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Questembert. Raphael and Antoine’s trip to Australia

Adventure

Posted on October 6, 2021

Raphaël Collin and Antoine Dréan, originally from the Questembert region and long-time friends, have left for a year in New Zealand but the Covid has shaken their prospects a bit. Here they are today in Australia, terribly lucky, at the dawn of an adventure that is close to their hearts: the crossing of the island continent by bike. They are now in Alice Springs, in the center of the country.

They sent us a detailed report of their adventure explaining their journey, the difficulty of crossing the desert, the logistics that this requires and the meeting with the American charity water association, https://www.charitywater.org/ride- 4-water / ride-for-water in order to raise funds to open wells and other infrastructures facilitating access to drinking water in developing countries, especially in Africa. Here is their story:

Why Australia?

“Australia, because of New Zealand the country we were in at the time, it was one of the only states that were open to us and where the impact of covid was limited. In addition, the ease of obtaining a visa allowing us to work once there was a significant advantage in order to save money for the project. Australia is also a gigantic, immense country, which alone offers as much diversity as can be found on a continent, in terms of climate, geology and geography. “

Why the bicycle?

“It’s a way to put us to the test physically. We totally depend on our body, on our physical and mental capacities to link each day to a new day of pedaling, a new challenge. In addition, the bicycle is an ecological means of moving, the only energy that we must draw from is muscle energy. We move at our own pace and have time to take full measure of everything around us. We have time to get lost while never leaving the right road. Cycling is freedom, and a way to be totally autonomous and self-sufficient if you organize yourself accordingly. Most often we took with us at least a week of food, at times water for 2 to 3 days. ”

Why this route?

“We decided to go around Tasmania (an island in the south of the country) before crossing the mainland island in its width to reach Darwin. The course extended over 7000kms which turned into 6000 due to the covid and the need to eliminate a significant stage between Melbourne and Adelaide. To put it simply, we chose to go through the desert in order to push us into our last entrenchments and put our organization to the test. This part is the least densely populated of the country, but also the one where the temperatures are the highest, the climate the most arid and the places to buy food the least frequent. In other words, we had to be totally self-sufficient, which was the real challenge. ”

Already 4,500 km traveled

“Our adventure started two months ago. We have traveled 4500kms. We have experienced the southern winter in Tasmania. We had to pedal downwind, lived endless days of rain, we even had to pedal in the snow and face some negative temperatures. We are now in Alice Springs, in the center of the country. The last few weeks have been much hotter, we have several days at over 35 °, the heat is extremely dry, the head wind is our new enemy. We took an unpaved road of 600 km, the Oodnadatta track during which we were able to carry out only 2 water supplies and one upstream. Water is a whole logistics and it has happened frequently over the past 3 weeks to carry up to 15L of water on each of our bikes.
Since the start of the trip we have been sleeping in a tent that we share and camping in free camping areas or in the bush (wild camping). We take great pleasure in carrying out this adventure on a daily basis, and realize the immensity of this country that is Australia. “

©Mike Gillam. French cyclists

Why organize a fundraiser?

“We wanted to put our adventure at the service of a cause, we found that it was a good way to give visibility, to make people aware of one of the many problems in society.
We stumbled across this American charity water association, which collects funds to open wells and other infrastructures to facilitate access to drinking water in developing countries, particularly in Africa. For us it fit perfectly with our project. Indeed, water has been and still remains one of our main concerns on a daily basis. Where to find it? All how many kilometers? How to transport it? Ration it? Is it drinkable?
In a way and on a much smaller scale we encounter the same problematic (because we have decided it), which hundreds of millions of people have to face every day. Indeed, more than 700 million people (10/100 of the world population) do not have access to drinking water on a daily basis.
In Europe and in developed countries in general, we are now far removed from these realities. Is the democratization of water transformed into a consumer good? Each house has access to drinking water, toilets, bathrooms and taps are all connected to this system.
We have so much water that we even allow ourselves to put it in a plastic bottle for consumption.
The endless race of globalization turns very largely to the advantage of developed countries to such an extent that we forget how precariousness still affects too many countries. Inequalities are becoming more and more important when we now have all the means to tighten them. ”

Practice:

The link for fundraising: https://www.charitywater.org/ride-4-water/ride-for-water

Tell us about your experiences

We wish to open our columns to citizens wishing to share their experiences, their adventures like Raphaël and Antoine on their trip to Australia, or like Charlotte, this student who went to study in the United States, but also Franck Plisson, a real meteorological watch who gives us regularly its pluviometric readings on Malestroit… The field of possibilities is wide!

If you also think you have a story, something to share, which respects the rules of mutual respect and the legislation in force, do not hesitate to contact us. Send a summary of your project by email: [email protected] which we will examine with kindness.

Jacky Guyon

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