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Les cyclopathes (mis à jour le 24/01/2019)
We wanted to travel without any motors. For our first trip, the children were young. We thought that it would be difficult to travel by foot with young children. Therefore we decided to use bikes. It's easy to carry many things with bikes. Now that children are older and we could travel by foot but we are already bike addicts. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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My bike was my favorite form of transportation when I was a teenager. I used to ride 15 km to meet my friends. There was a motorcycle at home but I preferred bikes. Then I studied in Paris and never used my bike there.
Since several years, cycling is back in my life. I often ride my bicycle to go to work come rain, hail and snow...
I am an organized person and love to prepare our trips well in advance. We have been preparing our trip for almost 2 years. We saved up our holiday days so we can continue to be paid during our trips. It allows us not to be too focused on our budget, permitting us to enjoy the trips discovering new cultures and new good local dishes (I hope).
I really love those family trips during which time seems not to pass at the same speed. A 2 day trip allows a quick day-to-day life disconnection.
Like a snail, I love to travel with my house but only take the necessities. Always looking for the best equipment: lighter, more durable, more expensive ;-). I am a fan of travelling Light. But by bike I am happy to buy things to improve my comfort. So it is a good excuse to always buy more and more things (cf equipment part)
I am not an addict of motor mecanichs but I specialized myself in cycle mecanichs, so I am the mecanic of the team.
I am 13, I like to bike with my family. *
My favorite time of the day are our breake. My parents are always ok to buy me an ice-cream (except if the weather is not on my side.)
During our trips I love to see animals in their natural environment (Turtles in Serbia, Pelicans in Romania) or in the Zoo.
I am really happy to go to the United States in 2019
I am 11. I am not a difficult person to live with. I will follow my parents to the end of the world (as long as I still have some time to play games and to read). After several trip with the "Follow-me", I now cycle independently.
I enjoy our breaks when I can play with stones and invent a new world with my magical sticks found near the path.
I like to take home stones and sticks. Before it was easy because my parents carried them. But now that I will have to carry them myself, I will probably reduce the number of treasures.
I love pandas, I rode my bicycle to Vienna to see some during our trip along Eurovelo 6.
Select a member of the family to get a quick overview
Our bike trip:
The color of the line is linked to the year(red: 2011, green: 2012, orange: 2013, blue: 2014, green: 2015, purple: 2016, pink : 2017, black : 2018, green : 2019)
Each red point represent one photo: . If you clic on a red point, you will get access to the photo viewer of the trip.
Green point: , are linked to a city or to a particular place. If you clic on a green point, you will get access to all the photo taken in this place.
You will also get an overview of the family : , ad of all the stuff we bring with us : .
To make this website we had needed to improve our developing skills. Thanks to :
-Mapbox to provide the map (openstreet map)
-Photoswipe Gallery for photo gallery
As the children are older, we now have only adult bikes, even Célian (size xs for him but adult size!). No more tandem coupling, bye bye our faithful FollowMe, the children are riding the daily 50 kilometres without any issues (if Célian can eat something every 10 km and Neela has enough battery to listen to some music).
For the bicycles, we choose to use city bikes, which have been adapted for our bike trip (reinforced and treaded tires, large panel of gears, front racks). Célian has an MTB (XS size easier to find) which has also been adapted.
Célian has a beautiful Cannondale MTB, chosen for the availability of the XS size, the color and also for its ability to melt into the landscape in the US (it is a US brand). He has a MTB front fork (un-useful setup for what we will need), an aluminum frame with fixing eyelet to fix racks, 27.5 inch wheel (new standard for the small size MTB), short gears (20 gears) and hydraulic brakes.
Neela has Maud's old bike: a Kalkhoff Image. It is a robust bike (as Germans really know how to do it) with a telescopic fork, an aluminum frame, 28 inch wheels, the classic stuff (hub dynamo, 27 gears, mud guards and rear rack), and some hydraulic V-brakes (Magura HS33). Nothing to say, it brakes and it is trustworthy even if the touch is a bit spongy and it is quite difficult to adjust. The bike mechanic(Gael) prefers hydraulic disk brakes.
Gael keeps his faithful Cube Touring. Also a robust city bike. Aluminum frame, 28-inch wheels, telescopic fork. Following several trips and daily use to go to work, it has been upgraded (new wheels, change to hydraulic disk brakes, change of the rear rack, new mud guards).
Maud has a beautiful Colombia Road from the English brand Genesis. It is a city bike with a steel frame, 28-inch wheel and a steel fork (Maud has change from a telescopic fork to a fix steel one but does not complain). The bike has been upgraded for touring: triple crank , front and rear Tubus racks, hub dynamo, hydraulic disk brakes).
Return of experience regarding the bikes:
Tires: For the US trip the bikes have been equipped with Schwalbe Marathon Mondial Evolution 42mm wide (1,6 inch). They have more treads and are wider than our usual tires (Schwalbe Marathon 35mm wide) because we plan to ride on gravel roads. Having touring tire is, I think, the only mandatory equipment (it is possible to have a well maintained first price bike but with touring tire!). We only had 2 flats during the EV6 trip (8 tires - 5000 km). Repairing a flat tire is not difficult but it can slow your progress and get your hand dirty.
kickstand: it is the weak point of loaded bikes. We broke 3 during the EV6. If the bike is loaded, kickstands fixed on the rear wheel are fragile (the handle bar rotates 90°, and the wheel moves laterally, stretches the kickstand and ...bam). The solution we found is to clamp the front brake with an elastic to avoid any movement on the front wheel. It is a habit to get into but since we use this elastic we have not broken any more kickstands. Maud has a central kickstand which seems to be less fragile.
Panniers: We now have only Ortlieb, our bikes are now an Ortlieb advertisement (not paid) for their product. On the EV6 they proved their sturdiness, convenience, waterproofing. No decoration, only efficiency. The adults have two front panniers and 2 back panniers, a rack pack 30l and handle bar panniers. And the children only have rear panniers and handle bar panniers.
Brakes: Every bike has hydraulic brakes ! It is efficient and the touch is great. We had a bad experience with cable disk brakes (Maud's brake glaze during our previous trip). V-Brakes are great because they are simple to maintain and rugged but are more difficult to use particularly when it rains. Magura (hydraulic rim brakes) are also great but more difficult to maintain. In the US it will not be difficult to maintain our bikes
Cycle computer: All the bikes have one. For the adults it is useful to plan the day and breaks and for the children they are happy to see how much they have cycled.
To carry water : Water is heavy and we need a lot of it (to drink, to cook and to wash). The adults have a water cage for attaching a standard bottle of water of 1.5 liters (Gael has 2 of them and Maud one). Maud likes to drink with a water bladder when riding, so she has a 2l water bag in one of the front panniers with a plastic tube (commonly used for aquariums). We also have a 4l water bag with a tap (Liquidtainer from Source brand - the only tested water bag which does not alter the water taste). Adding the children's water bottles we have 12 kg of water!
Isolated from the world (away from the internet) for 6 months? No way....Sleeping on the ground, eating on the ground, riding in the rain, peeing in the wood, visiting museums in bike shorts: OK.... But not knowing when the next expected Switch game is available for sale: NO!
So, Gael keeps his French phone (with roaming) for emergencies, and then 2 cellphones with upgraded french plans for calling and for the internet for Maud and Neela. The ability to consult a map, to call a campsite, to find out museum opening hours and to upload photos on the website makes life easier.
Regarding electronics we take :
A DSLR camera reflex Nikon D5600 : it is heavy, it is bulky but it is strong and has a good autonomy. For the photos we have three 16 Go SD cards (in fact micro sd cards inside an SD adaptor). Then to get the photos we use an USB card with a micro SD port. We also have 3 back up batteries to be sure that we never run out.
A 13 inch laptop (Lenovo ideapad 720S). It is light (1,1kg), has sufficient space to save photos, and has a good keyboard. Windows 10 is installed so we can easily install software used to maintain the website : filezilla, notepad ++ and digikam (to geotag the photo and add comments). To get internet we share our phone connection by adding a Wi-Fi point. In Europe, the connection is more stable and faster (to upload the photos on the website it is important) than in public Wi-Fi spot. Children also use the laptop to do their homework (we have bought their school books in electronic versions).
3 smartphones (Gael, Maud, Neela) to be able to make calls between us (even on bike trips the wellknown SMS "Do not forget the bread" is possible) and to find our way. Neela also listens to music.
3 e-Ink reader (PocketBook, Kobo, Kindle – no jealousy)
A Nintendo Switch to entertain the children (Gael included) on the rainy days
An external battery bank 20000mAh
An USB charger 65watt, with 4 USB A ports and a USB C port . The idea is to pump the maximum amount of power on a single plug !
