Our footprint

Here we are, our 11 months of cycling adventures on the roads and paths of South East Asia, Japan and Central America are ending! Like all of you, we will confine ourselves for a few weeks and take the opportunity to rest, see our loved ones (but not too close!) And reflect on our possible futures. Through this site or on other occasions, we will find a thousand and one ways to tell, tell and remember the beauties, the galleys, the cultural specificities of each country and especially our adventures on two wheels.

Guest what, we cycled anyway 🙂

In this article, we would rather present to you the (partial) carbon footprint of our trip, that is to say our CO2 emissions linked to transport generated by this last year of travel. Even if we have always taken care to leave each place visited intact and free of all kinds of pollution, we still moved around a lot, from one continent to another. And the atmosphere, unfortunately, will store our emitted molecules for a while. They will stagnate all up there, reflect, warm and upset our world so much…

Our CO2 emissions – April>December 2019*
Our CO2 emissions – January>March 2020*

400 kgCO2eq, from our references *, is the quantity of carbon dixoxide that we “may” or rather “must” emit at most per month by 2030 to limit global warming to 2 ° C. In total over 11 months, in transport, we each emitted 533 kgCO2 per month… 33% too much 🙁

No need to investigate so much, long distance flights are definitely responsible !

  • Berlin > Singapore = 1540 kg
  • Hanoï > Tokyo = 600 kg
  • Tokyo > Los Angeles = 1360 kg
  • Panama > Madrid (via La Habana) = 1450 kg

In total, it represents 85% of our emissions…

Flight above Cuba

Thus, we will accept all your critics and it will be very difficult for us to convince you about the legitimacy of this carbon emitted. We therefore now have to save much more our use of polluting energies for the years to come …. As for voluntary compensation, this is a gesture we are thinking about but which is a little expensive for us by now (after 1 year of travel) and which also has its faults and detractors. **

However, we managed to travel without borrowing any personal car or internal flight, and the graphics are pretty clear on the “air freshness” achieved by using bike and multimodal journeys!

Our bikes on a japanese ferry
Mangrove crossing with bicycles in Mexico

From May to September 2019 for example, from Singapore to Hanoi, we took only 3 trains and a couple of buses.
Result: 120 kg emitted only in 5 months 🙂 By bike + bus + train, our journey of almost 5000km emitted as much as a journey from Bordeaux to Grenoble in a private car.

Another small satisfaction, our crossing by sailboat from Acapulco to Costa Rica will have emitted about 170 kg. The same trip for two by plane would have “cost” triple.

Milagro, a good alternative to plane 🙂

We have not estimated a full carbon assessment including food and energy but we think that we have traveled “light” on these 2 contributors: few meat, cereals, fruits, local vegetables and a fairly rare use air conditioning, having our own tent or favoring fans if necessary (not to mention non-existent heating and domestic hot water not very available in tropical countries …).

Beyond the figures, we have the feeling of having succeeded in adopting a few simple gestures (small stocks of basic food in the panniers and water to avoid compulsive consumption), in not degrading the air quality of the regions crossings (often already in bad shape) and to bring our level of comfort back to basics.

Sobriety and traveling by bike can therefore both be a good daily routine but remain contradictory during international air transfers.

*App “North – Your climate journey” is available and free on Google Play. Authors sources are detailed in this article : https://www.tmrow.com/climatechange#objective–2-tons

** About this topic, we suggest this french podcast:

On the roads of Talamanca’s cordillera

Last section of our trip to Central America, we leave on February 26 from Curridabat in Costa Rica. We reach in 2 days the banana plantations of Zent where we spend 1 week on a voluntary basis.

We set out again on March 6 towards the border of Sixaloa which goes smoothly under a lead heat. The road is cluttered but full of dangerous trucks near Almirante. Then it climbs it climbs in pouring rain to Hornito Lake and its massive dam! An amazing hostel “Lost & Found” offers us a nice mountain hiking stopover. We then go down the slope to the TransAmerica road that we take (luckily, there is a side shoulder protected from trucks) to Las Lajas. A relaxed German accommodates us for 2 days, enough time to see the beautiful deserted beach, then we finally reach Santa Catalina on March 14!

Last moments of calm and sunshine, we camp on an islet accessible according to the tides and reluctantly abandon the project of a last dive in the Coiba national park due to its closure linked to COVID19 .. .

Quickly, we leave and urgently reach Panama City by bus which will be our way out to Europe and containment. It was too short and incomplete but this short route along the Talamanca mountain range will have delighted us!

Milagro

(French version)

Drawings made by Charles

Pour sûr nous n’étions pas des marins aguerris, juste des voyageurs un peu barges tentés par le large. D’Acapulco au Mexique à Playa Los Cocos au Costa Rica, nous aurons navigué plus de 2000km et vécu 20 jours en compagnie de cap’tain Bob sur le vaisseau Milagro.

Sous ses deux mâts en bois qui lui prêtaient des airs de voilier de collection à la “Rackham le Rouge”, nous parcourions chaque jour son plancher de tek brut, entouré de rambardes d’acajou vernies, orné de winchs et passages de cordes en bronze massif, de 2 panneaux solaires et d’une petite éolienne en appoints.

Fidèles compagnons depuis 9 mois, des confins asiatiques de Singapour à Hanoi, les bicyclettes ne furent sûrement pas mécontentes de ce repos mérité. Nous croisions tout de même les doigts pour que la corrosion les épargne.

Au quotidien, nous assurions tour à tour nos quarts sous un large soleil, les yeux jonglant entre le large hypnotique, le ciel étoilé des traversées nocturnes et le gps de bord rassurant par son modernisme. Nous fîmes le maximum pour arriver à bon port en temps voulu, en assistant le capitaine dans ses manipulations de voile, principalement pour dresser, border ou choquer le fidèle working jib au près et/ou la grand voile et sa baume en vent de côté. Quand ce n’était pas une ancre à jeter puis remonter tant bien que mal, des cordes à arrimer à quais, des fenders à ajuster ou des voiles à couvrir.

Les impondérables, aussi, ne manquèrent pas : une patte d’alternateur fendue, un “générateur d’eau potable” capricieux, un génois déchiré sur 50cm après s’être coincé dans un éclairage, une baume avant fracturée, un rotor d’éolienne serré…

Nous plaisantions aussi parfois avec cap’tain Bob sur nos tocs de frenchies, son snobisme pour le café ou son aversion pour Trump et ne nous lassions pas de nos podcasts radiophonique dans les instants de solitude à la barre*.

Les premiers jours, au large du Mexique, du Guatemala puis du Salvador , nous assurions une modeste vitesse moyenne de 5 noeuds sur des mers plutôt calmes, aidés d’un bon vieux diesel 50Hp pétaradant. 5 noeuds, 9km/h, cette fois nous expérimentions réellement une lenteur presque inconnue, même à vélo ! Comme une ellipse spatiale et temporelle, nous trouvions ainsi le temps de repenser à nos folles vadrouilles à bicyclette, aux pays si variés que l’on avait eu l’infinie chance de traverser ces derniers mois, aux rencontres sur la route, aux amis et à la famille que l’on avait hâte de revoir.

La seconde semaine, portés par 4 voiles variablement utilisées et combinées (le mizzen, la grand voile, le working jib et le genois), nous connaissions de beaux épisodes de vent au large du Honduras et du Nicaragua où le bateau se cambrait puis adoptait cet angle caractéristique d’un “good sailing”.

L’aventure fut belle, dépaysante et très différente de notre quotidien de cyclo-voyageurs : alors que nos cuisses étaient d’ordinaire notre principale préoccupation corporelle, nous concentrions plutôt nos efforts sur le regard, la posture du dos en tenant la barre, ainsi que quelques gestes vifs de cordes. Une autre forme d’endurance.

Et puis l’océan, que l’on apprivoisait dans toute son immensité, sa surface toujours variable, ses vents tournants, son horizon décoré par le balais des astres ou des bateaux de pêche, sa profondeur et ses mystères.

Arrivés à bon port, nous connaissions une dernière frayeur en heurtant un rocher non-identifié sur le gps de bord. Rien de grave, le ballast était solide et notre vitesse lente. Le récif aussi restait indemne.

*On vous recommande ce reportage émouvant sur la rencontre de l’univers de la voile avec le monde carcéral :

http://www.rfi.fr/fr/emission/20190908-belle-evasion-rara-avis-ajd-aber-wrach-bretagne

Aquatic life, jungle and colors of Mexico

From the Sea of Cortes to the Caribbean, including cenotes and lagunas, the aquatic world takes a good part in this twelveth episode video Cycloclock, filmed in no less than 7 States of Mexico!

You will also discover poetic scenes of cyclicing life, colorful streets of colonial cities and the jungle where many mythical Maya’s temples and animal/vegetal wonders are hosted. Open largely your eyes and ears!

A small history of our cycles’ choices

After 6,500 km on wheels, on 2 continents, it is high time to tell you about the genesis of the choice of our bicycles!

To go on a bicycle trip for 1 year, we had to think precisely about our mount, the one that would accompany us under the sun, in the wind (🎶), the rain, from the seaside to the desert, without ever getting used to it. false good, we hoped.
The choice was long and complex for our brains.
Disc brakes, v-brake, hydraulic or not, which development, which handlebars, which saddle and which size? So many questions that we asked ourselves as a lot of travelers before their first trip.

