Questions & Answers
This F.A.Q is issued (and translated when needed) from online sessions during which I answer live to questions concerning the Europe tour by footbike.
You have a question without answer? Send it here, it will be published on the next live episode!
21st of JANVIER 2015 SESSION
What’s the average weight of the load on the front wheel and handlebars? Stability? Security? I’m practicing the kick scooter a bit, and had never imagined touring like this with that kind of load! Anyway, BRAVO, and nice continuation…
I’m transporting about 25/30kg (without the footbike), about 22 of them on the front of the footbike. The whole is very steady when I’m on the board (I act like a countercharge), and I learnt to manage the drive and the reactions of the scooter with that weight. The gravity center is a bit high, some prefer it lower. I like having an eye on every piece of my equipement and avoiding the “track a third wheel” feeling. But the configuration has its limits on some grounds. For now, it suits me since I’m mostly on asphalt roads, but for a cross-country world tour, I’d think about it twice ;)
Hi Blandine. And bravo. You have done what many would like to do. You have probably lived big moments, but what which one was the most intense for you?
Thanks. For now (I’m just begining if we begin to consider what’s ahead:)), the “biggest” day was the 5th of January, about which I wrote in an article. Then the last days in Spain, when everything was getting more and more intense… until Tanger! That’s for the intensity! Thanks:)
Hi Blandine, how are you orientating yourself? Uniquely with a gps? Is your precise trail already decided or are you tracing it progressivly?
I’ve established a very local track, following the Eurovelo network (a lot of them are still not realized). Then, country by country, I check if: they exist yet, they will run on former paths, and then I try and settle on that base. Eventually, I kick (and will kick) mostly on roads shared with vehicles.
At the beginning, I would sometimes use the gps of my phone to spot where I was on downloaded maps, when the veloroute road signs would not be enough.
Then, little by little, I totally put the gps aside, and began to collect regional maps in the tourism offices, catch sight of the trail and decide precisely which way to kick day by day.
I don’t know yet by which road I’ll be passing in a few days for example, but I know that I’ll be crossing the Alps by the Tendes Pass :)
See you soon!
Hi Blandine… how many hours on the footbike per day? The Nantes-Budapest run seemed quite extreme.
yes, I kicked Nantes-Budapest pretty much like a tornade! I’m more measured this time. Depending on the road profile, my shape and desires, I kick an average 50/70km per day, something like 4 to 6 jours on the board, I’d say. It’s winter now, it may change in summer…
Is your geographical evolution manifest too in your breakfasts composition? Anecdotes? Do you drink coffee? Did you have the occasion to try any particular crafts whenever meeting people?
Hi Fougere ;)
Breakfast at camp : oat + banana + chocolate in the stove. Peanut butter, grapes and oleaginous plants, fruits.
When I spend one or two nights somewhere to rest (under a roof), then breakfast change, and yet, I enjoy the geo-cultural diversity! In Spain, tradition is toast and jam (or ham) with a coffee, in Morocco all sorts of pancakes, jams, honeys, fresh orange juices, semolina and olive oil, Germany had its share of cheeses and meet products, small breads, etc.
I often stop after 20 or 30km to drink an “americano”. I love behind around small cafes, bars, “pmu” or little houses that shelter those places of sociability, it’s a strategic place to observe habits and customs of the locals (very often: men!).
As for crafts, appart from feeding Quentin’s ewes, I haven’t participate to anything yet.
On this tour, what are you missing the most, and what are you missing the least ?
What I’m missing the most: perhaps good counters to the cold (hands above all) in the morning, despite layering and variety of fabrics tested, I’m not satisfied yet!
What I’m missing the least : frankly, the permanent media “noise” and incitations to buy, that just get obvious when I’m near, or passing through, any big agglomeration. :) Thanks!
Hi ! How many km do you kick per day?
Between 50 et 70 km per day. I began more slowly than on the Nantes-Budapest, the path is vey long ahead of me :)
How do you manage the wild camp moment. Precision: do you have any apprehension concerning strangers prowling? You must be quite worried in the morning about all you stuff!
I’m a young father, and can already picture my little daughter wandering like that from adventure to adventure, having to face the look of others and go unnoticed as a young and lovely girl with pricey stuff ;-)
Yes, one of my priority is to be unnotied when I set camp, and to not be (or little) visible once it’s done. Indeed, it’s a fear instinctively raising when on hears an unexpected noise, or get worried for an unidentified cause: is a human sneaking around? On the contrary, mornings are not stressful, the night went well, I’m happy! I’m not fearing that much for my stuff which lies besides me under the tent (not the footbike). Thanks!
Thanks Blandine for your answer.
Something else: when can you find time to elaborate psychological thesis like you do?! They’re perfect, enough to make a book/tale about your trips ;-) Go on, I like it a lot! And lots of courage for the following route, we’re behind you!
Thanks Cyril !
Haha, I have plenty of time to think whilst I’m kicking :) And I believe my thoughts are more complete since I practice thinking like that. It’s a way of finding back a ancient praxis, very rich in my opinion, and it’s an important aspect of this adventure.
Thanks and see you soon:)
Hi Blandine, since you camping in the wild, have you ever been annoyed by wild animals at night? Nice continuation to you, keep sharing the dream with us.
Not really, I was very scared once in Slovakia, hearing a frightening and unidentified bark which seemed to run forward on me, but the beast finally went somewhere else. Otherwise, a dog (but with its master not far) came and sniffed around one evening. Most of the time, it’s unidentified noise that is scary, that’s why, when I set camp and before night falls, I’m vigilant and get aware about the surroundings “music”: afterwards I’m able to recognize the noises:)
Isn’t solitude too heavy on some days?
Not for now, I can stand it pretty well, since I’m a real loner:) But I haven’t been confronted yet to extreme solitude, to the extent of not meeting any living being for several weeks…
Alan le breton
Hi Blandine :)
“Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no oye música, quien no encuentra gracia en sí mismo” — Pablo Neruda.
Do you take readings with you? :)
Thanks for that nice quote.
Being a fairly big collector and devourer of books, it was an issue I had to face during the preparation, since a light-weighted journey is also one of the goals… I eventually opted for an electronic reader, which allows me to carry many books without too much weight. And has the huge advantage of giving me concrete material to elaborate on technology / nomadism / culture issues :)
Hi, first of all I’m applauding your performance, even if not finished yet! Then, I’d like to know if you are using a phone to take pictures, or a camera?
Hi, and thanks.
For the Nantes-Budapest challenge, I was using my phone. This time I’m shooting with a hybrid camera (Lumix GX7) with a fixed focal, and then I do the post-processing my laptop.
Hi Blandine, do you feel lonely sometimes on the road and in the evenings? Safe ride and stay happy ;-)
Hi Sandrine !
It’s very rare, I enjoy solitude and don’t suffer from it! Merci :)
Hello :) Getting up at which hour ?
Hi Julie :)
At the beginning I would get up very early, despite the night. Then, I found my marks, and, though I wake up at 7 am generally, I wait a little for more light to pack up and hop on the board again. I often read in the morning.
Hi, what were your budgets for your different projects?
to cover everything from the beginning, and the first challenge (Nantes-Budapest), I think it was not far from 6000e (I was working as a freelance graphic designer, and financed it all with that money).
For the Europe Tour, I moved out my apartment, quitted my job, and invested what I had left in the missing gear (around 2000e I believe), then I left with 2000e in my pockets, my last provisions, for an undetermined duration (at least a year). It’s an aspect of the adventure, to see how to travel with few, and when there will be no money left. Thanks for asking!
Hi Blandine. How are you handling solitude during the trip and possible moments of moral dark mood moments?
I enjoy solitude, I’m quite a loner in fact. It’s not something annoying. And I meet enough people not to forget the oral language skill:)
Very few dark mood moments, it’s more about physically hard times, when I gather my mental forces! Thanks!
Hi Blandine. If you write a book will there be an English version?
Hi John !
Hi John !
I’m writing a book (an essay) that I should publish in English as well, if I ever publish something :)
I’m also thinking of a pictures/drawings and lighter stories book, it would be in both languages I think.
Hi, Blandine ! Did you get to meet Alpo Kuusisto when you were in Helsinki? Your journey is similar to many of Alpo’s adventures. You resemble him somewhat. A bientot!
Not when I went there for the first time, but as I plan to kick through Finland on the Europe Tour, I might meet him in Helsinki !
A bientôt :)
Blandine, does your family come out to visit you from time to time. Stay safe.
a part of my family has planned to join me after the Italy part.
Some of my sisters seem to wait for the sunny and hotter days :p
What’s your organisation to spend the nights? Do you sleep under a tent, or in people’s houses? If so, how do you manage to get invited? Thanks for the dream.
I mostly sleep in the wild. I have a tarp-tent, and a good sleeping bag:) It happened that I ended up in someone’s house, generally after a nice discussion, when people show their generosity.
I’m going on a tour with a friend to Morocco in March, on 12″ scooters. We’d like to share the adventure on Facebook. But I’m wondering how to access the internet outside of the E.U What is your solution, do you have a special suscription to a local or former internet provider? And through which devices do you send news ? Sorry about all the questions. I’m admiring the trip and it’s precisely thanks to your frequent updates that you make us dream. Have a good trip and tail wind!
Hi Antony, thanks for the question.
I have no international nor european suscription, so, no mobile phone network abroad:) (I don’t receive text messages from France!). To communicate and update the blog and Facebook page, I manage with the public wifi spots, that I find here and there…
Have a nice trip in Morocco, looking forward to follow this:)
Hello… How to you keep your feet dry on the footbike when the road is wet? Tx Mike.
Hi Mike! It’s hard to keep my feet totally dry: I have gore-tex coated shoes that keep safe from light rains, and for heavier drops, I have adapted cyclist rainproof feet covers, by cutting the bottom part that would have touched the ground:)