Energy balance of Sun Trip Europe by solar bike

In this report, I take into account the Sun Trip but also my journey to reach Brussels and the return from Lyon to my home. I excluded the days when I did not cycle: 3 days in Brussels for presentations to schools and partner institutions and 2 days of immobility for breakdown and other.

– 57 days of cycling
– 14 countries crossed, 18 borders
– distance of travel: 8,600 km
– positive elevation: 50,000 m

– total solar production: 91,000 Wh
– energy produced by regeneration: 4,000 Wh
– motor + devices consumption: 95,000 Wh

– average solar production: 1,590 Wh/d
– energy produced by regeneration: 65 Wh/d on average
– average consumption: 1,655 Wh/d

This summer, the sunshine conditions were extremely variable:
– mini solar production: 200 Wh in one day
– maximum solar production: 3,000 Wh in one day
The distances traveled were influenced by these weather conditions, the traffic conditions (roads with heavy traffic), the type of road surface (deteriorated asphalt, unpaved surfaces: cobblestones, sand, gravel, etc.). The wind was not often frontal, sometimes lateral, therefore destabilizing for the 2 wheels with solar roofs.

Solar consumption and production graph

Table of the route, distance, elevation, consumption and solar production

The itinerary of my Sun Trip Europe

In the end, I mostly followed the route I had traced back home, with maps and apps. As expected, I went through the city of Magdeburg in Germany, through the primary forest of Białowieża in Poland, through the city of Cluj Napoca in Romania, twinned with Dijon.

Voir en plein écran

But obviously many unforeseen events have affected my course:
– in Germany, I finally crossed Berlin to find Patrice and Jean-Louis, two other suntripeurs,
– in Lithuania, I preferred to follow the GPS track given by Bernard, to avoid improbable roads and dirt roads,
– back from Riga, Lithuania, I took a detour via Vilnius to visit a little cousin married to a Finnish woman;
– in Poland, around Lublin, I turned east all morning to follow those who had opted for Ukraine, then at midday, I changed my mind, I decided to come back to my first choice, I headed for Slovakia,
– in Romania, arrived in Cluj-Napoca, I diverted to Alba Iulia to respond to the invitation of Sophie Planque and Jérémy Vaugeois, and thus find other participants with I then traveled,
– in Romania, to arrive in Constanta, we opted for a very pleasant route, without any traffic, which we also took on the return,
– we came back via Bulgaria rather than Romania, for the pleasure of discovering a new country,
– in Serbia, we have carefully avoided the traffic of the capital Belgrade,
– in Croatia, we have long walked along the border with Hungary without ever crossing it, to avoid time-consuming health checks,
– in Slovenia, we have consciously changed the planned route to enjoy the Slovenian landscapes, visit the capital Ljubljana and meet great people there,
– after Slovenia, we thought to cross Austria, but in the end we preferred to go to Italy to visit our friend Daniele,
– in Italy, we decided to end our trip in Lyon, without going through Spain and Portugal, the weather and unforeseen events having slowed our progress too much.

Bruxelles- Riga : 14 days

Hello to all Internet users who follow this blog!
Since leaving Brussels, it has been impossible for me to publish articles on this blog every day. Fatigue at the end of the day, the ups and downs of the trip, the drowning of my computer made it all impossible.
On the other hand, I publish several posts per day on Facebook (fast)
@Stef Xuo
and the best images on Instagram solar adventures
I invite you to find me on these social networks!

My planned itinerary for the Sun Trip Europe

This is a route I mapped out at home, with maps and apps. Apart from the compulsory checkpoints, we have complete freedom to choose the route. So I chose to go through a few specific places:
– in Germany, the city of Magdeburg, to see The Green Citadel created in 2005 by Hundertwasser, brilliant Austrian architect and environmentalist,
– in Poland, the forest of Białowieża, which is the last primary lowland forest in Europe, a forest unexploited by man for centuries,
– in Romania, the city of Cluj Napoca, which is twinned with Dijon where I live,
– as well as Pécs in Hungary,
– and Guimarães in Portugal.

