In the summer of 2019 Matthias and Thomas cycled through EuroVelo 3. A sporting challenge spiced up with an eco-friendly touch for these two cooks originating from eastern France.
Back in their hometown September, they have since then left for New Zealand for a new adventure.
Today we talk about their cycling journey across Europe and talk about their new project on the other side of the planet
Hi Matthias and Thomas, tell our readers what kind of travellers you are?
When we travel we’re essentially motivated by adventure, discovery, adrenaline, exploration, and resourcefulness.
We have a great respect for the planet and when travelling we also seek to meet others and share.
We are among those who get up in the morning in a place found at random the day before, and leave without knowing where we will sleep in the evening.
A way to lose yourself while facing yourself and learn what you are capable of.
Why was it important for you to raise awareness on the environment during your Eurovelo crossing?
We are cyclists, and used to travel the roads around our own region.
When you cycle through nature, you clearly realize that respect for the environment and nature as well as waste management are often forgotten, and we wanted this to change.
So at our level, we imagined carrying out this adventure with ecological values that are important for us.
It was logical to raise awareness on what’s happening.
If we want our children to be able to travel and discover the same treasures that we are lucky enough to see, we must act now, preserve ressources, reduce waste and be more sustainable.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea was born at the end of August 2018, over a coffee at the restaurant. We came across the EuroVelo 3 itinerary.
A cycling route crossing europe from Norway (Trondheim) to Spain (Santiago de Compostela) for a total of 5496 kilometres.
It was a mutual challenge when we saw the route : “let’s dare to do this”.
The project matured within a few months, and to the sporting challenge we added eco-friendly defeats. That’s why we called our project Europe-Eco-Velo and created an NGO.
Be self-sufficient in energy and produce our own electricity with solar panels, collect waste along the way and raise awareness among the people we would meet about cycling holidays and respect for the environment.
Was it easy?
The energy autonomy was quite an advantage, frankly. Of course, we had to rely on the sun for an optimal rendering, but we were always able to have power for our essential devices, especially the GPS.
We also collected waste, more than 20 kg on the whole adventure. We would put them in canvas bags on our trailers, and sorted them at the end of the day.
Raising awareness on cycling and slow travel was almost permanent. When we stopped for a night with the locals, or ate in parks, markets, we could talk with the people we met.
We were also able to give three conferences in France, on the road, where we spoke to young people about our project and environmental protection.
A real pride for us to succeed in getting our message across to the next generation of travellers.
You joined New Zealand 1 month ago. What are you new adventures all about?
New Zealand is a country with a preserved nature and exceptional biodiversity.
We wish to continue, as we did on our first trip, to promote the protection of our planet.
Crossing this country is also a physical challenge for us, because cycling on an island in another continent will be completely new. And our goal is to travel through both islands, mainly by bike.
We plan a six month trip here.
What eco-friendly challenges did you set this time?
- Design a van as our tiny house, with recycled and upcycled materials and be self-sufficient in energy.
- Buy second-hand bicycles to cover the northern and southern islands in their entirety.
- Do Wwoofing in several farms of the country.
- Continue our challenges to travel plastic free : we will be doing cleanups daily, not buying any plastic bottles and trying to be as zero waste as possible.
And finally, in connection with our jobs as cooks, we would like to develop a food truck concept around Maori cuisine and in connection with the local community. We have only been here a short time, but we are already looking for contacts.
Questions about their cycling travel project in Europe and New Zealand ? Start the discussion in comments
All pictures in this article are used courtesy of Matthias and Thomas - Association EuropeEcoVelo