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Newsletter no1 (11th of February 2008): Four months before departure.
Le vent du cyclopède souffle sur vous tous et c'est avec une émotion certaine que je m'adresse à vous à l'occasion de cette première Newsletter !
Tout d'abord merci d'avoir eu le courage d'embarquer à mes côtés pour cette nouvelle aventure, je vais faire mon possible et l'impossible si possible pour ne pas vous décevoir.
Mon projet avance, récapitulons-ici quelques points parmi les plus importants:
Le vent du cyclopède souffle à nouveau et voici donc quelques nouvelles de Thaïlande à seulement deux mois du départ ! Bigre, comme ça se rapproche ...
L’itinéraire : j’ai décidé de retirer le Bhoutan de mon parcours, non sans regret, mais il fallait se rendre à l’évidence, le col de Nathu La (entre la Chine et l’Inde) est bel et bien fermé et le détour en passant par Katmandou est tout simplement déraisonnable. Le petit détail qui a aussi eu une grande importance compte tenu de la nature de mon voyage, c’est qu’un séjour au Bhoutan implique une voiture suiveuse, c’est la règle, mais ce n’est pas dans l’esprit d’un voyage sans émission de CO2. Donc exit le Bhoutan … je compenserai en prenant mon temps au Tibet !
Le Tibet, c’était mon premier plan B, mais depuis les émeutes du 14 mars dernier, c’est particulièrement mal engagé. Pour faire court, le Tibet, tout le Tibet, est fermé aux étrangers jusqu’à nouvel ordre. La Chine elle-même vient de se fermer à l’approche des jeux olympiques. Les visas se délivrent au compte goutte et pour des durées réduites … là aussi jusqu’à nouvel ordre. Mais qu’ont donc les Chinois à cacher au reste du monde ? La réponse est évidente, mais ça ne résout pas mon problème.
Je prépare donc actuellement deux autres plans B, le premier contournant le Tibet par le Nord (sortie de la Chine par la frontière Pakistanaise) et le second contournant par le sud (via le Bangladesh). L’incertitude prédomine et à priori je serai fixé une fois en route. Je croise les doigts.
Le vélo vert … roule particulièrement bien. J’ai attaqué l’entraînement assidûment et je ne désespère pas de parvenir à enfin assouplir ma selle en cuir !! Cliquez ici pour voir les dernières photos.
Les partenariats … avancent, avec notamment plusieurs écoles primaires Françaises qui sont intéressées et qui ont, pour certaines, déjà commencer à travailler le sujet. Cliquez ici pour voir les différents types de partenariats.
Le site Internet … régulièrement mis à jour, il reprend tout mon projet en détail et compte déjà plus de 16000 visiteurs.
Bon vent à tous et rendez-vous en Juin pour la troisième Newsletter,
Newsletter no3 (4th of June 2008): Less than one month away from D-day.
I am again for the latest news coming from Thailand,
less than a month away from my departure ...
Visas: Laos, Vietnam, China, India and Nepal ... I got them all. It has been extremely difficult to get a proper Chinese visa due to the recent repression in Tibet and the upcoming of the Olympics, but thanks to a bit of help and lots of luck, it's finally at the Chinese Embassy in London that I got it !! Concerning the two remaining visas I will need, I should get the one for Pakistan in just a few days ... and the one for Iran in a few months.
Itinerary update: the situation is still very uncertain in China. Yes I got my visa but this isn't enough to go through Tibet
Training on the green bicycle: after having ridden about 500 km with a << not-loaded >> bike and 200 km loaded with 35kg of luggage, my saddle is starting to soften at last !! But my first few kilometers on this heavy vehicle with lots of inertia have not exactly been a piece of cake ; weight and pitching (is that right ?) have proven to be particularly traitorous when changing direction, I learnt it the hard way ... and will try to remember it ! Click here to see the latest pictures.
all for now, but you will receive some more news at the end of the
month just before I hit the road for real ...
Newsletter no4 (28th of June 2008): I am leaving tomorrow.
So here it is, tomorrow morning I am leaving for good …
But this last week has been such a hardship, with so many goodbyes, so much emotion and also so many tears. My colleagues as well as my friends managed to make sure I won’t forget them …
… and I won’t.
So I’ll be starting my
journey tomorrow morning at 08.00 AM, from the
Fitness : I’m all good. I rode about 1000 km within the last two months and now I just need to raise the cadence a little, to about 2000 km per month.
This month menu : 10 days in
Carbon offsetting : the project continues, and it will soon be 150 tons of carbon dioxide which will be offset !! Click here to learn more about carbon offsetting.
In the news ...
I will send my next newsletter from
Tomorrow, I’m finally leaving …
Newsletter no5 (27th of July 2008): Hanoi !
And so it is, I had
been talking about it for so long, and now I am finally on the road, on
my way home … I left
It hasn’t been easy to leave, to shut that apartment door that I shall never see again, and to leave behind 10 years of souvenirs, but it’s done and it's time to start a new chapter.
I am really grateful for all the support messages I have received from family and friends. Believe me, it really helped.
The start of the ride itself
was quite something, in the middle of
I arrived in
Itinerary : I
have reached in
Physical condition : really good. After riding more than 2,000 km on mostly flat roads, my legs are well and I can’t feel the weight of the luggage anymore.
The green bicycle : he’s fine too. I just had to tighten the headset, put some more air in the tires (once only), a bit of oil on the chain, line up the brake pads … and nothing else. The only thing which is not working is this stupid rear auto light, switching on and off as it wishes, without any consideration for my opinion. It’s annoying, I will have to change it before even having used it. Basta (it’s the brand name, and this is self-explanatory I think).
month program : 15 more days in
Carbon offsetting : the project continues, and it will soon be 150 tons of carbon dioxide which will be offset !! Click here to learn more about carbon offsetting.
In the news ...
I will send my next Newsletter from Zhongdian, in Yunnan, just a few km away from the Tibetan border.
Newsletter no6 (28th of August 2008): Knocking on Tibet's door.
newsletter was sent from
When roads finally got cleared, I went straight to the Chinese border in Hekou … to find out that there as well, it rained very hard over the last few days. The border crossing has not been an easy thing, on both sides, for different reasons, but I eventually got through … leaving behind all my books with counter-revolutionary content, threatening Chinese national unity. If north Vietnam was a different planet, China is then a different galaxy : EVERYTHING is different here … and communication in English is totally impossible. I got used to it, I had to, and I then fully appreciated the kindness and extreme generosity of the Yunnan Chinese. I have been offered lunch or dinner so many times, I was really not expecting it, certainly because of the way China and Chinese are depicted in western media. The Yunnan province, as the whole China and so many other fast developing countries, has two faces : on one side there are the very modern cities with sky-crappers and futuristic buildings, where some Ferrari play who’s fastest with some Porsche (really, I’ve seen it in Mengzhi) … and on the other side, few kilometers away only, there are poor struggling farmers who move around on the back of their donkey ! [Click here to read the 1st part of my travel journal in China]
Physical condition : it’s going very well. After 2,000 additional km of hills and mountains, with stages of about 100 km (and climbings between 1,000 and 2,000 meters), the legs keep going nicely without any pain … and my saddle is now as comfortable as a sofa ! No more sore butt in the evening …
Climate : I left the tropical heat behind and I enjoy now a high altitude temperate climate. It’s really nice … when it’s sunny, but when it rains, and it does, it’s really cold (15 or 16 Celsius).
The green bicycle : he suffered in the mud and under the rain, but he survived. The only major problem came from the rims, as for a reason I can’t explain, they both got totally worn out and had to be replaced after less than 4,000 km !! I do not recommend Rigida Grizzly rims ...
month program : this will be 100%
Carbon offsetting : the project continues … slowly. There are still a few hundred Euros missing to compensate another 50 tons of carbon dioxide. Click here to learn more about carbon offsetting.
In the news, two articles were published this month, both in French : in l'Echo Républicain and La République du centre. Click here to read already published articles.
website : regularly updated until now, and with
already nearly 50,000 visitors, I don’t think I will have
time to update it while riding in
I will send my next Newsletter from
Newsletter no7 (15th of October 2008): Tibet !
Well, it’s done ; I cycled all the way across Tibet, from Yunnan to Nepal, and I can now confirm the rumor : there are indeed some big mountains in Tibet.
I cycled 2,400 km there, I climbed a total of 26,000 m (3 times the Everest), the average altitude was 4,000 m and I reached a maximum of 5,248 m !!
But Tibet is much more than just a few amazing mountains, Tibet is all about spirituality, true respect of the environment and moderation. Unfortunately, this cultural heritage has suffered a lot since the Chinese invasion, and today, is more than ever in great danger … [click here to read my travel journal in Tibet]
The green bicycle … has survived on the rough roads of Tibet. This is a truly amazing performance. Mud, rocks, dust, sand, over and over … but no, nothing, absolutely nothing bothered him. Gears are still working as well as on the first day …
Physical condition : no problem and going strong …
Weather : the eastern part of Tibet was still under a bit of monsoon, and I got a lot of cloudy days with light rain, sometimes snow and mud … but the second half of the month was perfect with a clear blue sky and a shining sun everyday. Obviously given the average altitude of Tibet, it was rather cold, especially at night and in the morning (around 0 Celsius).
Next month program : I have just arrived in Nepal and I will stay here for 2 or 3 weeks before heading to Northern India.
Carbon offseting : the project is on track and 50 more tons of CO2 will be offset next month !! At this point there will be only 250 tons left. Click here for more information.
In the news, an article was published last month in the French magazine « carnets d’aventure ». Click here to read already published articles.
I will send the next newsletter in about a month, from Dharamsala in India ....
Newsletter no8 (19th of November 2008): India !
I think it is
right to say that this last month has brought me a real step closer to
But it has not
been easy to adjust to this new environment : over-populated cities,
intrusive crowds and extreme poverty were overwhelming in
continued my trip in the northern provinces of
Physical condition : I am better now, but this last month has been quite difficult, with a bad flu, two consecutive food poisoning, a general loss of appetite and a painful right leg … but it did not stop me, and I am well now !!
Weather : I haven’t seen a single drop of rain for about a month and a half and sun shines everyday, all day long. With winter coming up, temperatures are dropping, but it is still warm enough to be pleasant.
The green bicycle … is doing well. No problem !
program : I am staying
another week in
Carbon offsetting : the project is on track with the offset of 50 additional tons of CO2 this month. At this point, there is still 250 tons left to offset. Click here for more information.
In the news, an article has just been released on the Eure-et-Loir French department website. Click here to read already published articles.
Mail : I don’t say it often enough, but thanks to all your supporting messages, it does help indeed !! Thanks …
I will send
the next newsletter in about a month, from
Newsletter no9 (31st of December 2008): In Balochistan !
Since my last
Newsletter, I completed my trip in Northern India by cycling through
the Tibetan Buddhist city of
I crossed the
hard to believe
So in the end, all this waiting delayed me quite a bit, but nothing I can’t catch up with. As soon as I got the magic sticker on my passport, I got back in the saddle and headed straight south-west through Punjab and Sindh provinces, then I made a right turn and continued north-west (with police escorts) through Balochistan all the way to Quetta. [Click here to read my travel journal in Pakistan]
condition : I am very
well, those three weeks off in
Weather : except for three days of rain, it has been non-stop sunshine from morning to evening, blue sky, and temperatures warm enough to be comfortable.
bicycle … really got
program : I am staying
another week in
Carbon offsetting : I’ve offset 150 tons of CO2 since I left, and there are 250 more tons to go. Click here for more information and see how you can help.
In the news, two articles were published last month, one on Climat Mundi newsletter and a second one on La république du Centre. Click here to read already published articles.
I will send the next newsletter in about a month from
Happy year-end celebrations and my best wishes for 2009 … dream your life and live your dreams …
Newsletter no10 (1st of February 2009): Riding the endless desert !
Since my last Newsletter, I’ve completed my trip in PAKISTAN and I successfully crossed the Balochistan desert … this will remain, without a doubt, one of the highlight of my whole journey : sand dunes, yellow arid mountains, oasis villages every 100 km or so, amazing people, lovely camels, a small road without traffic, a shining sun … and tailwind nearly all the way !! [Click here to read the last part of my travel journal in Pakistan]
After such a start on the wrong foot, it took me some time to enjoy riding again, but I kept going, still in the desert, but this time in the cold, with headwind and with traffic particularly not friendly towards cyclists. Iranians display with an amazing zeal a fact now scientifically proven : a “normal” person loses instantly 100 IQ points when sitting behind a wheel …
So I decided not to go to Tehran, and avoid its several millions of cars, its 20 lanes highways, its pollution … and I spent more time en route in caravanserais and desert cities : Bam, Rayen, Mahan, Zei-o-din, Kerman, Yazd, Na’in and Esfahan … are as many architectural jewels which please the eyes and talk straight to the heart. It was also for me an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss with Iranians, educated and charming people, gifted with an amazing sense of hospitality. [Click here to read the first chapters of my travel journal in Iran]
Physical condition : I am very well, no problem.
Weather : temperatures have dramatically dropped since I am in Iran, it freezes nearly every night, snow falls regularly, the wind is strong … and always come from the west, but the sun is still out there on most days, and all in all, it remains quite pleasant !!
bicycle … had its first
puncture in Balochistan. A 2 cm nail went through the back tire and put
an end to 10,000 km of invincibility ! For the rest, everything seems
OK, the chain is getting longer, but should last another 3 or 4,000 km
program : I will
continue my journey in the mountainous north-western provinces of
Carbon offsetting : I’ve offset 150 tons of CO2 since I left, and the 200 tons milestone will be reached soon, click here for more information and see how you can help.
In the news : one article was published at the beginning of the month in l’Echo Républicain, click here to read already published articles.
I will send the next newsletter in about a month from Eastern Turkey ....
Newsletter no11 (13th of March 2009): Riding in the snow !
Since my last
Newsletter, I’ve completed my trip in
Then I really got tired of being around so many trucks, so I took the smallest mountain roads I could find in the north-west of the country, in the Kurdish and Azeri provinces, and I quickly found myself in the middle of a lot of snow … where I had to deal with some very serious climbing. [Click here to read my travel journal in Iran]
first few hundred kilometers in
Physical condition : I am well … despite some annoying pain in the left shoulder for, I suspect, throwing too many rocks at the too many dogs.
Weather : it hasn’t been as cold as anticipated, with the lowest temperature occasionally just around -6 Ceslius. But the snow … well, I got my share of it : in the face, in the eyes, all over the bike, all over me, on the road, on the trees … everywhere … and it’s not even over yet !!
green bicycle … starts to make some unusual
noise. The bearing of the front hub and the chain are to blame, and I
hope it’s going to hold up until I reach
month program : I will continue my journey in
offsetting : I’ve just offset an additional 50
tons of CO2 and the new total is 200 tons since I left from
In the news : on the French national radio France Info, in Turkish News national newspaper and on Turkish TV (Kanal1). Click here to read already published articles.
send the next newsletter in about a month … from Europe !
Newsletter no12 (9th of April 2009): First steps in Europe !
So here I am
now in Europe, as I just reached this afternoon the Greek city of
But, but, but
… if despite all this I really enjoyed riding in Turkey,
it’s because the country has truly amazing natural wonders
(Cappadocia, the lakes district), many ancient reminiscent Greek cities
(Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Pergamum, etc), some very well preserved small
villages (Egirdir, Selcuk, Ayvalik) … and, and, and people
showing outstanding hospitality, with great talent when it comes to
food. Do I need to say more ? [Click here to
read my travel journal in Turkey]
Weather was not exactly as I was expecting, with regular snowfalls and very cold temperatures until the very last few kilometers before the Aegean coast … and lots of headwind on top of it. However, the good news is that all this changed dramatically when I reached the coast, with sunshine, two days of spring in total and summer since then. I unpacked shorts and flip flops last week !
intense TLC (Tender Loving Care) last month, with a new front wheel
(the hub’s bearing was completely worn out), a brand-new rear
tire (the original tire was about to burst …) and a complete
new transmission (chain and cassette were about to disintegrate). So
here it is, my bicycle is like new now and I should reach
program : after riding
I’ve offset 200 tons since I left from
In the news : one article was published last month in L’Echo Républicain, click here to read already published articles.
send the next newsletter in about a month from Bosnia ...
Newsletter no13 (6th of May 2009): In ex-Yugoslavia.
This first month in
I then continued in Albania, crossing the whole country along its western edge … but it was a true disappointment : 45 years of Stalinian communist rule followed by 20 years of savage capitalism have given rise to chaos. Money seems to be the only thing that matters and the country is desperately looking for its soul … [click here to read my travel journal in Albania]
For two days now I am in Bosnia-Herzegovina, if nature looks here still very attractive, one can’t ignore the war which has torn the country only 15 years ago. My travel journal will be on-line in about 10 days ...
Weather … has been erratic last month, with lots of storms and big temperature variations.
The green bicycle … is like new, no problem.
month program : tomorrow I will get back on the bike and
head north towards
offsetting : I offset another 50 tons of CO2 last month,
so it’s now 250 tons in total since I left from
In the news : three articles were published last month in L’Echo Républicain, La République du Centre and Climat Mundi’s newsletter, click here to read already published articles.
.I will send the next newsletter in about a month … from Southern France.
Newsletter no14 (9th of June 2009): La France ...
France, France … here I am in
earlier, I met up with my friend Gregoire in
Our very short
border crossing near Menton was somehow the beginning of the end of my
journey. I had an appointment there with Christophe, a friend I met in
has been very warm last month, up to 40 Celsius in
lost a pedal in
program : I am riding
I’ve offset 250 tons of CO2 since I left from
I will send the next newsletter at the end of the month … from Châteaudun.
Newsletter no15 (17th of July 2009): Châteaudun !
So here I am, at the end of my cycling journey. I left from the Lumpini Park of Bangkok on the 28th of June 2008, and back then, believe me, the “finish” in my hometown Châteaudun in France was quite a remote concept … but it happened. I arrived in Châteaudun 363 days later, after having cycled 20,904 km and climbed the equivalent of 20 Everest.
But those are just numbers, and numbers can’t tell the bliss I felt all along the journey, far from home and far from everything, but eventually close to my relatives and (most of) my friends during this last month.
A month where I rode exclusively in France, zigzagging from one relative to a friend, from a friend to a friend’s relative or a relative’s friend, each of them generously inviting me to stay over and feeding me as if I would have to ride a week through some sorts of desert. Some of them even took their bicycle to accompany me for a day or two. Those were great shared moments, very moving, and which for sure won’t be forgotten anytime soon. And as for the “grand finale”, the last day of the last month, well, I think it’s fair to call it the climax of the month … with 50 other cyclists by my side and a fabulous welcoming committee in front of the city hall of Châteaudun … among whom my grand-mother Edith, 90 years old the following week !! This was completely overwhelming … [click here to read my journal in France]
Weather … was (and still is) cold and windy, but fortunately, quite sunny as well. Hopefully August is going to be warmer ...
The green bicycle … worried me for a while with a “rattling” free-wheel … but well, it did not break and since I’m home the noise is gone ! Miracles do happen.
Carbon offsetting : I offset another 50 tons of CO2 at
the beginning of the month, and I’ve offset a total of 300 tons since I
.Media coverage ... was pretty intense this month, in newspapers (3 articles from l’Echo Républicain, 2 articles from La Rep’ and 1 article from La Nouvelle Republique), on radio (Radio Intensité) and on TV (TVL 28 and France 3), click here for more details.
Thanks … many thanks to my parents for having taught me the habit of using a bicycle when I was a child, to my relatives, friends and ex- Thai colleagues for their unconditional support during those last 12 months, to my partners Climat Mundi and CFE for their carbon offset contribution, to Christophe and Sandrine for their involvement with their young students, to all the persons who welcomed me in Châteaudun … and last but not least, many thanks to all the generous souls who relentlessly helped and supported me. Thanks to all, because it’s no accident that I never felt alone on my bicycle …
This 15th newsletter is also the last … and it’s now time for me to move on. But whatever is next, one thing is for sure, my commitment to environment protection will remain at the center of everything, for the very simple reason that it feels good to do the right thing.