3 Wheels, 2 Brothers, 1 Mission – to drive 45,000 kilometres around the World!
In September this year, two British brothers plan to set off from the UK and travel round the world to raise money for charity. Nothing unusual in that, you might think, except that brothers Alexander Saxon, often known simply as ‘AJ’ and Kevan Pulfrey plan to accomplish this feat in a Tuk Tuk.
The French Connection
AJ and Kevan chose Mayenne in Pays de la Loire for the Tuk Tuk’s shakedown trials as their parents are based near Lassay-les-Chateaux in Mayenne. This week they’ve been showing off the Tuk Tuk in Lassay-les-Chateaux, Mayenne town centre and across the regional border at Bagnoles-sur-Orne and La Ferté-Macé in Normandy.
We caught up with the adventurers during their stop next to the river in Mayenne this week and were able to experience the Tuk Tuk first hand.
For the uninitiated, a Tuk Tuk is a three-wheeled vehicle, exposed to the elements on three sides, so-called because of the ‘tuk-tuk’ noise from its 650 c.c. engine. Flat out, it can travel at up to 70 mph (about 112 kph). Tuk tuks are a common sight in the Far East where they are used as taxis, mini buses, delivery trucks and even waste disposal vehicles.
It was in the Far East that the idea for the trip of a lifetime germinated in AJ’s mind. AJ has tackled long road trips all over the world in the past taking in the USA, Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Brazil. Tuk the High Road can trace its roots back to a chance conversation in a bar in Cambodia. AJ explained: “I jokingly asked a Cambodian tuk tuk driver how much it would cost to drive back to the UK. The driver said it was impossible. Not being one to back down from a challenge the seed was planted!”
After returning to the UK, and floating the idea past brother Kevan, the pair decided Cambodia “wasn’t enough of a challenge”. And so it came about that Tuk the High Road was born, a round the world trip, akin to an overland Kon Tiki expedition.
Many hours were then spent scouring Ebay looking for a Tuk Tuk and eventually one was sourced in Manchester. A Tuk Tuk was chosen as AJ and Kevan felt that anyone could tackle a trip like this in a 4 x 4. By choosing a Tuk Tuk for their epic voyage, it ensures that the trip will be unique. Not only is a Tuk Tuk more environmentally friendly than a car, it costs less to buy and run. That apart, if all goes to plan, AJ and Kevan can expect to feature in the Guinness Book of Records since the trip will be unique.
On a trip such as this, there’s no road crew and no following entourage of support vehicles. Kevan Pulfrey is the grease monkey part of the team and has also travelled widely. Apart from being able to take engines to bits and re-assemble them, Kevan is also a Michelin accredited chef in the UK. Fortunately, Kevan has a very understanding employer who has not only agreed to a ‘sabbatical’ that could last for anything up to a year but has also agreed to chip in £1000 to get AJ and Kevan’s fundraising for their two chosen charities off to a flying start.
AJ and Kevan have selected two UK based charities to benefit from their exploits, Alzheimer’s Society and Stars Syncope Trust. There are personal reasons for their selection. Both their grandmothers suffered from Alzheimer’s whilst Kevan has battled with Syncope, a chronic condition which causes involuntary fainting with a number of associated symptoms such as nausea and temporary blindness.
The Tuk the High Road website will be accepting public donations, of which 100% will automatically be split between the two nominated charities, once a Virgin Just Giving facility has been set up. AJ and Kevan are also actively seeking corporate sponsors. Tuk the High Road already have pledges of support from the likes of P & O Ferries for assistance with some of the ferry crossings, Talking Heads who are providing translation services into a multitude of languages and Salomon who have already donated many items of extreme weather clothing and kit.
The idea is to take in wonders of the world, both ancient and modern. The Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Angkor Wat in Cambodia (quite a lengthy diversion) and Chichen Itza in Mexico all feature. The Eiffel Tower is also on the projected route but AJ and Kevan are keen to listen to ‘audience requests’ for sights to visit and new experiences en route. They can’t promise to go everywhere but they see this unique form of audience participation as a way of generating greater coverage and thus more donations for their selected charities.
September 2012 should see Tuk the High Road back in France and heading to Paris. After that it’s off to Rome and thereafter the Silk Route eastwards beckons with a long haul to China’s Pacific coast. All being well, AJ and Kevan expect to be back in France in early autumn 2013, emerging from the Pyrenees and heading up through Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes towards what will probably be the best tasting croissant in the world when they reach Mayenne in Pays de la Loire.
Full details of the provisional route can be found on the route map on Tuk the High Road website. The website also contains a detailed FAQ on many aspects of this unique adventure in a Tuk Tuk and you’ll be able to follow AJ and Kevan’s exploits after ‘Tuk Off’ this September. You can also follow Tuk the High Road on Facebook and Twitter.
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