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Friday, 03 July 2009

Adventures Bicycletales: An Interview with Frédéric Linget - Page 4

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: Where did you stay while on the road?

I stayed in quite a lot of hostels, but in some places I would just ask where I could sleep, and sometimes people would take me to their home, sometimes they would direct me to a mosque. Where I stayed with people the most was in Muslim countries and in France, because I knew a lot of people.

INTRAVEL: Were there any countries you didn't get to visit that you wish you had?

Not really, I followed my first itinerary and I was granted access to all the places I wanted to go. You know, on a bicycle, you can't see everything, you have to make choices. It's the same as if you travel by train or by bus, you have to make choices. I've been to many places people never go because they are difficult to reach.  So no, there is no place that I wanted to go to and did not go.

Africa was an idea, many years ago.  I wanted to go on a major trip back home; I thought

it would make sense to travel through Africa.  But I think that could be the next trip in ten

or twenty years. You can't go on a trip for a year every other year, you have to wait some

time in between. My trip could have actually taken less time, I really did not ride fast.  I was

riding something like six days every ten days on average, so I had time to rest and visit the

area. It was a relaxing pace, you don't want to rush through this type of trip, you would not

enjoy it.  It would get to be too much.

INTRAVEL: What was the hardest part of the journey for you?

Adventures Bicycletales: An Interview with Frédéric Linget, Frederic Linget's cycling journey, cycled from Bangkok to FranceMaybe Tibet, but not because of the mountains, not because of the attitude,

but because of the Chinese police. They would check you every day, twice a day sometimes

-your documents, luggage, everything. It was harassing. I didn't feel comfortable after a

while.  I felt like a criminal; like I needed to report to the police twice a day.

INTRAVEL: Was weather ever an issues on the road?

Adventures Bicycletales: An Interview with Frédéric Linget, Frederic Linget's cycling journey, cycled from Bangkok to FranceNot really, a bit of snow. There was quite a bit of snow in Turkey actually. It was not so bad, but when it becomes icy on the road, you just can't go on anymore because it is so slippery that you keep falling all the time.  You cannot make it uphill because the wheels spin, often you need to push, and even pushing is difficult because it is very slippery. So snow is a bit of a problem, and then it gets all in the the gears, you can't change gears, and there is a lot of ice on the bicycle (which is already heavy).  You'll get an extra five or ten kilograms of ice on the bicycle. It's not very comfortable, but it wasn't a major issue, just more of an annoyance.

INTRAVEL: Do you speak any other languages besides French and English?

I speak Thai, which was helpful for Thailand and Laos.  I speak a little bit of Chinese, a little bit of Vietnamese, and I learned a lot as I went.  I learned the basics to be polite, "hello," "thank you," "goodbye."  Words like this so people will feel like you aren't so much of a stranger.



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