Petite property agent to ride 8,000km to Everest for charity

Real estate agent Vaune Phan, 27, is riding her Scrambler from Singapore to the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet. The month-long, 8,000km journey, which started yesterday, will help raise awareness and funds for the Singapore Disability Sports Counci
Real estate agent Vaune Phan, 27, is riding her Scrambler from Singapore to the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet. The month-long, 8,000km journey, which started yesterday, will help raise awareness and funds for the Singapore Disability Sports Council and disabled athletes here. -- ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH

SIZE does not matter to real estate agent Vaune Phan.

The 27-year-old weighs just 45kg, yet she is now riding her 120kg motorbike from Singapore to the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet.

The month-long, 8,000km journey, which started yesterday, will help raise awareness and funds for the Singapore Disability Sports Council and disabled athletes here.

"Since becoming a rider, I have realised that life is very vulnerable. I know of people who got into accidents and became disabled," Ms Phan said.

Among her friends is Paralympian Desmond Tong, 37, who lost a leg following a bike accident.

Ms Phan will ride through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and China before reaching Tibet. She will then ship her motorbike to Thailand and fly there before riding back to Singapore.

The two earthquakes that hit Nepal have not deterred her - she has planned a route that will avoid the affected areas.

Although she will be riding alone most of the time, she is legally obliged to be escorted by a tour guide while in China, including in Tibet.

As well as bike tools and riding gear, she will carry four sets of clothes, make-up and a laptop computer so she can keep a video blog.

Ms Phan will ride for up to eight hours a day and has already planned her pit stops. She will get insurance at each border and has asked each country's embassy in Singapore for assistance in her travels.

Her sponsors from the motoring industry have asked staff from their offices in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to meet her when she passes through.

"My parents have never really encouraged me to ride... but this trip is for a good cause, so they gave me their support," she said.

Her sister, Ashley, a 30-year-old teacher, said the family respects her decision and will be happy as long as she stays safe.

The Singapore Disability Sports Council said it hopes Ms Phan's journey will help to raise its profile among the public.

Those keen to donate can do so through the GiveAsia page that Ms Phan has set up, at www.giveasia. org/movement/beyond_everest

It has raised $1,400 as of yesterday.

kxinghui@sph.com.sg