Two British Indian cycling enthusiasts have completed their latest challenge to cover 260 km across the foothills of the Himalayas. They raised funds for the British Asian Trust, a charity founded by King Charles III, over 15 years ago when he was the Prince of Wales. Rohit Chadha and Bobby Ahulwalia co-founded the Most Exotic Challenge in 2016 and since then have helped raise over 1.2 million pounds for the British Asian Trust from rides across challenging routes in Cambodia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and India.
In 2023, their Himalayan challenge has raised around 600,000, funds targeted at supporting programs to empower marginalized communities across South Asia.
“This ride was the sixth time we have completed the challenge and it was in the Himalayas, definitely the most hilly and challenging to date,” said Chadha and Ahluwalia, both UK-based professionals and childhood friends who led a small group of cycling enthusiasts on the four-day trek.
“Funds we raise helps the British Asian Trust in supporting communities to keep children safe, to help get children back in school by helping families find new sources of income. The British Asian Trust works with governments and legal practitioners to give children the best possible opportunities to not just survive, but to thrive,” they said. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel restrictions in place, the ride was repurposed to be located in the UK and renamed “Palaces on Wheels”. Charles, then the Prince of Wales, ceremonially set the riders off on a bike.
“I’m a second generation in the UK, my parents came across to the UK in the 1960s. I feel that we’ve all been privileged and blessed by the sacrifice that they made and it’s time that we, as second generation, recognise that and try to do something in our own small way for the community in South Asia to give back,” shares Chadha. Several months of preparation goes into planning the Most Exotic Challenge, including choosing a route, places to stay – often off the beaten track, finding riders, sponsors and donors.
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive British Asian Trust, added: “For many years the British Asian Trust has been working to provide a better future for marginalized communities across South Asia. We are grateful that supporters like Rohit Chadha and Bobby Ahluwalia believe in our vision and are so dedicated to it. For a number of years, they have been organising the Most Exotic Cycle challenge, raising an incredible amount of money which has supported our vital work.”
The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 by Charles, then the Prince of Wales, as a diaspora-led international development organization to deliver high-quality programs across South Asia. It champions the use of social finance products to drive positive change across the region.