In 1998, for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Ape three-wheeler, Paolo Brovelli and Giorgio Martino planned a journey of discovery through Europe and Asia. Riding two Ape TM 703 vans specially fitted out by Piaggio, they left from Lisbon on 30 April 1998 and reached Beijing in November of that year. The Ape three-wheelers proved to be the happy medium between two and four wheels: travelling at an average speed of 120/130 km/h, in about 200 days they travelled through 20 countries (8 in Europe and 12 in Asia), for a total of about 25,000 km of often hazardous and neglected roads. For Brovelli and Martino, the two Ape vans were like camels for the Tuareg: not just a means of transport, but a home too, and also a reliable travelling and work companion, transporting the best professional photographic equipment and a digital camera to send photos of their expedition via modem – to any part of the world – in real time. They also took a digital video camera for around 40 hours of TV-standard filming. In addition, they used a satellite phone to interface a portable computer, and used the most detailed and up-to-date maps available.