Voir en plein écran

But of course, lots of unforeseen events await us: meeting people who warmly recommend a place, a city, the desire to take the road for a while with other solar cyclists, breakdowns perhaps …
This map is therefore a landmark today, but it is impossible to know which course will be mine in the end.

Follow the participants of the Sun Trip 2021 on their social network!

48 solar cyclists of 10 different nationalities are registered for Sun Trip Europe, which departure is scheduled for June 15 in Brussels.

Hopefully the health context will be favorable and allow everyone to participate!

Below, find each participant on their social network or blog: discover their preparation, their expectations, their enthusiasms before the big departure …
Notice to participants: for any addition or correction, contact:

NbParticipants Pays½BlogFBInsta
1Dirk Huygue

Belgiquelogo facebook
2Kris WuytsBelgiquelogo facebook
3Géry Gevers

Belgiquelogo facebook
4Baudouin de HemptinneBelgiquelogo facebook
5Raf Van HulleBelgiquelogo facebooklogo instagram
6Bernard CauquilFrancelogo facebooklogo instagram
7Alessandra Sorrentino

Suisselogo facebooklogo instagram
8Pirmin BütlerSuisselogo facebooklogo instagram
9Patrice Plozner

Francelogo facebooklogo instagram
10Marisol SoutoFrancelogo facebooklogo instagram
11Sibylle Felder

Suisselogo facebook
12Daniel JenniSuisselogo facebook
13Nina WollnerNorvège½logo instagram
14Frédéric KochFrancelogo facebooklogo instagram
15Stéphane BujadouxFrancelogo facebooklogo instagram
16Didier VanderhoveBelgique½logo facebook
17Arnaud NegrierFrancelogo facebook
18Herman SegersBelgiquelogo facebook
19Jean-Marc DuboulozFrancelogo facebooklogo instagram
20Jean-Louis MachadoFrancelogo facebooklogo instagram
21Ralf LewienAllemagnelogo facebook
22Arnaud RoullandFrancelogo facebook
23Sofia Zaki
24Nicolas DelauneyFrance
25Michel BertetFrance
26Gaël BornetSuisselogo facebook
27Philippe PassardFrance
28Patrick TschiggAutriche½logo facebook
29Jacques CharpinetBelgiquelogo facebook
30Patrick AbramsBelgiquelogo facebook
31Laurence Surugue
32Christian SurugueFrance
33Baptiste Costes
34Samuel Certain-ChambaultFrance½logo facebook
35Valérie Nerincx
36Bertrand NerincxBelgique½
37Robert LucasFrancelogo facebook
38Frédéric VerronsFrance
39John MooneyRoyaume-Unilogo facebook
40Axel JustAllemagne
41Jean-Marc QuéauFrancelogo facebook
42Ivan ChicoisFrance
43Nicolas HenrysNouvelle-Zélande
44Akmaral MazhitovaKazakhstanlogo facebook
45Emil BarbutRoyaume-Unilogo facebook
46Patrick Noël

47Fakroudine AkbaralyFrance
48Sebastian MeyerFrancelogo instagram

He goes to work by solar bike!

I had met him in Pau last summer, he had come to meet the participants of the Sun Trip France 2020 and to see their solar bikes. He was very enthusiastic about this mode of transport, and we had a good chat!

Grégory has made his project a reality: since last fall, he has been traveling by solar bike to the various places where he leads workshops for young audiences. 2000 km traveled to date! This approach is fully consistent with the purpose of its activities: discovery of nature, scientific, sensitive or artistic approach, preservation of the environment … (Find out more on Terra Pitchoun )

Grégory found good listening with Déclic Éco who designed and built the bike perfectly suited to his professional needs.

The Sun Trip achieves its objective: to spread the concept of solar bike!

Prologue to the Sun Trip: from the Jura to the Vosges

Leaving Lyon on June 1, the participants in the Sun Trip prologue continue their journey. They went from the Jura mountains to the Vosges mountains, with unfavorable weather: the brave had to pedal in the rain, sometimes the storm, they climbed the Ballon d’Alsace under the clouds! Find them in this video by Sophie Planque and Jérémy Vaugeois.

