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 – 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!
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.
The organization of the Sun Trip has just published the profile of the 55 participants of the Sun Trip Tour 2019. They come from France, Switzerland, Belgium, USA, Italy, Germany. They are 4 years old to 72 years old!
This summer, there will be 12 official teams, 8 of which are made up of EDF and EDF Renouvelables employees.
It was at the Sun Trip 2019 and 2020 preparation weekend that I discovered this innovation. Thanks to Ralf!
So I decided to replace the BMS of my battery (battery management system) by a model with a bluetooth communication device. It cost me about thirty euros and a little more time than I imagined for the installation. Indeed, the connection pads of the BMS were different and I had to use the soldering iron.
1) démontage de l'ancien BMS
2) remplacement de la nappe de connexion avec un fer à souder
3) maintien des fils avec de l'adhésif
4) module bluetooth activé !
5) remontage dans le conteneur
No matter, I am satisfied with the result: now, I can know everything about the status of my battery, in real time, on the dedicated smartphone application. I still added a switch: it allows me to turn off the bluetooth module to avoid unnecessary discharge of the battery, for example during winter storage.
Apparently nothing has changed between the March version and the April version 3.1. I simply changed the 3 solar panels! I replaced the old economics panels with high quality panels, made of the latest Sunpower ™ Maxeon photovoltaic cells, in the highest “class” or “grade”. Indeed, after manufacture, the cells are sorted into different classes according to their performance (Sunpower ™ uses a particular classification with well over 4 classes).
Result: 86% more solar energy for the same surface! What a difference !
I realize that in 2018 I thought to ride with 200Wc but in fact I had only 107Wc real. To have the same power, only 1 of the new panels would have been necessary, my trailer would have been 2 times shorter, lighter, hyper-manageable. In 2019, I chose to increase the panel area for more power. I wish: – to have more autonomy in case of cloudy weather with clearings, not to be worried about finishing a day “on the pedal”, – to ride faster if necessary, – to ride longer to travel greater distances.
Previous editions of the Sun trip have seen a wide variety of bikes: Classic straight bikes, tandems, but also recumbent bikes, recumbent tricycles, tandem-lying tricycles, cargo bikes, a seated/reclining tandem and, for a short appearance, a family bike with 4 wheels…
But no mobile bikes had yet participated. This will be the case this year with Bertrand Touzet: on July 6, he will start the Sun trip tour 2019 with his mobile bike whose fairing improves aerodynamics.
Bertrand makes us discover his vehicle in this short video:
It was during the course of preparation for Sun trip 2019 and 2020, in Lans-en-Vercors, that Christophe Dugué gave us important information about solar panels. In a very clear presentation, he explained to us the design and operation of a solar panel, the definition of its technical characteristics (maximum power) etc…
Christophe also informed us about practical aspects important for solar cyclists: the influence of temperature on performance, the impact of shading, the consequences of micro-cracks in photovoltaic cells…
The solar panels are its domain: Christophe works at Photowatt, a french manufacturer of solar panels for houses and buildings.
And most importantly, Christophe designed and manufactured prototype solar bike panels. These panels are both light and rigid, therefore resistant to the hazards of a solar bike trip. Christophe tested his first prototype during the Sun trip Tour 2017. Then Stéphane Bertrand was equipped for the Sun trip 2018, Lyon-Canton. For the Sun trip Tour 2019, Christophe will also equip his wife who will participate with him.
In mid April, the Sun trip team organized a weekend of preparation for the Sun trip. The aim of this internship was to help the participants better prepare themselves from a technical point of view:
understand the operation of solar panels,
know the different components of a bike with electric assistance (motor, controller, battery…),
share experiences from previous Sun trips,
This weekend was intense and very rich, as well by the contributions of the speakers: Florian Bailly (creator of the Sun trip), Christophe Bayard (Association Vécolo), Christophe Dugué (Photowatt), Bernard Cauquil (Professor industrial technical and suntriper 2015 and 2020) and by exchanges between participants.
Thank you all!
Here is a video that translates the atmosphere of these encounters:
50 participants from 7 different nationalities will participate in the 2019 Edition of the Sun trip tour, from July 6 to 20! Some of us have already met during a very fruitful weekend of preparation, organised by the Sun trip team, in Lans-en-Vercors in April.
Find each participant on his social network or blog: discover his preparation, his expectations, his enthusiasm before the big start…
During the Sun trip 2018, part of Lyon, Mickaël Joguet had put 50 days to arrive in Canton with his solar bike. He won the second place on the podium.
His bike will go back around the world, piloted by Luc giros (30 years old). On May 5, Luc will depart from La Rochelle and depart for an unusual tour of Europe for 17,000 km!
His project is to take out his veil on the three seas but also on the inland lakes. Its route will be along the southern coast of Europe in order to “kitesurfer” on most spots.
Luc will make his journey in complete energy autonomy: thanks to the sun, his bike can pull the trailer carrying his kite.
In addition to the sporting challenge, this journey will also be an opportunity for Luc to evoke his illness, the bladder exstrophy, a complex malformation of the urinary bladder.
After several days of rain, the Sun came back! It is slightly veed but no matter: I was too eager to test the solar panels received three days earlier! I compared them to the panels bought in 2017 and 2018. Although this test has no scientific value, the observations have seemed interesting enough to be published.
Panel A specified power: 50Wc nominal
number of cells: 4 x 4 = 16
cell manufacturer: unspecified
cell class: not specified
provenance: purchase from a reputable reseller on internet
price: 2 x €142 = €284 for 100Wc in 2017
specified power: 100Wc nominal
number of cells: 5 x 6 = 30
cell manufacturer: unspecified
cell class: class C (visible defects)
provenance: purchase on a famous auction website
price: €135 in 2018
specified power: 110Wc nominal
number of cells: 5 x 6 = 30
cells: SunPower™ Maxeon
cell class: class A
provenance: purchase from Linksolar manufacturer
price: €350 (~ 395 USD) in 2019
Measuring the instantaneous power of the panels
Not having a solar energy measuring device, it was not possible for me to measure the actual performance of each Panel. So I chose to measure the instantaneous power of the panels with wattmeters, in the sunshine conditions of the moment. And I compared 2 to 2 the panels connected each to an identical charge regulator charging the same battery.
Measured power with panels B and C
Measured power with panels A and C
Reservations about the test protocol
Various elements could impact the outcome of the measures and their analysis:
difference in the years of panel manufacturing, in a context of steady progression of cell performance;
difference in State of obsolescence and use of panels: Panel C totally new, Panel B having travelled several thousand km (vibrations + shocks), Panel A of 2017 never used and stored;
calibration difference of non-certified wattmeters;
measurements made by veted Sun (repeat the test in other conditions of sunshine).
However, these elements can not fundamentally call into question the results obtained.
Calculations and results
The C Panel being the most powerful, I took it as a reference. I calculated the ratio of the power produced by Panel A or B to the power produced by Panel C. The table above shows the relative efficiency of panels A and B in reference to Panel C, which therefore has an efficiency of 100%. Pushing the reflection further, I imagined an increase in the surface of panels A or B to get the same power as the C Panel. I then calculated the cost in corresponding A or B panels, and the corresponding panel surface.
NB: I took into account the difference in the number of cells (Panel A: 16 cells, panels B and C: 30 cells).
When observing this table, the following remarks can be issued:
panels A and B have almost identical power while panel A is 2 times more expensive than panel B;
the power of panel C is almost double that of panels A and B.
Price to get the same real power:
at equal power, panel A is 71% more expensive than panel C;
at equal power, panel B is 21% cheaper than panel C.
Surface to achieve the same real power:
at equal power, panels A and B occupy 90% more surface area than panel C.
Objective and subjective criteria had guided my purchases:
in 2017, I totally discovered the universe of the solar panel, it had reassured me to buy at a large recognized website, the many exchanges by phone and email had given me confidence.
in 2018, I wanted to experiment with a low-spread panel format (6×5 = 30 cells) and I had found on the market only these panels at low prices.
in 2019, I had the urge and the opportunity to invest in quality equipment, to increase the performance of my bike.
A high price is not always a guarantee of the performance of the equipment.
Lower yield panels (50%) have a strong impact on the solar bike: less autonomy or increased dimensions. In both cases, this will degrade the rider’s comfort and safety.
A higher expense for quality equipment ultimately represents an economy: the value for money is much better.
Not to mention the other benefits: autonomy, maneuverability, performance…
Justin works in an innovative Canadian company specializing in electric bikes. It creates equipments: batteries, motors, controllers, control consoles etc… Many SunTripers are equipped!
He participated in the Sun trip 2018, with his wife Anne-Sophie, on a solar tandem that he fully invented, where one pedal while the other oar!
Here they are at the Bourget-du-Lac campsite in June 2018:
Justin participated in the BC bike show 2019, the largest bike show in Western Canada. In this video, it provides a complete panorama of the various technologies available on the market, their pros and cons… See it, it’s very informative…