24 May 2013
Going out for a curry is turning into an incredible adventure for WYG Sustainability Consultant, Tom Smith, and his friend, Luke Barton, who are shortly to cycle 15,000 kilometres across Europe and Asia on the trail of Britain’s favourite meal.
Setting off in June 2013, Tom (27) and Luke (28) plan to ride all the way from Brick Lane in London’s East End to Bangladesh’s bustling capital, Dhaka - unsupported.
As the main hub of London's Bangladeshi community, Brick Lane (nicknamed Banglatown) is famed for its many curry restaurants and is the ideal starting point for the expedition, says Luke, who has been planning the trip for more than a year.
The pair will travel overland through 20 countries and hope to complete their gruelling journey in just six months, before spending a month working in a Bangladeshi orphanage The only time they will leave solid ground is when crossing the English Channel. The rest of the journey will be completed by bike and will take them through a number of countries in which WYG is operational as they move from Europe to the Middle East, Central Asia, West China and finally across Pakistan and India to Bangladesh.
During the trip Luke and Tom will be subjected to 50 degree heat in the Karakum Desert, where they’ll be forced to carry up to 16 litres of water on their bikes, in addition to bitter wind and unforgiving cold on the high plateaus of Central Asia. They must also cross several mountain ranges including The Pamir and The Himalayas, cycling over 5,500 metre passes, in order to make it to Bangladesh. The expedition will be entirely unsupported; the pair will carry everything they need on their bikes and will camp wild as much as possible.
In the process Luke and Tom hope to raise £10,000 for War Child, a UK charity dedicated to protecting children living in some of the world's most dangerous countries; and for The Noor E Farid Nasrine Academy, a boy’s orphanage based in Comilla, Bangladesh.
Thousands of Bangladeshis moved to London’s East End in the 1970s and 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 ... as well as sampling some fine curries from around the world of course!”, say Luke and Tom.
The two young men, who met 10 years ago when they started playing in a rock band in their native North Yorkshire, are no strangers to adventure. Tom has previously driven an old banger to Mongolia, while Luke’s travels have seen him befriend Orangutans in the Sumatran jungle, sip whisky with inmates in a Bolivian prison, trek high into the Himalayas and cycle down the ‘world’s most dangerous road’.
This is the first time they have travelled together and they are under no illusions about the scale of the challenge they are undertaking - one that will test their physical and mental stamina to the limit.
Luke, who dreamed up the idea of the trip, acknowledges he may not be at his physical best but says: “I'm relying on the 'get fit as you go' tactic.”
Tom, who works as a Sustainability Consultant based at the Leeds Headquarters of international multi-disciplinary consultancy, WYG, says: “I want to do this because I never have done it before and I may never again. I love the surprise and excitement of adventure and so I’m going to go and find it.”
Tom's employer WYG is contributing to the fund raising and is arranging a ‘home-from-home’ welcome and practical help from friends in some of its overseas offices.
Luke and Tom will pass through a number of WYG’s international hubs including Zagreb and Istanbul, marking a milestone as the fundraisers traverse the border between Europe and Asia. Tom’s career in sustainability and the charities they have chosen to support are closely replicated in WYG’s work in the environmental sector and the consultancy’s physical and social infrastructure development contracts in former conflict zones and developing countries.
Note to editors:
For more information please contact:
Louise Gardner, PR & Communications Executive
WYG GROUP LTD
Arndale Court, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UJ
Tel: +44 (0)113 278 7111