In June 2013 Luke Barton and Tom Smith are going to be setting off on a 15,000 km unsupported cycle journey from Brick Lane in London to Bangladesh’s bustling capital; Dhaka. They’ll be putting their Water-to-Go filters through their paces as they go!
Luke gives us the lowdown on the trip…
“A lot of people ask us where the idea came from and to be honest it materialised, like most stupid ideas, after a few too many beers. We were both craving an adventure and fancied seeing the world at a bikes pace and maybe getting fit in the process, there isn’t much more to it than that. Once an idea like this manifests itself in your head you just have give in to it and do it. Anything is possible right?
So why Brick Lane to Bangladesh? Well Brick Lane and Bangladesh have very close ties. As the main hub of London’s Bangladeshi community, Brick Lane (nicknamed Banglatown) is famed for its many curry restaurants and it seemed like the ideal starting point for the expedition which will take us overland through 20 countries to Bangladesh; the origins of Britain’s favourite dish. Thousands of Bangladeshis immigrated to London’s East End in the 1970’s and they now famously run many of the curry restaurants and other businesses on and around Brick Lane making it the cultural hot spot it is today. By cycling between these two curry capitals we hope to highlight the stark differences between the lifestyles of the two Bangladeshi communities, promote multiculturalism in London and help increase the profile of both Bangladesh and East London as tourist destinations.
In the process we hope to raise a pile of cash for War Child, a UK charity dedicated to protecting children living in some of the world’s most dangerous countries, and the Noor E Farid Nasrine Academy, a Bangladeshi based orphanage.
The only time we will leave solid ground is when crossing the English Channel. The rest of the journey will be completed by bike and will take us across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and finally across India to Bangladesh. During the trip we will be subjected to 50 degree heat in the Karakum Desert where we’ll be forced to carry up to 16 litres of water on our bikes, to bitter wind and unforgiving cold on the high plateaus of Central Asia. We must also cross several mountain ranges including The Pamir and The Himalayas, cycling over 5500 metre passes, in order to make it to Bangladesh. The expedition will be entirely unsupported. We will carry everything we need on our bikes and will camp wild as much as possible.
So with only 6 or 7 weeks until we leave we’re busy organising visas, packing our current lives into boxes, seeing family and friends, buying all the gear we’ll need, figuring out routes, getting vaccinations….the list goes on and on and on! With all this going on we haven’t had much time to train so we are, perhaps foolishly, relying on the get fit as you go tactic.