2019 SunTrip Tour

2019 Sun Trip Tour Solar adventure with 50 bikes across the Alps in France, Suisse and Italy!

Here below is the official description of the Sun Trip tour organized for 2019.

This time it was expected to be even harder than the previous one (2017): we can see that most of it is going through the Alps across France, Suisse and Italy.

I decided to go directly with my solar bike to the city where the start of the rally is located:  Le Puy en Velay.

In this way I managed to add roughly 550km to the announced 1200km: total distance at the end it was 1947km.

 

https://www.thesuntrip.com/sun-trip-tour-2019/

 

These are some of the nicest spots encountered during this long solar bike adventure!

  • Ready to leave to reach Le Puy en Velay
    Ready to leave to reach Le Puy en Velay
  • Hottest day to start my trip...at 40°C
    Hottest day to start my trip…at 40°C
  • "Pont Canal" on the Loira river
    “Pont Canal” on the Loira river
  • After 200km I arrived close to the Belleville nuclear plant
    After 200km I arrived close to the Belleville nuclear plant
  • Very good Bed&Breakfast with a very nice lady!
    Very good Bed&Breakfast with a very nice lady!
  • Nice "all straight" roads to go fast!
    Nice “all straight” roads to go fast!
  • Quick stop to eat and drink something
    Quick stop to eat and drink something
  • ...along the Allier river
    …along the Allier river
  • Nice bike path in Vichy
    Nice bike path in Vichy
  • Arrival at La Chaise Dieu
    Arrival at La Chaise Dieu
  • La Chaise Dieu cathedral
    La Chaise Dieu cathedral
  • Romanic church before Le Puy en Velay
    Romanic church before Le Puy en Velay
  • Le Puy en Velay - Saint Michel church
    Le Puy en Velay – Saint Michel church
  • very beautiful machine built from Dario
    very beautiful machine built from Dario
  • In Pole Position for the departure!
    In Pole Position for the departure!
  • First uphill...and very steep descente!
    First uphill…and very steep descente!
  • I don't need these wind mills...but they are beautiful!
    I don’t need these wind mills…but they are beautiful!
  • In Vulcania to present the SunTrip
    In Vulcania to present the SunTrip
  • Lapalisse historical Castle
    Lapalisse historical Castle
  • Nantua lake
    Nantua lake
  • Geneva lake
    Geneva lake
  • Chamonix
    Chamonix
  • First arrived in Chamonix
    First arrived in Chamonix
  • Roseland lake
    Roseland lake
  • Cormet de Roselend pass
    Cormet de Roselend pass
  • Tignes lake...going up to Iseran pass
    Tignes lake…going up to Iseran pass
  • Departure in Mont Cenis
    Departure in Mont Cenis
  • Mont Cenis pass
    Mont Cenis pass
  • Montgenevre pass
    Montgenevre pass
  • Serre Poncon Lake near Embrun
    Serre Poncon Lake near Embrun
  • Col de Cabre, last one before arrival in Valence
    Col de Cabre, last one before arrival in Valence

Here below is a description of each of these 8 legs including the Strava GPS traces.

 This is the first leg from home to Belleville sur Loire.

It was a long day, extremely hot (on average 35°!) and the first part was quite hard to move out from the “Île de France” region.

The last 80km it was much better, faster and even with some tail wind!

The second day from Belleville sur Loire to Monetay sur Allier.

Still hot and good weather but at a certain point it started to rain so I decided to find a place to stop a little bit earlier…

The third day it was from Monetay sur Allier to La Chaise Dieu.

Still very hot and good weather, with the first real climbs as I arrived in the Auvergne region…

 

The fourth and final day was a very easy one to arrive to Le Puy en Velay.

Excellent road, pretty fast and going down all the way! 

The only issue was to reach the Youth Hostel on top of the hill:  I had to push the bike because I took the pedestrian streets!

Luckily I had a couple of days to relax and to work on the bike before the departure.

Unfortunately the tilting mechanism was not working as normal because the central axle was slightly misplaced down and therefore it was not turning correctly.

 

Therefore I went to a local shop to build a metal plate to try to prevent the axle to move down: I then installed this under the tilting mechanism body and apparently things seemed to work fine. 

But I was not very confident that this ‘on the road’ repair was sufficient to make the mechanism work as before…

The axle is misplaced.....

The first SunTrip leg (150km) was planned on two days, here below the GPS tracks from Strava.

The second leg was just one day, perfect weather and first time over 100km and 1500m+ altitude gain….

After a great stop in Vulcania, we started the third leg (350km…) planned for three days.

Weather was excellent, often with strong wind and with serious climbs and long distances (180km and 2600m+ on the second day)

My ‘on the road’ repair was working reasonably well but I could not lean my bike as normal : this was not fun and especially going down hill was sometimes scary and far from ideal.

Unfortunately in this situation I had to slow down, but this was the only way I could try to finish my SunTrip adventure.

The last day it was very cloudy so we had to manage very carefully our consumption: luckily with my tilting panels I was able to capture at the best the available solar energy!

After a pretty bad night in the Camping at Divonnes les Bains (water sprinklers went ON at 3am!) we headed for the fourth leg (120km) to Switzerland via Geneva to reach Chamonix.

It was a very busy road, a lot of traffic/trucks/camping cars and motor bikes.
On the arrival in Chamonix extremely bad asphalt with potholes as a “welcome” to our bikes!

The fifth leg was on two days and it was really hard for the climbs, the wind (going up to the Iseran) the quality of roads (very bad…) and for my hub motor.

In fact I was not able to use more than 280watts on the steepest climbs, because the power was automatically reduced not to overheat too much.

But this means that with roughly 45kg of bike I had to compensate this reduced electrical assistance and I had to use a lot my legs !

The sixth leg was planned on one day and it was going to Italy in Pinerolo through the Moncenisio pass.

The descente through the Susa Valley was fantastic, perfect road and ideal conditions: even with my bike not being able to turn so smoothly I really had a lot of fun!

The seventh leg was planned on 3 days and it was going back from Italy to France for a total of 300km and 4000m+ altitude gain.

In Sestriere I met a very nice guy who wanted to give me a special present: 3kg of excellent Italian Coffee !

The 3rd day I will remember for long time the fantastic road down the Drome valley: excellent asphalt, smooth and very pleasant down hill, 28km/h average speed!

 

The 8th and last leg was a short one to reach Valence from Crest.
The best thing was that we rode all together and we arrived at the same time escorted from the local police !

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