Florian Bailly, a French cyclist, completed a 12 countries and two continents tour on a custom-made solar bike this week. The 10,000-kilometer journey, from France to Tokyo, lasted two-thirds less than it would have taken on a normal bike.
On arriving in Tokyo he said, “I crossed desert, mountains and countryside, where there is nothing, nobody. Then in this big city with millions of people, it was crazy.” He covered a distance of 120 kilometers per day, which enabled him to finish the journey from France to Japan in just four months instead of six.
The concept behind such a performance is simple. The bike had an adapted trailer attached that carried two solar panels and two lithium batteries (powering the electric motor). These improvements allowed him to travel at higher speeds with the same amount of pedalling.
Bailly’s journey carried him through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China and finally Japan. He was very pleased to discover people’s enthusiasm about his revolutionary bicycle everywhere he went: “I met a lot of people across the world. I was surprised– everyone, young, old people, rich or poor people, were interested in my bike. I don’t speak Chinese or Russian very well. So we had to talk with a few words or gestures. But everyone understands how this bike works.”
After ending the journey with the 8,000-euros prototype bicycle, Bailly has now returned to France and is currently working on a presentation film about his trip.