Round-world trip on a trike
CYCLING around the world may not be everybody's idea of the perfect retirement, but for Frenchmen Michel Bouyssou, life on three wheels is ‘tres bonne'.
He was not racing to achieve his global circumnavigation in 80 days, but was aiming for a more leisurely 80-month odyssey, he said.
By the time he arrived in Grafton last week, Mr Bouyssou had travelled thousands of kilometres on his custom-modified three-wheeler.
After leaving France he rode to Italy then flew on to Uzbekistan in the Middle-East where he cycled his way across to China via the Silk Road.
He then rode across Japan and down through South-East Asia to Bali, before coming to Australia.
The Australian leg of his journey will take him down the east coast from Brisbane to Hobart. Then it is on to Adelaide for the ride to Perth.
Next is West Africa, then to Canada and a ride through the United States to the southern tip of South America, before heading home to France.
The trip is a journey of joy for Mr Bouyssou who has always been a keen amateur cyclist. He often took extended cycling trips through Europe with his wife while he was working as an electrical engineer. But as a widower and retired, he is travelling the world.
People along the way had been incredibly friendly and welcoming, and they always wanted to hear his story and have a chat, he said. The only trouble he had was in Kurdistan where he had a run-in with a thief.
Mr Bouyssou used to ride a traditional two-wheeled bike but has upgraded to a tricycle
because it is more comfortable to ride and is more stable with a heavy load. But it was a little sluggish when it came to going uphill, he said.
He is normally on his bike by sunrise each day and rides till just after lunchtime, aiming to cover roughly 70 kilometres a day.
He has faced a range of weather including sub-zero snowy conditions as well as the scorching heat of tropical Asia.
Spending all that time in the saddle has made Mr Bouyssou something of a philosopher. “I think about a lot of things but sometimes I think of nothing,” he said.
He is also taking a leisurely approach to his 80-month timeframe. Mr Bouyssou rides for a six-month stint and then leaves his bike to fly home to spend a month visiting his family and grandchildren, before returning to his bike to resume the journey.
Mr Bouyssou is funding his journey by renting out his family home situated on the outskirts of Paris.