The map of my adventure
This article is the conclusion of my 12 days alone on my bike across the South Island of New Zealand. I recommend you start with the article “why” which explains how I came to realize this crazy adventure, without preparation, without experience and without motivation!
I took the time each evening to write down the things that happened on the road and in my mind:
SOME FIGURES TO GET STARTED
– 12 days of cycling (+1 day off)
– 52h24 to pedal
– 1100km in total, 90km on average per day
– 8800m vertical climb (30 times the Eiffel Tower)
– 60,000 calories burned
Evolution of my body
I just made a DEXA scan on my first day back in Sydney, 1 month after the first one just before my departure for New Zealand. I expected a big variation, but my body adapted perfectly to the physical challenge. It’s pretty crazy …
– I lost 1.8 kg, a good part of which was in muscle.
– % BodyFat > from 15% to 15.4%
– % LeanMass> from 18.9% to 18.4%
– No variation of fat or muscle in the legs (very oddly…)
+60,000 calories burned over 2 weeks. Much more than my inactive week during “vipassana” (Feb 17) but not much more than a “normal” week of ironman training (Feb 24).
I make the rental at Natural High store (Christchurch). The bike was not at all suitable for my needs. It’s a bike for “cool ride” and not 90km per day. The price was not very high
Bike + 2 panniers + lock + repair kit
= $ 953 for 15 days, or $ 63 per day
Food and supplements
On the 5th day, I noticed a “visible” weight loss in the mirror. My body was not ready to take in the consumption of +5000 calories per day. I managed to correct it by doubling the number of calories I was consuming (example).
Note that I really enjoyed myself on my day off in Christchurch and my arrival in Queenstown on the last day. If I had stayed on rice-tomato sauce for these 2 days, I would be under the $1000
– Bike rental > 953 dollars
– Bedroom > 1,362 dollars
– Food and supplements > 1125 dollars
>> Total: 3440 Australian dollars / 1900 euros, or around 125 euros per day on average all inclusive.
Note that I made the choice not to camp every night, but to have a room with a bed. This represents an extra cost and constraints (for example you can’t stop halfway or anywhere). But for my first time alone, I preferred to have the comfort every night of a good bed and a good shower.
WHAT I LEARNED
To begin, I would like to thank my close friends who support me on a daily basis with their messages. Thank you <3
I am happy that the adventure is over and that everything went well. No technical problem, no injury and especially no abandonment! I did not go up to the 1500km in 15 days planned, but I finish with an honorable 1100km in 12 days. Which makes me want to start again one day BUT with a suitable bike and someone by my side!
By taking a step back, I begin to realize the performance achieved, both physically and mentally. I realize how much this adventure was worth, how I come out of this proud and grown up experience.
Learn to travel differently
I had never traveled other than by rental car (and mainly in the big cities). Being on a bike is a completely different experience. Everything is slower than driving, you really have time to observe the landscape. You can’t “rush” from place to place by doing 100km here and 200km there.
All paths are accessible, whether it is paved road or a trail in the forest. Who says “bike-packer” says “camping equipment”. It was not my case, but I met many bike-packers who had the freedom not to know where they were going to sleep tonight.
Being on a bike is cool
Cars and people say bravo. There is something “cool” about being a bike-packer. I think it has to do with the fact that people know how much we suffer on our bikes every day. And they are not wrong!
I too remember having a lot of respect for these two-wheeled travelers, whom I often saw on the side of the road, loaded like mules, their faces tired but always with a smile.
You got what you give
I am convinced that our world is a mix of energy. If you are positive and you see good in things, then you will receive positive energy in return. Now I try to assume that everyone tries to do their best in life, even in the unpleasant situations that we have all known (at the airport or the supermarket).
I experienced a good example during my adventure. When we arrived at the YHA Hostel in Franz Josef, the receptionist asked me for an ID to make sure I was of legal age. He know that I am over 18 years old, he is just doing his job with a checkpoint to respect before giving me my key. I could have gotten angry against this “stupid rule”. What happened the next moment…
When I call Raphael, who was waiting outside, to ask for his ID. He gets mad suddenly . He begins to attack the receptionist thinking that there was an offense. The discussion gets angry. I manage to calm down the situation and I explain to Raphaël that the receptionist is “just” doing his job.
An unpleasant situation for everyone from stress for nothing.
Solidarity between bike-packers
In the car, we don’t talk to other drivers. On motorcycles, we say hello with the foot. By bike, it’s completely different!
Whenever I came across another person on a bike, at a campsite or at a café, there was always an exchange of words. It is often even a real discussion where you make sure that the other is “okay” and that he has everything he needs for his adventure.
It changes the self-centered spirit that is characteristic of “trendy” places. Finally, in my humble opinion.
By bicycle, you are “the engine”
By car, everything is easy. You have air conditioning, music, a roof and above all you can do the distances you want. By bicycle, you are “the engine”. You are limited by your own abilities. So you have lots of parameters to take into account such as rain, wind (from the front!) Or your physical condition.
I discovered after 5 days that nutrition plays an important role in the adventure. Neglecting this part is like leaving without having a fuel level gauge.
Sport without music
If you are a fan of endurance sports (triathlon, marathon, ultra-trail …) you must see exactly what I am talking about. The training consists of running kilometers and kilometers, often for several hours. Like everyone else, I started running with music in my ears. Then quickly it became a drug, a psychological booster. I can’t do without it.
From the first day of my bike trip, I had to be focused on lots of details, the road and the cars. So no music. Then the first day has passed. Then the second. And little by little, I started to discover another way of playing sports, sport “without music”. I focused on my breathing and the sensations in my body. I immersed myself in the present moment, my eyes riveted on the road which passed before my eyes.
A journey inside yourself
The most significant for me of this adventure remains the “mental” aspect. I was a thousand miles away from realizing how much, being 6 to 10 hours a day on your bike, becomes a real journey inside yourself. You continue to admire the landscape, but you gradually enter into a “mediation under steroid”. This applies of course to my experience, if you drive only 2 or 3 hours a day at the cool, it’s different.
Physical suffering increases the meditative power of experience tenfold. After 4 or 5 days on the bike, everything is painful and each kilometer seems to you forever.
It forces you to be in the present moment, to look ahead of you at the road that scrolls past your wheel and to think of nothing else.
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go
I thought I was able to physically endure this adventure, but I was far from being aware of the mental challenge. A few weeks ago, I would have set my own limit very far from it all.
I now realize that we can do more than we think. When your mind tells you that you can’t take it any longer, you still have a good deal of energy left.
I also learned that fear only exists in our mind. It is a projection of our mind into a future that is not yet taking place.
I have been asked many times during my adventure, “But why are you doing this? “
I do it above all for myself, to challenge myself and face my fears. All these challenges for 4 years, to go into a ring for a boxing fight to read a book every week or learning to swim in 3 months to achieve an Olympic triathlon, have been a real “school of life” for me.
I have answered many of my questions, resolved many problems concerning myself, the majority of which I have been fighting with for years.
The second question that usually comes right after: “Do you feel compelled to post everything on social media?” Yes, for two obvious reasons:
The first is to inspire others to go after their dreams. As soon as you start to accomplish personal challenges (big or small), it brings real positive energy, both for yourself and for the people around you. If I can inspire just one person, that’s enough for me. I’m not doing this to “make views”.
The second, to find an additional source of motivation. I receive messages of encouragement every day that are a real boost of energy in difficult times. It also allows me to regularly receive practical advice or ideas to succeed at best my challenges (ex: vipassana)
I hope you enjoyed reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to come and ask them on Instagram.