7.30pm : Charlie Walker

Saturday 17th 7.30pm

On Roads that Echo : A bicycle journey through Asia and Africa


Having already pedalled 18,000 miles from Britain to Beijing (as detailed in Through Sand and Snow), Charlie Walker’s homeward leg carried him a further 26,000 miles through Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

The two and a half year journey spanned the mountains and deserts of former Soviet Republics, Afghanistan on the fearful brink of foreign withdrawal, and remote corners of the Congolese jungle.

From hiking through sandstorms in the Gobi desert to barrelling down whitewater rapids in a dugout canoe, this perilous adventure and the intimate encounters it enabled gives insights into the past, present and future of often overlooked parts of the world during periods of great change.

“A first class adventure from a first class adventurer.” – Benedict Allen

 “An epic adventure, told candidly and vividly, bringing back memories of many places I’ve raced through. Charlie’s words make me want to go back and experience with the same depth.” – Mark Beaumont

 “A mammoth journey of astounding length and breadth through many fascinating and misunderstood places. It makes me yearn for the formative freedom of the open road.” – Al Humphreys

Charlie Walker is a British adventurer, writer, public speaker and firm favourite at TAL Festival. He specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a two-time recipient of the Transglobe Expedition Trust ‘Mad but Marvellous’ grant.

Charlie’s longest expedition was a 43,000-mile bicycle journey reaching the furthest cape in each of Europe, Asia and Africa before returning home. On this journey he traversed 60 countries, encountering extremes of weather, remoteness and physical exhaustion during the four and a half years he was away.

Charlie has also walked 1,000 miles solo across the Gobi desert, pony trekked 600 miles across Mongolia, traversed Papua New Guinea by foot and paddle, and completed a world-first 5,200-mile triathlon along the perceived Europe Asia border. This expedition spanned from the midwinter snowfields of the Russian Arctic to the Bosporus in Istanbul.