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Friday, 03 July 2009

Adventures Bicycletales: An Interview with Frédéric Linget - Page 3

Written by Kristen Hamill
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"Why go on a journey of 20,000 km … when 10,000 km would be enough by flying over the ocean? Why spend 12 months on the road when only 12 hours would be necessary in the air? Why so many efforts, when I could just sit and wait? Efficiency, speed, and very little effort - these are some really trendy values nowadays. By seeking and obtaining everything, immediately and easily, we lose both the taste of things and the appetite for life. In my opinion, we are missing the best of it. Cycling, on the contrary, is getting back to what traveling really means. Cycling is also about holding your own destiny with a firm grip rather than letting it wander; while you sit in the saddle, you are the only captain on board and you can choose to go wherever you want. You are free."


INTRAVEL: How did people perceive your journey? Did they understand your mission?

Starting from Iran, I found that people had heard on the news about global warming and the things we need to do to prevent it from getting worse.  It wasn't something completely new for them and when I explained what I was doing they'd understand. Before Iran, it was a bit difficult sometimes.  Some people thought I was doing it because cycling was safer than taking a plane. During that year, in nearly every country I was in, a plane had crashed.  When I was in Turkey there was a crash in Turkey, when I was in Nepal there was a small crash there as well. People thought, "oh yes, a plane is very dangerous, it must be better to ride a bicycle."  Which, of course, is not true, but it was a coincidence.  My mission is a bit technical, so when I started to explain about the carbon credits and how I'm trying to buy back all the greenhouse gases I've been emitting in my life, it was a bit too surreal for them to understand.

INTRAVEL: Did anyone come with you or did you make the entire journey by yourself?

I was mostly by myself but when I arrived in Bosnia, I had a friend who came from France by train to Bosnia. I wanted to cycle around Asia with my friend from Asia, and I wanted to cycle around France with my friend from France, because it would have been quite a pity for my friend to fly all the way to Nepal or India to ride with me since I was riding back to not take a plane.  It would have missed the philosophy of my trip.

INTRAVEL: Did you manage to take the entire trip by bike or did you have to take any cars, buses, etc.?

Adventures Bicycletales: An Interview with Frédéric Linget, Frederic Linget's cycling journey, cycled from Bangkok to FranceJust once in Iran.  At the top of Iran there is a portion where bikers have been kidnapped and this area between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran there is a lot of drug trafficking.  The traffickers capture somebody and claim the equivalent amount of money.  So right now when you cross the border between Pakistan and Iran the Iranian police stop you and you have to stay in a police car all the way to Bam, a city that was destroyed by an earthquake, so I stayed in the car for nearly 300 kilometers. Also, for some very small parts of Turkey there was too much snow and I couldn't ride.  But apart from than that, there was no car, no bus, no train.

INTRAVEL: Did you make the journey on one bicycle?

Yes, and my bike could have lasted much longer! It's still like new actually. The paint is still shiny! I cleaned it before I arrived in France, and people were saying "Wow, there's no way. You didn't ride the trip, you took a bus or something." But actually, you damage your bike more when you carry it in a car, or a plane or a train.  If you just ride it, and you don't fall, then you don't damage your bike at all.

INTRAVEL: Which country had the most hospitable people?

Definitely the Muslim countries; Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey.

INTRAVEL: What were your favorite countries to travel through and which were your least favorite, if any?

Adventures Bicycletales: An Interview with Frédéric Linget, Frederic Linget's cycling journey, cycled from Bangkok to FranceThat is quite a difficult question to answer because I enjoyed myself in every country.  If I had to pick one I'd say that Pakistan for me, was a very big surprise. Because I was staying in Asia for such a long time I thought I knew Asia pretty well.  All the way from Tibet was quite familiar in some ways, and around Europe was quite familiar as well. Pakistan was midway, and it was just so exotic to me.  Because I knew all the cultures from Europe and Asia, but Pakistan was just so different. It was very exciting to ride over there and the people were extremely friendly. I had absolutely no problems no security problems, nothing that you could read in the paper. I didn't go to the most dangerous areas in the north.  I really enjoyed myself over there; there were very friendly people, no fanatics at all.



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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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