St Andrews student to cycle the Silk Road

Charles Stevens, left, will cycle the Silk Road with William Hsu, right
Charles Stevens, left, will cycle the Silk Road with William Hsu, right

A student of the University of St Andrews will be one of two of the youngest people ever to undertake a gruelling cycling challenge.

Charles Stevens, who will study history at the Fife university, will be joined by Will Hsu for the ‘Beijing to Tehran’ Silk Road cycle.

It is a 10,000km journey that the pair are doing for charity during their gap year from studies.

In what seems like an amazing piece of historical fact, less people have cycled the Silk Road than have climbed Mount Everest. It is considered to be the longest, hardest, hottest and coldest journeys in the world.

Charles and Will have already raised more than £10,000 towards their goal of £25,000 for the A Child Unheard charity through the JustGiving page, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/BeijingtoTehran.

The figure was set as that is the amount needed to secure the future of Ayenyah District School in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

The Silk Road passes through nine countries – China, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran – with temperatures ranging from minus 10 degrees Celsius to above 45 centigrade.

The pair were eager to accomplish something out of the ordinary during their gap year before returning to university.

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

He added: “I believe 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.”

It is expected to take them four months to complete, from May to September, and they will climb to over 4000 meters and also descend to below sea level.

They will be sharing photos and stories of their journey via their blog, www.BeijingtoTehran.com.

Will Hsu said: “I’m looking forward to the excursion as a method of ridding myself of life’s excesses as I cycle along the historic Silk Road.

“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.”

A Child Unheard is a charity that works to improve the lives of children in Africa through education, sports and art.

the trip was funded by the boys with the help of their parents, ensuring 100 per cent of donations will go directly to the charity.