21 July: Givet to Boismont

14059444284731It is important to keep the bike clean. So far I cycled under the rain every day and as a result I had to clean the bike daily, in particular making sure that the chain was clean from mud. Cleaning the bike is also useful to check that everything is OK: for instance, yesterday I discovered that the handlebar had dropped a couple of cm downward, probably because of the vibrations on pave’. At that point I realised the reason for my knee pain: I was leaning forward too much! I adjusted the handlebar, tightened the bolts and today no pain at all, apart from that part above the seat which is still a bit sore…

Today I went again into Belgium, through les Ardennes. I started with a climb to Wellin,  see picture above, and then a climb of 200 m over 3 km.  I followed N40,  which is a national road but with very little traffic. It looks like a great road for motorbikes, with spectacular views all around.


I reached the highest point for today at km 50, where I had a quick snack.


From that point the road keeps going up and down, passing near the European Space Agency in Redu and through more and more Belgian countryside.


I was planning to have lunch around km 70, but today is Belgium national day and everything was closed. I managed to find an open bar at km 85, when I was nearly out of fuel…

After leaving the bar I met this guy:


His name is Raf and he is the creator of http://www.ridethesolarwind.be/en/

He is travelling from Brussels to Basel on an hybrid Hase Pino tandem to pick up a friend and return with the tandem together. The trailer has 300 W solar panels that recharge a battery and an electric motor mounted on the wheel. The battery recharges also when braking downhill. We did 40 km together and I guarantee he can go very fast! I was struggling to keep up with him on the climbs. The solar panels double when he stops:


He can do between 200 and 300 km per day, depending on the sun. Amazing! We had some food together very close to Boismont, where I stopped.

Overall, another great day. I managed to keep an average of a bit more than 21 km/h in spite of the overall approx 1500 m total climb. This is the trace if you are curious: