We are Luke Barton and Tom Smith and in June 2013 we will embark on a 15,000 km unsupported cycle journey from Brick Lane in London to Bangladeshs bustling capital; Dhaka.
As the main hub of London's Bangladeshi community, Brick Lane (nicknamed Banglatown) is famed for its many curry restaurants and it is the ideal starting point for the expedition which will take us overland through 20 countries to Bangladesh; the origins of Britains favourite dish. Food is major theme of the trip and it's fair to say we'll be starting and finishing the trip with a curry feast. More than eight out of 10 curry restaurants in the UK are owned by Bangladeshis, and this fabulous dish dictates both the start and end destinations. Thousands of Bangladeshis emigrated to London's East End in the 1970s and they now famously run many of the curry houses and other businesses on and around Brick Lane making it the cultural hot spot it is today.
By cycling between these two curry meccas we hope to highlight the stark differences between the lifestyles of the two Bangladeshi communities as well as promote multiculturalism in London. 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. 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. Wish us luck! Our journey will begin from Brick Lane in London's East End. From there, after a quick hop across the channel, we will travel across western Europe through France, Germany and Austria and then head south through the Balkans to Greece.
We'll then cross Turkey and Iran taking some pretty serious detours in order to see some of the great sites these countries have to offer. We'll then enter Central Asia and work our way through the 'Stans' (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan). We'll be taking the Pamir Highway from Tajikistan into Kyrgyzstan before hopping off to head east into Western China. We'll then head south and join the Karakorum Highway which will take us in to Pakistan. Our other option here is to take a route from Tajikistan into the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and over the border into Pakistan...still undecided. Either way, from Pakistan we'll tackle the last leg of the journey by heading east into Northern India and crossing the country from west to east until we reach our destination...Bangladesh. Then we'll stop and have a curry in Dhaka.
This route is open to change depending on climate, politics, natural disaster and our own personal whims and sense of adventure.