2 S'poreans, both 23, cycle 3,200km from S'pore to Hanoi, raise funds for dog shelter

They named their adventure "Tour de Franks".

Gawain Pek | December 23, 2022, 10:45 AM

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For two Singaporean men, both 23, a bike tour turned into much more than just another adventure.

While cycling from Singapore to Hanoi, Nigel Quek and Aaron Sim, fresh from national service, raised funds for local street dog shelter, Save our Street Dogs (SoSD).

Killing "two birds with one bike"

Explaining why they decided to fundraise for the local dog shelter, Sim, a first-year student at the Singapore Institute of Technology, shared that they had already been planning the trip for quite some time.

However, a few weeks before they were about to leave, it dawned on them that it might be possible to do some good with the bike tour.

Photo courtesy of Nigel Quek and Aaron Sim.

"I like adventures and doing good. Why not kill two birds with one bike?" Sim quipped.

They decided to support SoSD as Sim's pet dog, Mimi, was adopted from a local shelter.

"I'm personally quite thankful for the work that organisations like SoSD do, which is why we chose to support SoSD for our ride,” Sim pointed out.

Sim and Quek also told Mothership that they had gone down to visit SoSD earlier this year on Jun. 29 to learn more about the daily operations of SoSD and how the donations could help.

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A post shared by Tour de Franks (@letourdefranks)

Documenting their journey

Throughout their time on the road, the pair documented their experiences on Instagram.

While it was not Sim's first rodeo on a bike tour, it was a new experience for Quek, the duo told Mothership.

They dubbed their adventure "Tour de Franks" -- a "cheeky spin" on the famous "Tour de France" bike race and a clear hotdog pun.

Quek and Sim arrived at the Singapore-Malayisa border on the morning of Jul. 1 to start their journey.

To add a touch of humour to their trip and draw attention to the charitable cause they were supporting, they dressed up in hotdog suits.

Not everyone was a fan of the humour though. They suggested in one Instagram post that the "ICA ladies didn't really find the pun funny".

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A post shared by Tour de Franks (@letourdefranks)

Their plan was to travel through central Malaysia before continuing northwards through Thailand and Laos before reaching Hanoi, Vietnam.

The pair intended to travel 130km to 140km each day.

"The first few days of a tour always feel the worst - sore legs, sunburnt skin, mood swings from either overeating or undereating, difficulty sleeping in a different place every night", the entry from Jul. 9 read.

At night, the pair would typically camp out in their tents, based on their Instagram highlights.

In total, the tour took them 33 days with eight days spent resting.

It concluded on Aug. 2, Quek shared on his TikTok.

Image via Nigel Quek and Aaron Sim.

To return to Singapore, the bikes were "unassembled" and put into cargo on their flight home.

A montage of the bike tour posted onto Quek's TikTok on Dec. 14 has since gained 206,100 views and 17,900 likes.

In the captions, Quek, currently a project manager, described the trip as "two losers on the road to Vietnam".

“The video was just a fun montage I did when I was bored, I did not expect it to blow up,” Quek said.

In it, the spontaneity of the duo and the arduousness of the journey was on full display.

A screenshot of text messages between Quek and Sim showed how their final destination was changed and agreed upon within a minute, less than a month before the trip started.

It also featured photos of their sunburnt backs and feet.

Image via @jangpolo/TikTok.

Image via @jangpolo/TikTok.

Despite all that, the duo could still be seen smiling through it all as they traversed the different countries on their way to Vietnam.

@jangpolo two losers on the road to vietnam #tourdefranks #bicycletouring #worldtour ♬ You Know It - Colony House

All funds raised will go to SoSD

Before they even set off, "Tour de Franks" wrote in a Jun. 30 post that they had already raised half the amount of the S$2,000 goal.

On Jul. 16, less than three weeks into their bike tour, the pair posted on update on their Instagram announcing that the S$2,000 goal had been reached, and that more will be raised as the trip went on.

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A post shared by Tour de Franks (@letourdefranks)

The GIVE.asia page set up by Sim currently indicates that they had raised S$3,550 out of the S$3,000 goal.

Sim emphasised on the fundraiser page that all money raised will go towards SoSD as their trip is entirely "self-funded".

"We were already gonna do it anyways, but realised that our dumb adventure might be able to generate some interest for a worthy cause", he clarified.

He also shared how the money will help SoSD:

  • S$10 covers meals for a dog warded for one day
  • S$50 covers one day of hospitalisation for a dog
  • S$100 covers a dog's blood test
  • S$250 covers part of the treatment/ medication for an injured or ill dog

What SoSD does

Save our Street Dogs is a volunteer-run dog shelter for stray dogs.

Their work involves rescuing and rehoming strays, while providing veterinary care to the dogs who need it.

They also advocate against the culling of stray dogs, and educate the public on what to do when encountering one.

According to SoSD, there are 300 dogs under its care.

As SoSD is a "not-for-profit organisation", they "depend solely on the public's generosity" to fund its operations.

You can find out more about SoSD or support their work over at their website.

Sim and Quek shared with Mothership that their "Tour de Franks" fundraiser will continue to run for the time being.

Top image via Nigel Quek and Aaron Sim, @jangpolo/TikTok