Some time ago a journalist came to interview me about my solar bike. We stayed for almost an hour discussing Sun Trip and traveling in a very friendly atmosphere. The report was broadcast today in a very dynamic 2 minute editing …
In May: first technical test outlets to bring out any weaknesses of design, make improvements that will then be tested in turn (~ 1000 km approximately).
In June: outings to train the cyclist and test the machine on long journeys(~ 2600 km approximately).
Preparing for the Sun Trip Tour – June 14
Today, I begin my journey back to France, while Daniele stays here, in Italy. I start the day by misleading myself. When I realize it, I say "not serious, in a few kilometers, I'll be on the right track again". But suddenly, I have to climb, climb, climb a terribly steep coast that never ends. The engine heats up! And at each turn of the road, inscriptions painted on the parapets and the road itself. I will know later that the Giro 2018 has been there: 3 km to 11%.
But I am rewarded for this unexpected detour: arrived on the ridge, I have a magnificent view of the Tagliamo valley and its turquoise waters.
Further, I take this beautiful bike path, from Campiolo to Tarvisio, on an old railway. Very gentle climb in the greenery, punctuated by refreshing tunnels, bridges with impressive panoramas, dotted with abandoned railway stations.
After Tarvisio, a few more kilometers and you have to think about finding a campsite. I have to climb and sweat to find a nice campsite. Campers are interested in my solar bike, beer and friendliness are waiting for you!
Sun trip tour preparation – June 13
After a 1500 km journey, we are now entitled to a well-deserved rest day, right? Daniele offers me to go to the sea, to Grado precisely. The idea pleases me, here we go, with our solar bikes lightened weight luggage. In the morning freshness, we go on country roads and bike paths. We cross Palmanova, an amazing star-shaped fortified town with 9 branches, surrounded by moats, built at the end of the 16th century. Monumental doors allow us to enter and exit.
San Daniele del Friuli, tôt le matin
arrivée à Palmanova
une des portes de Palmanova
la lagune tout près de Grado
arrivés à la plage de Grado...
... Daniele fait son show!
Aquilea, une basilique fondée au IVème siècle
les 2 cyclistes solaires
Aquilea, la basilique fondée au IVème siècle
la ville de Grado
la ville de Grado
Shortly before Grado, we go along the lagoon for several kilometers in a wind carrying marine fragrances. The sea is coming! Swimming and lunch. Back to town pace, pushed by a friendly wind. Stop at Aquileia which was one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire. We admire the Byzantine basilica founded at the beginning of the 4th century, which houses Romanesque frescoes from the 12th century, while enjoying ice cream and pastry ….
Review of the day: 150 km traveled at 27 km / h, charging 660 Wh (the battery remains full!)
Preparation for the Sun Trip Tour 2019 – June 12
After a solid breakfast, we leave Oberdrauburg to attack a small pass. No worries, a few hundred meters of altitude difference, with fresh calves. We leave the Drava Valley to follow a parallel valley. The sun gives and on this road without traffic and flat, we run at a brisk pace. Soon we arrive in Italy, in Tarvisio. Daniele announces 40 km of descent, on an old railway converted into a bike path! And indeed, it's great: we hardly need to pedal. We take our time, we savor the beautiful landscapes! The bike path runs through old train stations. Some are decommissioned, others rehabilitated in cafes. Great, it is the occasion of a contemplative pause accompanied by a tasting of local pastry … The route of this railroad takes bridges a little dizzying. As for the many tunnels, they give us a welcome freshness and plunge us into a mysterious atmosphere. Then, we leave the mountains, we arrive in the plain crossed by the turquoise waters of Tagliamo. I would like to take a break to bathe. But Daniele accelerates, he approaches the goal of this journey, the house of his family in San Daniele del Friuli. No need to fight against this call … Yet I make a short stop: impossible not to stop at the edge of this lake unreal blue! Daniele understands. Finally, in the last rays of the sun, on a place at the top of the city, I discovered the majestic home of Daniele's parents. I realize that we have reached the end of our journey!
Preparation Sun Trip Tour 2019 – 11th June
This morning we depart from Aicha, in South Tyrol, Italy, and we ascend quietly to the East, towards East Tyrol in Austria. I have already driven 2 times in this green valley, each time with great pleasure, this 3rd time is no exception: it is an enchantment, a succession of short climbs followed by crossings of meadows, woods, villages .. . We walk along a lake. And snow-capped peaks on each side, as if to guide you, prevent you from getting lost … a pure happiness. Suddenly, Daniele stops in front of me and plague in Italian! What is going on ? Oh I see… we have to cross a ford of 50 or 60 cm of water, maybe more, we do not know. I leap boldly, phew, it's past! But Daniele refuses to pass, he fears for his engine and his battery. He prefers to face the road traffic. He will admit later that it was the most unpleasant road of all his trip: trucks and cars touch to touch, without respite. Daniele and I are therefore road apart for a moment, but no risk of getting lost because now we have the telephone network! In San Candido, we meet a couple of Austrians who invite us to their house for a snack: coffee, beer, brioche … Very nice moment! We finish our journey in an inn in Oberdrauburg, at the foot of the pass that we will pass tomorrow. It was time! A storm of hail and rain is unleashed. Thank you Daniele for having preferred this old inn to the village campsite.
Preparation of the Sun Trip Tour – June 10
After Innsbrück, the climb to the Brenner pass attacks from the start at 11 or 12%. We advance to 6 km / h and it makes much heat our Direct Drive technology engines (95 ° C for mine!). At times, Daniele pushes his bike to avoid overheating. During breakfast, the sun had recharged my battery and I thought it would last all day. But very quickly, I was disappointed. Further on, we walked along the valley on a really charming road for cyclists, crossing hamlets, meadows and villages. Real roller coasters, steep descents followed by equally steep climbs. While Daniele was cursing, I savored the landscapes. The arrival at the pass was the occasion of a memorable video selfie. The descent of the pass, on the Italian bike paths, was a real pleasure, despite our referral errors and very narrow baffles.
Preparation for the Sun Trip Tour – June 9th
Without a telephone network, we managed to reconnect last night, Daniele and me, thanks to WhatsApp and the WiFi of the campsite. This morning, I drive 40 km to join him and resume our journey together. We will try not to lose ourselves anymore! A few tens of kilometers down the valley then we attack the Albergpass. The landscapes are always beautiful even if the sun is missing. I set the engine assistance to minimum to save battery power. Short appearances of the sun, by chance in the steepest climbs. If it does not give a lot of watts, it at least boosts morale. Snowy landscapes at the col. Then nice descent, the wheels warm up and suddenly, I worry about exploding the tube (it happened to me in tandem!). For a future trip, I may be equipped with tubeless tires or disc brakes … Balance: 172 km, 1500 m of elevation gain, almost 600 Wh of solar charge (so average sunshine).
Preparation of the Sun Trip Tour – June 8th
Daniele repaired his brakes at the campsite which had a very well equipped workshop. We leave shortly before noon. A beautiful day is coming: a blue sky, a sun full of watts, wind in the back! We ride together, Daniele on the road, and me on the bike path along the road. Switzerland is full of attention for its cyclists! But sometimes these bike paths move away from the road to join after a village, for example. But all of a sudden, I realize that it's been a while since we've lost sight of each other. Nothing serious, you will tell me, a little phone call or SMS to meet. Unfortunately, it happens today that I change my telephone network operator. So, it was impossible to join us to tell us where we were. I find nice Swiss people ready to help me out: they agree to join Daniele with their cellphone. But Daniele does not answer, I leave a voice message at random (I'll know the next day he believed in harassment advertising!). Further, in a service station equipped with Wifi, I try with Whatsap and email. In vain ! After all these unsuccessful attempts, I resolve to resume my journey. I am the GPS track concocted by Daniele, without knowing if he was in front or behind me. At least we drive in the same direction, on the same road.
The scenery is beautiful, with snowy mountain scenery, scenic bike paths. The day of sun gives a max, more than 1000 Wh, she would have given much more if my battery had not been full by 8am. My 330Wp solar panels work wonders. At the end of the afternoon, I roll by tilting them well to better capture the evening sun. Arrived at a campsite, the wifi and WhatsApp allow me finally to reconnect with Daniele. He is 40 km ahead of me and will sleep in Lichtenstein. Phew, we'll meet again tomorrow morning!
Preparation of the Sun Trip Tour – June 7th
Another excellent day that took us from Lomont in Haute-Saône to Frick in Switzerland. From small roads to cycle paths, we reached Alsace. Change of scenery ! But it was on entering Basel that we really entered another world, with a real place given to cyclists in the city. Awesome! The storm had threatened all afternoon but the tent was already planted when the rain began to fall around 20h.
What ask for more ?
Training for the Sun Trip Tour – June 6
After the rain of the night, we take advantage of the morning sun to recharge the batteries while we enjoy our breakfast on the terrace of a bakery. We leave Langres with difficulty: works block the road! We have to be cunning to get around the obstacle. We do not know yet that this is the first embarrassment of a long series throughout this trip through Switzerland, Austria and Italy. Rural landscapes are parading before our eyes. Approaching Vesoul, we follow a delicious bike path through meadows, streams, groves … But then, we face a road with terrible traffic, the N19: cars, trucks, motorhomes succeed one another without interruption. Some are close to us. Suddenly, an exceptional convoy falls back on Daniele who must literally leave the road. I fart a cable, after 30 km of permanent danger, I want to leave this hell! But Daniele tells me that our ordeal will be over in 2km. I yield. And that's right: in Lure, we find our country lanes so quiet. Happiness ! And, icing on the cake, we find a lovely campsite on the farm, the Minicamping Lomont. If you go to Haute-Saône, I warmly recommend this place! We load our batteries between 19h and 21h, while savoring the meal prepared by the Dutch host who manages this campsite.
Training for the Sun Trip Tour – June 5
I meet my teammate Daniele in Troyes (he left the day before the Paris region). We will go to Italy for a solar bike! In the morning, the weather is gloomy but fortunately the weather will improve throughout the day. For this first day of road together, we cross beautiful landscapes. At times, I feel like sailing in the heart of an ocean of greenery … The GPS track prepared by Daniele plunges us into the heart of rural France, it's great! At mid-day, we start to get hungry but no coffee or restaurant in the small hamlets we cross! But at 14h, surprise in the small village of Cunfin (180 inhabitants): the restaurant ANDION is open! We will not starve today! Thanks to Olivier and his wife for their warm welcome and delicious food! In the evening, we settle in the municipal campsite Langres overlooking the valley: we enjoy a superb panorama before a fiery storm that puts the ground Daniele bike.