Each of us has their own bedroom: we have 3 tents! No more tipi for the whole family. Now the children will have their own space. It is easier to sort, each of us carry their own stuff (except for the food which is carried by parents). The only issue is that it is heavier. But the weight is shared between the 4 of us.
To be more precise :
3 ThermaRest Prolite mattresses and one Thermarest Neoair for Neela (which is thicker like a pool matress)
Sleeping bags with goose down (originally from Polish geese but the down has been replaced by local Pyrenees geeses. With them we can support a temperature of 5 degrees (0° by design but at 0 you shall not be sensitive to cold). If it is colder (which is not predicted) we will sleep with merino clothes (see section "Clothes").
Pillows:for the parents ikea half memory foam pillows and inflated pillows for the children (exped and decathlon)
One Sierra Design Meteor tent (3 person) for the parents, one Sierra Design Meteor 2 person tent for Célian and the well known MSR HubbaHubba for Neela
Gael has chosen the most beautiful pan to make delicious meals during our trip.
At home, Maud is the chef, except when we eat pasta. During our cycling trip, we often eat pasta so cooking duty falls to Gael.
A 2 liter ceramic-coated aluminum pan (with a lid that can also be used as a strainer). We have tested other solutions (stainless steel, titanium) but it is easier to cook with the anti-adhesive. We will still need to be really cautious, we are not sure that the ceramic-coating will last 6 months
Foldable gas stove: a pipe links the gas bottle and the stove so the stove and the gas bottle are not in the same place. The gas stove is placed directly on the ground and it is more stable.
An Opinel knife to cook with and a Swiss knife to open beer bottles and cans of beans
A silicon spoon to be able to stir
4 titanium bowls. We often eat without a table, therefore, we prefer to eat frombowls rather than plates. It is more practical and they are less accident prone
4 titanium sporks (spork = spoon + fork + knife). Before having these ones we had the plastic versions and we often broke them
A XXL cup for Maud‘s tea (we also use it to boil the water for breakfast), 3 more plastic cups
An ice box with a watertight box in which we can store cooked food
A sponge, a small bottle of dishwashing liquid and a tea towel
Cotton is great: it is soft, it can be organic, warm, beautiful, economic and recyclable…..But it is NEVER dry. So for our clothes it will be Merino wool or…plastic. Merino is a type of sheep wool, which does not itch, dries quickly and does not hold odors (magical). We use it for all our clothes which are close to the body: t-shirt, underwear, socks, pajamas.
For thermal layers, we take goose down jackets for the evening at the campsite and polar jackets to wear when riding our bicycles.
For protective layers, we use waterproof and breathable jackets (breathable on the tag, in real life after exertion … not so much) and light softshell (breathable but not waterproof) jackets.
Therefore, the clothes taken by a cyclopathe are:
A waterproof jacket
A goose down jacket
A polar jacket (with zipper pocket)
2 short sleeve merino T shirts
1 long sleeve merino T shirt (for when it is cold or to sleepin)
A pair of long polyester trousers to seem like normal people in the city
A pair of shorts/ running leggings (to pedal)
A pair of merinotrousers (to sleep in)
2 pairs of merino socks
3 pairs of merino underwear
A swimsuit (also useful for when we wash the underwear)
Walking shoes for Gael and sandals for Maud and the children
A super lightweight bag made from the same material as hot air balloons (each of us has their own color bag)
That's all! It is not a lot but if we pace ourselves, it is ok. We wash our clothes every day. We plan to use our new “washing machine” (scrubba wash bag – not yet tested). When the weather is warm, a just washed Merino t-shirt, well wrung (in the micro fiber tower), can be worn immediately and when it rains we just use perfume…
Logically, this category shall not be the « heaviest one »...Even if the country is a beautiful playing ground we take a little stuff with us:
A pencil case full of coloring pen, pen, scissors, glue
Games for raining days. We choose the lighter one. So it will be “Citadels” and dices
Watercolor and a travel diary
And all the things in the electronic category
Regarding school, (an entertainment like another). Children will miss 4 month of school. We have declared our situation to the academy and we will ensure that they are working. Neela will finish on the road his 8th grade (4ème in France) and Célian his 5th grade (CM2 in France). We will take notebooks and we have bought their scholar book in numerical format.
We have seen the doctor to have a minimum set of medicine:
We have completed this list with more common things: