Have wheels will travel

Riding the universe: Laguerre (left) and Lopez cycling from Queensbay Mall in Bayan Baru, Penang, to the second Penang Bridge on their Brompton bicycles.

FRENCH couple Anthony Laguerre, 32, and Caroline Lopez, 26, are on a trip around the world in 400 days.

It took them two years to plan their global holiday and on Oct 4 last year, they left their hometown in Grenoble, France, and hit the streets on their Brompton bicycles.

The bicycles allowed them to explore at a leisurely pace and took them through Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey.

After Turkey, Nepal was their next stop.

Their flight to Kathmandu was uneventful with their foldable bicycles and bags in the cargo. From there they moved on to China, Thailand and Malaysia.

Lopez, a culinary designer, said they wanted to visit as many famous places as they could and adapt themselves to the different culture, language and food.

“We chose to cycle as we could immerse ourselves in the environment and stop whenever something catches our eye.

“Many motorists gave us the thumbs up when they saw and some even stopped to tell us how brave we were to undertake this trip,” she said.

Her partner Laguerre, a former mechanical engineer, is now living out his childhood dream of travelling the world on this trip.

They decided to venture out on Brompton bicycles, due to the two wheelers’ reliability. It is also foldable, making it easier for the pair to travel on public transportation.

Expenses is a major concern and they make do with a strict budget of between USD30 and USD40 a day on food and accommodation.

One of the most challenging moments they faced was climbing the Petit Saint Bernard mountain pass in Alps, between France and Italy.

“It was one week after we left home and we were not physically used to cycle so much but we rode up the Alps’ 1,400m in one day,” said Lopez.

“It was exhausting and the air up the Alps was thin, but making it to the top in one day was exhilarating.”

They singled out four countries they were fond of - Albania, Turkey, Thailand and Malaysia.

“The hospitality, generosity and kindness from all the people we’ve met in these countries made us happy.

“When you are far away from home, friends and family, having such good human experiences is much better than nice landscapes or good weather,” Lopez said.

They initially wanted to leave more than a year to travel, but 400 days was the most they could afford with the money they managed to save.

It is back to the rat race after their 400-day sojourn but that comes later.

“This round-the-world trip is teaching us so much about who we really are and what we really want.

“So, we cannot answer you now because the trip is not finished,” Laguerre said.

On April 9, they headed for Singapore with stops in Taiping, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

Indonesia, Japan, Canada and America are next before they head home.

As they ride, Laguerre also has his thinking cap on.

“Our journey gives me the time to think about the problems that remain unanswered. I am able to see things in a different perspective now and it is such an eye-opener,” he said.

Keep track on the duo at www.400jours.com.

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