Lyon: start of the Sun Trip Europe prologue

This morning, in Lyon, the start of the Sun Trip Europe prologue was given at the Town Hall, in the presence of the mayor Grégory Doucet, elected officials of the city and the Metropolis, Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, representative in France of the European Commission.

The speeches present the exemplary values ​​carried by the Sun Trip: the search for sustainable mobility to meet climate challenges, a challenge that we must face together within Europe. Mr. Ferran Tarradellas Espuny recalls the motto of Europe: “united in diversity”, this diversity that we will discover and taste throughout our journey.

This motto also reflects the spirit of the Sun Trip, with its values ​​of inclusiveness: a group of people with disabilities participate in the prologue with adapted solar bikes, the Benur , designed by a Lyon company.

Video presentation of the Sun Trip Europe!

The organization of the Sun Trip has published the trailer for the event, with the 5 compulsory passage points for all solar bikes.
The rest of the itinerary is at the discretion of the participants. Some plan a fairly direct route, others announce detours through Sweden. Further on, participants will be tempted to cut through Belarus and Ukraine, while most will cross Slovakia and Hungary to join Romania.

But the evolution of the health situation in each country could shake up the projects …

The evolution of my solar bike from 2017 to 2021

From my first participation in the Sun Trip in 2017 until today, I have experimented with different configurations of solar bikes.
Here are the basic principles that guided my constructions:
– from 2017 to 2019, I wanted to be able to take my vehicle by train. So I opted for a classic bike associated with a single-wheel trailer carrying the solar panels (which could tilt vertically).
– for the Sun Trip 2020 which was to take us to China, my goal was to be able to have as much solar energy as possible. So I associated my solar trailer (3 panels) with a recumbent bike on which I added a solar roof (2 panels). Thus, I reached the maximum solar surface accepted on the Sun Trip (almost 2.5 m² which corresponds to a power of 500Wp). In 2021, I transformed the trailer a bit.

2017Extrawheel modifiée200WcBionX
200Wc +100Wc à l'arrêtCrystalyte SAW (roue avant vélo)
300 WcCrystalyte SAW (roue remorque)
300 Wc9Continent RH205 (roue arrière vélo)
500 Wc9Continent FH212 (roue avant vélo)
500 Wc9Continent FH212 (roue avant vélo)

Carbon footprint of a 10,000 km trip

Today, everyone agrees that it is urgent to reduce our CO² emissions. I was just wondering what the differences were in terms of CO² emissions between the different modes of transport.
The answer to this simple question is ultimately quite complex: many factors go into the calculations, starting with the average number of passengers in a plane, in a car.

For the table below, I used the data * published by the European Environment Agency to calculate the CO² emission for a trip of 10,000km, i.e. the distance we will travel during the Sun Trip Europe.

(* Averages: 88 passengers / plane, 2.2 passengers / long-distance car)

To give yourself a scale of these values, the easiest way is to compare them to the annual CO² emissions of a French person, i.e. 12 tonnes of CO2 equivalent through his travels and his accommodation ( heating, hot water, electricity) for one year.
We can see that by plane, a trip of 10,000 km would increase the annual carbon footprint of a French person by almost a quarter!
N.B .: the approach presented above does not take into account the manufacture of vehicles.

Sun Trip Europe official jersey!

That’s it, one month before the big start, the look of the official Sun Trip Europe jersey has been revealed to us! As always, the jersey is very beautiful, with its shades of blue that evoke the sky and the stars of Europe that cross it!

A solar bike for people with reduced mobility!

The Benur bicycle meets the travel needs of people with reduced mobility. Its ramp at the rear allows independent access with a wheelchair and, if necessary, to take a passenger.
Going to work, shopping, taking children to school, going to the cinema, everything is possible with Benur! And thanks to its removable bench, it can also carry heavy loads.
The Benur bike is available in a version with a solar roof, which allows the battery to be recharged throughout the day.
Learn more:

This bike is developed by a company that hosted the Sun Trip on its premises on July 30, 2020.

Preparation of the Sun Trip Europe in April

Obviously, this month of April will have been marked by the re-containment and the limit of 10 km around the home! Luckily, half of my perimeter was surrounded by nature and was quite hilly. It was also the opportunity to discover or rediscover side roads and small forgotten roads … I saw spring unfold visibly, despite an episode of snow and night frost.

By knitting in this perimeter, I increased the distance covered each week. For my longest outing, I managed to do a 200 km lap with 2600m of vertical drop!
April ends with rain! Suddenly, the bike remains in the garage and I take this opportunity to refine the itinerary for this summer and publish a few articles.

Date GPS Dist.
h : mn
27/04 164 5:42 28,9 2355 1902
24/04 203 6:49 29,7 2732 2327
23/04 104 3:38 28,6 1372 1178
15/04 81 3:06 26,1 1175 633
10/04 71 2:48 25,4 825 159
08/04 52 2:00 27,9 670 171
02-04 232 8:40 26,8 2545 2010
Avril 908 32:19 28,1 11674 8380

A solar bike for the family!

While Suntripers design their bikes for long distance travel, other people imagine a more urban solar bike, for everyday use, for family use.

This is the case of the Vhélio association which wishes to promote an alternative to the car. She designed a solar vehicle that allows getting around in a practical, economical and ecological way. The vehicle can transport 2 adults and 2 children, and it has storage space (for shopping and more …).

In addition, the objective of the association is to provide the plans and the list of parts to allow everyone to build their own solar vehicle (VhéliO’tech). The finalization of the design of the VhéliO’tech kits is the subject of a crowdfunding campaign, to be found here .

The Vhélio in the media:

One solar bike capable of carrying several people!

 Grégory Barrier, initiator of the Vhélio project!

Vhélio, the solar kit bike, designed in Orléans!

 An Orléans collective is launching Vhélio, a solar bike to build yourself.

An engineer from Orleans fits a solar charger on his bike.

Preparation of the Sun Trip Europe (March)

At the end of March, I took advantage of a period of full sun to restart my solar bike. I was able to carry out 3 outings before confinement, with several objectives:
– test the various modifications or repairs carried out on the bike this winter,
– get used to pedaling again for a whole day,
– test different settings to better manage engine consumption (my average consumption in Wh / km on the Sun Trip France in 2020 was quite high).

Another objective, not the least, was to take advantage of this beautiful spring atmosphere by visiting the Côte-d’Or and the Saône-et-Loire.


Date GPS Dist.
D +
h: mn
24-03  188 1625 6:45 27.8 2129 1722
31-03  210 1975 7:44 27.2 2354 1982
02-04  232 1590 8:40 26.8 2545 2010

Solar production

In this season, the solar radiation is obviously less strong than in summer, the available energy is about 60% of what it is in July. If during the summer of 2020 I collected around 3000 Wh / d on the best days, here I have recovered up to 2000 Wh / d, which is already not so bad.
The solar charge was increased thanks to the absence of wind which made it possible to ride with the panels tilted at the start and end of the day. But the wooded parts of the course made it difficult to catch the light, even with trees without leaves!

Engine consumption

To maintain a balance between consumption and production, I tested different settings in the Cycle Analyst depending on the terrain (maximum speed, maximum power, etc.)
On the first ride, I used too little the battery in the morning. So much so that during the meal break, with the panels perfectly oriented, my battery recharged very quickly. At half-time during the break, I had the feeling of “losing” this precious solar energy which could no longer enter my full battery!
During the next 2 outings, I corrected the shooting by increasing the speed in the morning and therefore the fuel consumption. Downtime is in fact privileged moments of charging when the panels can be perfectly oriented towards the sun.

Balance sheet

Overall, I managed to balance production and consumption until 5:30 p.m., then production became too low to cover consumption. And no question of reducing consumption: I had to be home by 7 p.m., curfew time!