Cold start

Cold start

The last two days before my departure were pretty hectic. My new bags have significantly less space, and I would also like to take a pack raft with a paddle and a life jacket with me.

My new bike was created in collaboration with Tom Spahr from the Leuthold bike shop. This time I use a titanium frame from Falkenjagd and again a Pinion gearbox with chain drive.

A big thank you at this point to Tom for his great work! The hardest part of a trip for me is always the first day. Saying goodbye to family and friends is never easy.

Since I hadn't found time to prepare for the trip yet, I wanted to use the first stage as a test route. To do this, I cycled from Switzerland towards Paris.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. Wet and cold are not ideal for cycling.
Luckily, I was able to stay overnight with friends in Frick and Basel for the first two days. At this point, a big thank you to Claudius and Xaver.

The next day, I crossed the border into France and cycled towards Mulhouse. The headwind particularly bothered me afterwards. Just as I was about to set up my tent under a canopy in Buethwiller, a walker walked past with his dog and invited me to his house for dinner and the night.

Lukas only recently emigrated. There was a lot to talk about and we shared stories with each other until late into the night. Thank you very much Lukas for the great hospitality.

The short days combined with the cold were a challenge. My rain clothes served as wind protection. In the morning I cycled until I got warm. Around lunchtime I treated myself to a coffee in the restaurant to warm myself up.

The next morning I received pictures from Switzerland with white landscapes. After a rest day in Besancon I continued along Euroveloroute 3. I never met other touring riders.

I named my new bike “Siemis”. The name means “dreams” in Romansh (Sursilvan). I want to make new dreams come true with this bike rafting project.

In Dole I visited the birthplace of Louis Pasteur. He was a chemist, physicist, biochemist and co-founder of medical microbiology who made crucial contributions to the prevention of infectious diseases through vaccination.

The weather was really bad here too. It rained all night long and when there was no end in sight the next morning, I jumped on the train again. The regional trains (TER) transport bicycles for free.

I took the train to Tonnerre via Dijon. It was actually dry there. By evening I reached Cheny, where I pitched my tent under the canopy of a rugby club building.

My new sleeping bag withstood the sub-zero temperatures perfectly. However, everything was completely wet when I got up in the morning. I continued along the Yvonne (river).

The campsites are practically all closed. Nevertheless, I checked out everyone I passed along the way. That day I had some luck outside of Sens. The groundskeeper lives here all year round and allowed me to spend the night in the lounge, where I could also dry my wet clothes.

I couldn't find a bike route the next day. Which is why I had to improvise a little. I actually wanted to follow the dirt roads. However, they are completely soaked due to all the rain.

After a few mud fights, I decided to switch to the asphalt roads. Even the Pinion's chain drive jammed due to all the mud.

The last day before I arrived in Paris was where I had the most trouble finding a place to sleep. I drove constantly along the banks of the Seine and only found a campsite in Vaux le Pénil when darkness fell, where I was allowed to set up camp for the night in the cold shower.

My arrival in Paris went surprisingly well. The weather remained stable and I was pleasantly surprised at how well developed the bike paths are here. I stayed in the hostel for 3 nights.

Since I couldn't find time to prepare everything for the trip at home because of my final exams, I did so here in Paris.

On the fourth day there was a big reunion with Wesley. We met in Zambia in 2016.

Wesley has been living here in Paris with his fiancée Maggie for a few years. I was allowed to stay with them for a few days.

My mother visited me over the weekend. Despite the constant rain, we were able to use the time together to see a few of the sights.

In addition to the Center Pompidou, we also visited the Louvre. Due to the rainy weather there was quite a rush of visitors, which is why we decided to continue on to the Champs Elysées.

Of course, a visit to the Arc de Triomphe couldn't be missed. The grave of the unknown soldier, located below the triumphal arch, is intended to commemorate the dead who were never identified.

We arrived at the Basilica of the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre just in time for dusk. Entry here is free.

The view of the city from up here is particularly beautiful in the evening light. At the same time it stopped raining briefly. A very welcome change for us.

The first thing we did on our last day together was visit the most famous landmark in Paris: the Eiffel Tower.

Finally, we went on a special tour to Notre Dame Cathedral. Since the cathedral is closed due to the fire in 2019, a 500m² room was created at the foot for a virtual reality experience.

Wesley recommended this to us. In 45 minutes you travel from the laying of the foundation stone through history to the present. A digital reconstruction of the events. Thanks Wesley for this great suggestion.

After that I had to say goodbye to my mother again. A big thank you for the visit. For the last two days in Paris I went to Maggie and Wesley's place again, where I prepared for my flight to Santiago de Chile.

My journey can now also be followed via Polarstep: