Technical report of this Sun Trip 2017

What worked well:

  • The bike, the engine and its controller:
    no worry for me, I became aware of my luck in seeing several participants complain about their controller, running irregularly with jerk in their engine.
  • Battery :
    On this second-hand bike with an end-of-life battery, I had reconditioned it with new Lithium Ion cells. The company had proposed to increase its capacity: the evolution of the cells since 2010 and the increase in the number of elements made it possible to multiply by three the original storage capacity (of 9.6 Ah, it is increased to 28Ah). This proved very useful for this journey with, at the beginning, a capricious weather and then with significant differences in elevation.
    State of Charge: Since I could not recalibrate the indication of the charge level, I had to learn, over the days, one to interpret the voltage of my battery indicated on my power meter.
    Regeneration of the battery in the descents: a priori, I did not think to use it because of controversies read in forums. But I finally used it from the 3rd day: in Ardeche, in the descent of Lamastre Tournon-sur-Rhone with a negative drop of 500m, I was able to fully recharge my battery. Then, in the Alps, I always used it: for example, at the Iseran pass, my battery was empty and the descent to Val d’Isère recharged it to 90%. 
  • Solar and its regulation:
    The Genasun regulators have made their service perfectly, the solar panels too. On the other hand, connectivity quickly showed signs of weakness and required interventions. Choosing its connectors while thinking about vibration, rain, sand is paramount.
  •  Panels:
    Good operation also for the sliding rail system for the 2 lateral solar panels (to reduce the width of the trailer). I used it on roads with high traffic especially in the valley of the Rhone and in Lyon.

What caused me trouble:

It was the intermediate structure between the solar panels and my trailer that was cause for concern for me and required interventions. My constant search for lightness was at the expense of solidity.
Moreover, to divert parts from their original function, by not knowing well the mechanical constraints that they were going to undergo – continuous vibrations, pitching – constituted a risk-taking …
The positive of this experience is that I have learned to cope with the means of the edge: RILSAN collars of any size, DuckTape adhesive or packing brown …

Map of the followed route

Each participant had the choice of his itinerary with the only constraint of the rally points every 2 days. Some have followed more solitary routes, others have shared their itineraries.

See the full screen route

Stage of 8 July:

Stage of 9 July:

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Stage of 10 July:

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Stage of 11 July:

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Stage of 12 July:

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Stage of 13 July:

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Stage of 14 July:

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Arrival in Lyon: the Sun Trip in the media

France3, July 21: Sun Trip 2017:33 out of 37 bikes arrived in Lyon! On July 21, the "Sun tripers" came to the end of their sporting and technological challenge! There are 33 of the 37 who had started two weeks ago from Clermont-Ferrand. Not bad, after 1200 kilometers, 20 000 meters of positive elevation, and some big passes of the Alps! »

Le Progrès, 22 July : The Sun trip stops at Trévoux

Le Progrès, 24 July : The Sun trip at Pont-d’Ain

Magazine 20 minutes, 21 July : The arrival of the sun trip in Lyon

Distances and elevation

Here are the distances and elevation recorded by my GPS.

DateDistancePositive elevationNegative elevation
TOTAL1191 km+13 151 m-13 400 m
8 juil. 20171029631108
9 juil. 201758929752
10 juil. 201712410131522
11 juil. 2017821239374
12 juil. 201711823421684
13 juil. 20178510701294
14 juil. 20174813731000
16 juil. 201712527202328
17 juil. 20171254272165
18 juil. 2017115539610
19 juil. 2017130305317
20 juil. 201743137187
21 juil. 2017302116

Final stage and arrival in Lyon

Departure from Trévoux for the lock house where we have an appointment with the local and departmental representatives: the communities concerned have the project of Aménagemer a cycle path along the Saône to Lyon: La ViaSaôna. The runway is strongly paved with pebbles drawn from the Saône and thus not very rolling. When we arrived in Lyon, we all gathered on the Pont Masarik before we went into procession in the tunnel of the Croix Rousse, on a special road for bicycles.

Last repair at Camping de Trévoux

Thanks to Kanopée Village, the campsite of Trévoux, for Lending me a drill and drills of excellent quality! I have easily pierced new stainless steel collars to renew the structure that supports the solar panels. Tomorrow, my bike will be able to face the tow roads paved with the pebbles of the Saône and I can arrive in Lyon without worry.

Pérouges, a must-have stop

The morning alarm at the campsite of Meximieux allows me to arrive very early in Pérouges, this village medieval of character, before the flood of tourists flooded the alleys and spoiled the charm.

Surprises along the way

Finished the rugged terrain of the Alps, hello the plain! The sun is there, it is sometimes too hot but we do not complain: it fills our batteries of energy! Today, amazing encounters punctuate the course: These bikes that claim the sun, they too: intriguing:

Continuation of the course on the ViaRhôna

Leaving the campsite of Seyssel, I make the first part of the itinerary on the ViaRhôna. This cycle path sometimes follows the banks of the river, sometimes it moves away to Prerdre in maze between hamlets and villages. Shortly after Lagnieu, I will leave this cycle lane to rally the direction of Trévoux. And on the road, there is the medieval village of Pérouges where I will be sure to stop!

Return to France by the ViaRhôna

Luckily, by chance, I find the ViaRhôna will lead me to Chancy.

During a previous cycling trip that had brought me to Switzerland, I had already noticed the excellent signs on these red panels, well visible and well maintained. I'm going to Seyssel where I'm going to step.

Geneva

I stroll, enjoying the freshness of the lake. I meet the Philipp family in a very nice crew: 2 Pino Hase tandems (1 normal place, 1 reclining place) and an extension for the last one. He's going to go around Lake Constance. A picture of freedom well-pleasing: I discover a place of friendly swimming, I film interesting plans. But we must continue, the exit of Geneva in the furnace is not a pleasant one.

A safer way to travel!

In Martigny, I'm looking for ideas to secure the end of the course. At Oschsner Sport, Valentin introduces me to a particularly sturdy one!

Du Grand Saint-Bernard at Lake Geneva

If the Italian side is foggy, the descent on Switzerland is sunny. We are in a clear air, but right out of the tunnel, the trucks join us, we cross tunnels, it's already less pleasant… The descent ends in Martigny, now heading for Montreux by small roads and a long cycle path along the Rhone, with a strong wind from the front. In Montreux, the view of the lake is always as magical, I see the sea… The lake accompanies us to Lausanne, the rallying point of the day.

Departure in the mist

We start from the refuge in a foggy atmosphere, a ghostly halo envelops the bikes.

Fortunately it is not cold, the sun is not very far. The three kilometers that separate us from the pass are on the way. We hear William's drone flying over us.

cap on the collar! Impossible to pass in front of the panel of the pass without making a small picture: Francis, Jean-Yves, Stéphane, Paul, Danièle.

Direction Aosta, before attacking the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard

Nice descent of the Petit Saint-Bernard pass, I film Daniele and Jean-Louis in the laces, at full speed. The light is still beautiful.

After an endless number of turns, we arrive at the end of the valley and join a busy road. Rolling becomes less pleasant, especially as the heat increases. To top it off, I have to stop because the bolts of the trailer are unscrewed because of vibrations:

Another stop: another bolt goes out and rubs on a disc:

Fortunately, the arrival on Aoste makes forget the heat and the worries:

Aosta: the heat is at its height, I do not linger. Quick, find the road to the Grand St-Bernard! The speed of the cars on this road spoils a little fun, but the tunnel finally free us from all this traffic: we approach the last 10 km with happiness for some and pain for others, especially those whose battery is empty.
A warm atmosphere awaits us at Casa Don Angelo Carioni refuge, we will sleep 3km from the pass.

Battery empty and mounted “on the pedal” was the lot of Thierry, he is acclaimed by all suntripeurs at table:

Departure for the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard

Official departure of Val d’Isère
As there are a lot of tunnels, we need to space ourselves to not interfere with the cars. We are going at full speed. Despite our jackets and gloves, we are frozen when we arrive in Sainte-Foy-en-Tarentaise. Fortunately, it is here that the climb begins, first very steep. The morning air is fresh, the air very pure, a pleasure.

Jacqueline put the turbo:

At the bottom of the valley, Bourg-Saint-Maurice:

We approach the neck, the light is sublime. I meet young Belgian students who have a big problem on their cargo bike: all the spokes are loose, the front wheel is completely veiled.

I like this collar, difficult at the beginning and sweet at the end: