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Cycling the Silk Road: teens set to ride Beijing to Tehran in aid of A Child Unheard

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Fewer people have cycled the Silk Road from Beijing to Tehran than have climbed Mount Everest – but next month, that is what two teenagers from the UK are going to attempt. The Silk Road route is considered to be the longest, hardest, hottest and coldest in the world.

Charles Stevens and Will Hsu, two of the youngest people to ever undertake such an endeavour, intend to cycle the Silk Road this year in support of A Child Unheard. Donations are being collected via the pair’s official JustGiving page and 100% of funds raised will go directly to the charity. A week before they set off to begin the acclimatisation process, they have already raised more than £7,000 towards their goal of £25,000.

Cycling the Silk Road
The route commences in Beijing and ends in Tehran, via Mongolia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The expedition Charles and Will are undertaking will be a serious test of their endurance. At over 10,000km, the Silk Road route passes through nine countries with temperatures ranging from minus 10-degrees Celsius to above 45.

“I’m looking at this excursion as a method of ridding myself of life’s excesses as I cycle from Beijing to Tehran along the historic Silk Road.”

Having lived in the UK all his life, Will Hsu wanted to take a “gap year” to see the world and do something exciting before going to university to study Economics. Signing up for a 10,000km cycle across some of the least-travelled areas of the world definitely falls into the exciting category…

Cycling the Silk Road
Will is looking at the expedition as a method of “ridding himself of life’s excesses”

Speaking about the challenge, Will said: “I’m looking at this excursion as a method of ridding myself of life’s excesses as I cycle from Beijing to Tehran along the historic Silk Road. While to some this may seem like a not-so-good idea, I am looking forward to experiencing new and unfamiliar countries and cultures, while also achieving worthwhile satisfaction through the funds raised for our chosen charity.”

Like Will, Charles Stevens was also eager to accomplish something out of the ordinary during his gap year before heading off to study History at Saint Andrews. As a youngster, he says, he was fortunate to have traveled extensively and to have completed some exciting challenges for charities, something he is very passionate about.

Cycling the Silk Road
Charles wanted to accomplish something out of the ordinary before he goes to university. We think this is as out-of-the-ordinary as it gets.

Charles said, “I feel cycling from Beijing to Tehran will prove to be the most rewarding and, ultimately, the hardest challenge yet.”

“It should provide authentic insight into a route of great historical significance; I believe that the slower one travels through a country, the better one comes to understanding it… at a time of such unilateral change in the cultural traditions of these regions, I hope to have the privilege of seeing them before they disappear entirely.”

“the slower one travels through a country, the better one comes to understanding it…”

The goal of the boys’ trek is to raise £25,000 in support of A Child Unheard, a charity working to improve the lives of children in Africa through education, sports and arts. Will and Charles’ parents have generously funded the entire trip for them, which means that all donations will go directly to A Child Unheard via the boys’ JustGiving charity page.

The 10,000km route across nine countries is expected to take the duo four months to complete, from May to September. Over the course of the journey the boys will climb to over 4,000 metres and descend below sea level. Everyone can keep in touch with the Beijing-to-Tehran duo and monitor their progress via their blog on www.BeijingToTehran.com, where they will be sharing photos and stories during their journey.

For more information about the endeavour and to donate to A Child Unheard, visit Beijing To Tehran or Just Giving.