Sun Trip Tour: review of distances and height differences

This Sun Trip Tour 2019 was slightly sportier than the 2017 edition, a little more kilometers and more altitude. But everyone had the freedom to choose the easiest or most difficult routes. And the suntripers who dreamed of winning the challenge of the best climber had to blow up their counters, especially for the elevations more than for the distances! For me, the routes were constrained by the different repairs to be done more by the sporting challenges. But I still managed to pass passes deemed difficult, such as the Col de Finestre and Col d'Agnel, with beautiful landscapes.

Date juilletDépartArrivéeDuréeDistanceDénivelé+Trace GPS
3DijonL'Arbresle06:38201 km1410 m
6Le-Puy-enVelaySaint-Flour05:47102 km1867 m
7Saint-FlourCheylade03:5061 km1137 m
8CheyladeSaint-Ours05:56116 km1938 m
9Saint-OursL'Arbresle07:26188 km1699 m
10L'ArbresleVillars-les-Dombes02:3154 km392 m
11Villars-les-DombesDivonne-les-Bains05:52134 km1666 m
12Divonne-les-BainsChamonix07:14133 km1809 m
13ChamonixBourg-St-Maurice06:45126 km3032 m
14Bourg-St-MauriceLanslebourg04:1480 km2280 m
16LanslebourgPinerolo05:48113 km2658 m
17PineroloMolines-en-Queyras07:58124 km2664 m
18Molines-en-QueyrasAspres-sur-Buëch05:06136 km2311 m
19Aspres-sur-BuëchCrest02:59102 km719 m
20CrestValence01:1436 km216 m
TOTAL1 781 km26 170 m

To take the train with a solar bike !

The after Sun Trip Tour: from Valence to Dijon via Châlon-sur-Saône

On July 20th, I leave Valence in TER to join Châlon-sur-Saône. I use the idea that guided the design of my solar vehicle: to take the train. Principles: – a standard bike is always accepted in the TER and in some TGV, – the trailer is acceptable with the panel vertically, it does not take more space than a bike. For the moment, I have taken the train a dozen times in France and Switzerland, I have never been opposed to refusal.

If necessary, we can reduce the length by sliding the 3rd panel on the 2nd, in less than 10 minutes.

In some trains (TGV and Lyria), we can create the equivalent of a cover with trash bags and big scotch (and for the bike, disassembly of the wheels, and when I have the time, pedals and handlebars before putting it in a bag).

July 21, I finish cycling back to Dijon, at 34 km/h average speed.

From Divonne-les-Bains to Chamonix

Sun Trip Tour 2019 – 7th day
We start from Divonne-les-Bains in procession, then we scatter each at our own pace. Some choose the main route with a simple route, others prefer the route drawn by Vécolo, on small roads with calmer traffic, but more tortuous. The sun is full, and our batteries remain 100% charged throughout the day.

At the end of the afternoon, telling a bike shop, I decided to have my rear derailleur adjusted. But bad luck gets involved: the young mechanic can not do it, too bad, I'm leaving. But I will discover a few miles later that the controller does not work anymore: I can not change gears. It's past 7pm, the store no longer answers the phone. I have the morale in the socks because we have to attack a long coast to Chamonix. Ralf and Jean cheer me up, they will accompany me to destination whatever happens. By hand, I install the chain on the largest pinion and we begin the climb. Halfway through, a village party allows us to regain strength. We arrive at the cottage around 21:20 where we will be greeted by the cheers of other sun-trapters!


Copyright Zeppelin

From Villars-les-Dombes to Divonne-les-Bains

SunTripTour2019 – 6th day In the crossing of the Dombes until the Ain, I appreciated the adobe buildings (groomed earth in a banche) and in the walls, the use of the pebbles of a decorative way in association with the brick. This morning, veiled sun, the panels produce 50W, it is necessary to roll with precaution, not to push the assistance. The improvement of the mid-day does not continue the afternoon, too bad! The itinerary prepared by Vécolo, through fields and woods, is very pleasant. But after a few kilometers of chaotic dirt road along a river, we decide to find a more rolling track. The Komoot application takes us on small roads without traffic, it's a treat. And this is how we find Olivier and Norbert, Catherine and Jean-Michel, who also use this application. Arrival in Divonne-les-Bains: Ann, Peter and I arrive together, we are interviewed by a lady very interested in our bikes; she posts her video immediately on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bzx3cZ9Hu0q/?igshid=bxqo5bharnzh Thanks to the city of Divonne-les-Bains for giving us this hearty meal! PS: surprise at 3am: automatic watering starts on the beach, it's panic in the camp. Norbert and Olivier are the most affected, their duvets sound soaked. Benoit takes a laugh. Bikes have nothing. I am relieved because in a half sleep, the crackling of jets made me think of a battery fire.

From L'Arbresle to … Villars-les-Dombes

Sun Trip Tour 2019 – July 10, Day 5 A day like the others: this morning, the attachment of my trailer broke (Dirke had noted this weak point while examining my bike), it is normal, the diameter of the bolt was too weak. I continued to Villefranche-sur-Saone by fixing the drawbar with 2 Rilsan (these necklaces are great!). Finally, I imagined a solution that will be more durable, I hope: at a garage I soldered the fastener directly on the wheel nut. Thanks to this welder who saved me! I make a break for various repairs and suddenly, I drive little: 25 km in the morning and 30 km in the evening. Cherry on the cake: I have new shoes, it's great because by dint of braking with the feet, the others had more sole! Life is beautiful …… until tomorrow! And tomorrow, what will be the challenge, the problem situation?

From Cheylade to Saint-Ours-les-Roches

Sun Trip Tour – July 8, 2019: Everyone cares about this day of 120 km with a lot of elevation. Me, I have other concerns, in the first place, my brake pads that weaken again: after an hour of driving, I am forced to brake with feet to go down to Condat! Fortunately, Gilbert and Jean de Vécolo are waiting for me: they have been warned of my worries by my friends. Thanks to them, I can find in Super-Besse 3 pairs of pads of the right model! I warmly thank Fred of VTT ÉVASION for having kept in his store these plates became vintage today. Thanks to Vécolo's friends without whom rescue would not have been possible! But another surprise awaits me: my solar panels no longer produce 1 Watt! I put 1 hour to find the fault: the fuses of my solar regulators melted to the heat. I beckon on the side of the road, it is Gisele who saves me by offering me two beautiful new fuses. Thank you Gisele! It is almost 13:30 and I have 100 km and a lot of altitude! I will arrive at my destination at 8 pm, in extremis for the meal!

From Saint-Flour to the Cascades Lake in Cheylade

Sun Trip Tour- July 7, 2019
Today, the stage in Cantal is short, without significant elevation. We cross wild landscapes, villages with old houses in volcanic stone in various shades, from warm brown to gray. I think of the times when these villages were populated and productive, around agriculture, handicrafts and small industries. My bike pulls me from my daydreams, he recalls to me: the brakes work less and less well, despite the pad sanding done this morning. I am forced to brake with the foot and it heats strongly in the shoe!

In the evening, we all meet for a bivouac around the lake of Cascades Cheylade. While the sun recharges our batteries, swimming refreshes us and allows us to do a bit of washing. The day ends with a dinner on the terrace of a restaurant at the lake, in a cheerful atmosphere.

From Puy-en-Velay to Saint-Flour

Sun Trip Tour – July 6, 2019
After the speech of the elected officials and Florian Bailly, this is the long-awaited departure: we jump on the road, impatient, some are wrong itinerary, retrace their steps. Finally, we drive through these landscapes of Haute-Loire, between woods, moors and fields … Wild and rough atmosphere. Suddenly arise basaltic organs at the bottom of the valley of the Allier. Further on, there are other groups of sun-trapers, stopped around a beer. At the end of the day, the campsite welcomes cyclists who are tired and happy.

Sun Trip Tour, the big start!

Sun Trip Tour – July 6, 2019
We are 55 solar cyclists to start this morning from Le Puy-en-Velay: each suntripeur installs his solar bike on the Place de l'Hotel de Ville in an atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm . A great animation reigns, the exchanges with the public are rich, the passionate conversations …

Speech of elected officials, presentation of the Sun Trip by Florian Bailly:

A beautiful atmosphere of enthusiasm, sharing with the public. The happiness of finally embarking on this adventure, to finally take the road after months of work, preparation, tests, joys, disappointments sometimes and always creativity!