Comment s’équiper ou se réequiper, et avec quoi ?

After going around all the bicycle travel forums 20 times, carrying out a spreadsheet of the characteristics, prices and advantages / disadvantages of each brand and brainstorming with our cycling friends, Cléa chose a Genesis, having no touring bike and Sylvain has opted for an adaptation of his Specialized Sirus being barely 2 years old and some 1000km in the wheels.
The modification of the Sirus consists of:

  • Un changement de la jante arrière en 36 rayons pour plus de solidité vu le poids des sacoches (arrière uniquement)
  • Un remplacement de la cassette (11-32 8 vitesses pour 11-36 10 vitesses ) pour un meilleur développement ce qui implique un changement de chaine et du dérailleur.
  • Pour finir nous avons ajouté deux pneus schwalbe tout neufs.
    Le porte bagage et le guidon papillon avaient déjà été ajoutés pour les précédent itinéraires en France.

For more details, here are the exact characteristics of the bikes below :

Cléa’s choice

Genesis – Tour de fer 20
Taille M
Année 2018
Freins : Disques – Promax rendear
Dérailleurs : Shimano deore
Plateaux : 44 – 32 – 24T
Cassette : 11 – 34T
Jantes : Sunrims Rhyno lite
Pneu : Schwalbe mondial 700x35C
Porte bagage avant : tubus
Porte bagage arrière : tubus
Miroir : Cyclestar
Garde boues
Béquille : Ergotec
Selle : selle italia gel flow
Porte téléphone : Décathlon
Dynamo : lampe Lumotec premium – moyeu de roue avant SP dynamo hub PD8

Sylvain’s choice

Specialized – Sirius basic
Taille M
Année 2017
Freins : Vbrake specialized
Dérailleurs : Shimano deore*
Plateaux : 48 – 38 – 28T
Cassette : 11 – 36*
Jantes avant : Specialized
Jantes arrière : Shimano* Pneu : Schwalbe marathon plus*
Porte bagage avant : néant
Porte bagage arrière : Racktime*
Miroir : Lecyclo
Garde boues
Béquille : Lasus*
Selle : Specialized d’origine
Porte téléphone : Décathlon
Dynamo : néant

*Equipments modified from basic Sirius Specialized.

Thanks to Cycle Expert in Lyon for their efficiency in carrying out the modifications and their advice!

And the feedback?

Top/flop Cléa

The bike is very comfortable and enough development to go everywhere.
The dynamo works very well and allows you to feel a little more secure when darkness arrives. Disc brakes (cable) work very well in all weathers and are quite durable

The connection cables can be a little inconvenient when disassembling the bike for transport. Better to avoid manipulations like this.
The stand works correctly but causes, due to the weight, a slight deformation of the stand support on the frame.
The handlebars with horns were comfortable for the first 6 months but a multi-position handlebars could be appreciable after 8 months.
The mudguards are very close to the wheels and rub regularly, especially with mud.
The “Ortlieb” front bags are not fixed at the bottom on the “Tubus” front luggage rack.

Top/flop Sylvain

Strengthening the rear wheel was a good idea given the weight it supports (~ 18kg of luggage + my little buttocks) and the regular potholes!
Ditto for the change of development, it is always more pleasant to wind than to mash even on “benign” ribs 🙂
V-breaks are simple to adjust or change.

Negative points, the v-breaks skates wear out quickly. The dynamo lights would have been appreciable and more effective than the Decat ‘loupiotes. The handlebar bag “Ortlieb” is useful but difficult to organize and its fixing is impossible to adjust according to its weight so it falters. Finally, the very basic mudguards are sometimes more troublesome in transport and noisy (vibrations) than useful!

Freedom

A breath of fresh air is blowing on our California and Baja California bicycle routes for a month. Pieces chosen in this eleventh video episode Cycloclock 🙂

Cycled away

2 weeks after our departure from Tokyo, we are pleased to present the tenth video clip of our bicycle trip 🙂

100% Japanese, these excerpts filmed mainly in Kyoto and in the central mountains of the island of Honshu will give you an overview of the (good) road conditions, the facilities (bike paths of the lakes of Mount Fuji, special edges in tunnels, etc.) and the the fall weather. All colorful and at a good pace!

Passengers in Vietnam

For this ninth video episode, we’ve put together the best of our Vietnamese adventures. From Ninh Binh with friends to Hanoi, via the island of Cat Ba, the roads were hectic but still charming! Not to mention the highlight of the show: the packaging of our cycles before we fly to… Japan 🙂 Let’s go!