of course, silk, between China and the Mediterranean.
During the summer, Charlie Stevens and William Hsu cycled along the entire route to raise awareness for A Child Unheard Foundation. His epic journey saw him tackle Tarmac, gravel, and pure desert on our Condor Heritage. He crossed the Great Wall of China, through to Mongolia, rode over the Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, and into Russia on his 114 day ride.
Why Beijing to Tehran?
As a youngster Charlie completed several challenges to raise money for charity. During his gap year, he decided to find a worthy challenge. Beijing to Tehran silk road was chosen and it took Charlie and his friends a mammoth two years to plan the trip. “I feel cycling from Beijing to Tehran will prove to be the most rewarding and, ultimately, the hardest challenge yet”, said Charlie. “It should provide authentic insight into a route of great historical significance."
Another of Charlie's motivations was to visit and experience cultures that are changing rapidly in the 21st century and with it traditions that may soon be lost. "I hope to have the privilege of seeing them before they disappear entirely. I believe that the slower you travel in a country the better you come to understand it."
Passing through 9 countries with temperatures ranging from minus 10°C to above 45°C, it is a test at all extremities. Charlie and his friend William aimed to take 120 days to complete the ride, but were able to complete the route eight days ahead of schedule. It makes Charlie and William two of the youngest people to ever complete it, and less than the number of people who have climbed Everest.
The trip is made even sweeter as Charlie and William raised a huge £25,000 for A Child Unheard during their ride.
Read more about Charlie's exploits and donate here.