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British student planning the ultimate road trip

By ANGUS McNEICE IN LONDON | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-05-11 01:32
Image from Charles Stevens’ Beijing to Teheran cycling trip in 2016 along the route of ancient Silk Road. Photo For China Daily

Stevens is currently accepting applications from people who want to join him for sections of the journey. So far, two have signed up — Will Chamberlain, a history student at St Andrews, and Rob Krawczyk, a graduate student in architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Chamberlain plans to meet the team in Turkey and hopes to gain perspective into how the Belt and Road Initiative is shaping people’s perceptions of China’s growing global presence.

Image from Charles Stevens’ Beijing to Teheran cycling trip in 2016 along the route of ancient Silk Road. Photo For China Daily

Krawczyk aims to join the expedition in China and says he will be experimenting with documentary and architectural techniques to “document the shape” of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Between them, members of the team speak English, French, Italian, Russian, and Farsi. Stevens is hoping to find a Mandarin speaker to join them in China.

“China puts out a general framework for what it sees the Belt and Road as, but all these different projects are going to have different challenges and different opportunities,” Stevens said. “We want to understand the individual elements of them.”

Image from Charles Stevens’ Beijing to Teheran cycling trip in 2016 along the route of ancient Silk Road. Photo For China Daily

The expedition is being funded in part by the University of St Andrews, the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the United States, and Magellan Capital, a London-based cross-border advisory company.

Jeep is sponsoring the team with a vehicle and with further support if parts are needed.

Stevens is also signed up to take a crash-course in mechanics at the end of May.

“The car is brand new,” he said. “But complacency is never an option.”

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