The Bour family, who lives in Bouilly (Aube), fell in love with cycle tourism.
The first experience of Étienne and Jeanne, both aged 34, dates back to their baccalaureate exams: “Right afterward, we left with friends and went around Ireland by bike,” recalls Jeanne .
An unforgettable experience that made them want to do it again.
First as a couple, then with their children.
“We were attracted to South America, but it was too mountainous for the children,” explains Étienne.
The couple also rules out the Silk Road between Asia and Europe, which is too barren, with the risk of administrative blockages for visas.
“The idea was not to take the plane during the trip, only for the outward and return journey,” adds Jeanne.
Limited budget and resourcefulness
Another constraint is adapting to the schedule of Jeanne, a teacher, who benefits from an annualized part-time: “Either we leave from February to August, or from July to January.
So we were in both cold and hot seasons anyway,” emphasizes her husband, an engineer at the water union, who was able to take unpaid leave for 6 months.
Hence the idea of discovering Central Europe, which they did not know, by going from south to north, from winter to summer.
The Bour family is preparing for six months of a great cycling adventure between Malta and Sweden.
Departure further south on February 19, via Malta, where the family will then take the ferry to reach Sicily.
“We’re going all over Italy,” continues Étienne.
“We have a little piece of Slovenia all the way to Budapest in Hungary.
We return to the west via Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany... Then the tip of Denmark and a little piece of Norway to Stockholm... And perhaps we will push on to the northern Sweden,” he explains.
“We’re going to do school on the bike and in the tent”
A route close to Euro Vélo 7, a cycle route which takes a straight line through part of the countries listed by the Bour family.
“My father worked in Budapest (
) and I wanted to take my children in his footsteps,” continues Jeanne.
“We had been to all these countries with my parents, I wanted to show them all that.”
All this while avoiding the most difficult passes in the Alps, with 40 to 50 kg of luggage for each adult, 15 kg for each of the couple's two daughters (8 and 11 years old), and everything you need for sleeping and cooking .
Limited budget requires, you will have to be resourceful in the evening, “
I will sleep at your place
“We’ll go knock on doors to find bits of garden,” smiles Jeanne.
“There is also the warmshowers website, a global network of cycle tourists.
We register, we welcome people and we can also be accommodated.
We know what to expect based on people's profiles.
And then there are the campsites.”
The Bour family plans to take their time, an average of 35 km per day.
Everyone will have their bike, including little Gabriel, the youngest of the 3 children aged 5.
“A bar will hold his bike by the front wheel, so as to form a tandem with my bike,” reassures his mother.
“If he wants to pedal and if the safety conditions are good, we can unhook his wheel very easily.”
Read also Cycle tourism booming in France
And school in all this?
“We're going to school on the bike and in the tent!
», says Myriam, the youngest of the girls aged 8 who will then give a presentation on her trip.
Abroad, schooling obligations do not apply and children will move to the next class without a test.
But parents intend to play the game well to avoid any dropout.
“They have a good academic level, that doesn’t worry the teachers at all.
But as parents, we will be careful not to put them in difficulty,” promises Jeanne, who will draw on her experience as a teacher.
“We're not really worried, if there are things to catch up on, we'll be able to do it quickly at the start of the school year,” adds Étienne.
Between the practice of English and the discovery of other cultures, the children will also learn a lot, even if leaving for such a long time will not be easy: “My friends ask me every time what I am going to do if I don't have no network?
I tell them it doesn't matter... We'll drive until we find some!
», Solves Myriam.
However, it's not easy to leave your friends for so long for Salomé, 11 years old, in 6th grade at Bouilly college.
“My friends don’t want me to leave,” she worries.
“The closer it gets, the more anxious I get.
I don't really want to leave all my loved ones here.
But at the same time, I'm excited to go.
This will really be the first time we're going away for a long time as a family... I like this idea!
The adventure already promises to be unforgettable.