Interview on Kolobezkovyportal, a few days before kicking off!

I’ll be just like a hobbit heading out of his home towards adventure: I’ll open the door, say goodbye to family, take a few steps on the gravel, and there I’ll be, on the road and with my push scooter and my stuff. I don’t see of so many incitations to travel this way nowadays, yet it feels important that I start from here, in the most simple manner.

If you ever wonder how “hobbit” is said in Czech, here lies the answer!

Thank you again Jan, who translated a new interview ante World Tour, in order to share some impressions and details, less than a week before I hop on back on the push scooter.

Here is the original version, in English!


“So Blandine do you already have your D-DAY, day of your departure to kick around the globe?

It’s getting more precise as we speak. I think I should be kicking off on the 6th of February :)

Why so early. Seems we have best winter in last 5 years in Europe – probably not for kicking though…

Because when I planned it, I was thinking I’d like to be not too late in middle Asia to enjoy this area in the spring, and because I want to be back on the road. On the paper, it’s a classic from cycling tourers starting their journey from Europe. Generally people plan for a one year-round tour of the globe, and there are periods that are better suited to take off when you’re heading east. But I’m with a push scooter, and who knows where I’ll be at what time eventually :)
As for a tough winter, I’ll have to face it and adapt. If I can get through this winter across Europe, imagine how incredible the spring will be:) And how I’ll have learnt if I make it: I’ll have no time to rest on my previous achievement, I’ll immediately be thrown into something harder.

How are the preparations going? 

Very well, pieces of gear are assembling, check-lists are loosing bullet points! On a health level, I’ve done the things I absolutely wanted to deal with: get rid off my wise teeth. If you remember, they were growing during the Europe Tour at some point, in Finland. One of my molars even broke under the pressure, so I spent some difficult days and nights with serious aches. I did not want that to occur again, so I had 5 teeth removed. I have done some vaccinations as well, I’ll have to complete it on the way.

Mostly I’m preparing to be living and kicking outdoors again, with some improvements in gear and setup. The details of the trip will then be unfolding as I travel. I like improvisation a lot and minimal (but responsible) preparation much :)

You have to be prepared for any type of conditions. Have you strengthened your equipment compared to the European Tour?

Yes, that’s the point: I’ve thought it through to have a more versatile setup. Kickbikepacking light around the world means to try to focus on multi usage items, and ultralight technical gear. I’m trying to assemble a setup that should allow me to kick in a large array of conditions (extreme weathers like -40c / + 40c are very particular, but if I can get near I try), with a minimum pile of things :)  Also, I think my setup so that it’s not always fully « active », for example I anticipate room/Storage for more water when I’ll have less access to water, but I won’t start with a fully 10L+ load of liquid.

I’m lucky and happy because this time many people are helping me with providing me with products they make. I learnt from my Europe tour, so I know better what to look for, and what I want to try now, whom to ask, I spent quite some time contacting companies and small producers to speak about my adventure and ask for a contribution. And I’m surprised by the amount of positive answer. Thanks to this, I’ll be able to use ultralight and ultra resistant dry sacks, Ti pots and Ti alcohol burner, etc…

I know you have changed a type of scooter you kick. Why so?

Yes! When I passed Helsinki during the Europe tour, I met Hannu (designer of the Kickbike), Alpo and Miia. I was honored and lucky again to meet them. They have shared lovely places of Helsinki, showed me some things, though we had not much time together. We spoke openly. A bit later, when I had decided to go on living on the roads and throw a world tour, I sent a drawing of the setup I was thinking of when dreaming about all this. They said they would be very happy to contribute, and so it began.

From that point, it was their turn, and they tried and proposed to me what they could do. I haven’t given much time because as you can see, I’m getting quite quickly back on trails (3 months after I buckled the Europe tour), but they came up with a very nice present, just after Christmas: the frame is that of a Cruise max, 26×20, and then there is a series of addition. The biggest being the small part they made to make a strong and reliable rack for the rear. Overall, there is a lot options for fixations, adding, etc, and that’s what I wanted. It’s part of the versatility too. Surely there will be evolution as I’m on the road. But for now, I’m working on the setup I’ll start with in a few days. 

Could you describe the secrets of you Around the Globe Kickbike Cruise MAX?

I won’t give the details of every piece and screw but I tend to believe that I’ll get along very well with this model, it’s more fitted to my size (and not a tall person) because of the 26/20 compared to 28/18, the Marathon green guard to begin with will be smooth, rolling and resistant to begin with… The secret probably resides in adaption to the machine as well. When you spent many hours a day on a machine for many weeks, months and years, to eventually adapt to it. It’s how the machine molds the human, the feedback of technology! For anyone interested in how tools impact and affect our abilities in return, and the way we think, practicing on a machine so regularly is food for thought :)

Have you already tried, how heavy it is fully loaded? Is it kickable with that weight?

I have not tried it yet fully loaded. But there is something I pretty sure about, and this it the secret of the Around the Globe Kickbike, it should be lighter than my load during the Europe tour ! :) Things are more dispatched on every space available on the frame, but what people can not know just by looking at it, is that the stuff inside is light :) Really, the world tour should be a « partie de plaisir » after the last year spent on the road. Hahum, I’m joking of course :p I’ll begin in the depth of winter, and this is something that is not so enjoyable in my taste. But I’ll learn again ! 

When jumping into the future – do you have any more precise plans about your journey. Such as in one year I would like to be in Indonesia or so?

My goal for now is to go north and make the detour through Germany in order to kick through CZ, because somehow I promised I’d go there ! Then I’ll go south-east toward Turkey and Iran, in order to begin exploring one of the Silk Road trails, towards the Pamir Highways and Central Asia, then Mongolia, China, India. I have made a very rough plan of the itinerary all across the continents, how I imagine it as of today, but I’m aware that by the time I’ll get to Mongolia/China, there could be some changes. There is many parameters this time that could play. I’m ready to embrace the “slow nomad kicking the globe » chapter of my life :) One that could be very long!

So finally. Any fears? Any wishes? Any messages? Before you hop on the trail of your life?

The fears are building themselves up because of impatience and excitement. What relieves me now is when I think that I’ll be heading out just like a hobbit out of his home, towards adventure: I’ll open the door, say goodbye to family, take a few steps on the gravel, and there I’ll be, on the road and with my push scooter and my stuff. I don’t think of so many occasions to do that nowadays in our world, it feels important that I start from here, in the most simple manner.”

4 (Thanks, keep going !)