Cycle-camping and the Art of being (un)Prepared

As I write this It is almost exactly ten years since I first went on a bike trip with little more than a tent and a sleeping bag. Since then, cycle camping has become better known as bike-packing but between you and me what’s the difference?  This article is about progressive cycling trips over the last decade with two different friends and the preparation involved. The experiences I’ll tell you about were all waypoint markers for me, and through them, I’ve come to determine a kind of philosophy: my ‘best approach’ towards cycle touring. I’ve always been interested in manifestos and If I’d remembered one thing from the Scouts it was their motto: Be Prepared. I was actually never a scout myself however and on my first two-wheeled camping excursion, I was anything but prepared.  

It was August 2011 and my friend Matt Downing had already found his balance at cycle touring both on and off of his unicycle. Yes, he was riding a unicycle! He had already made it across almost all of France when I met him in Perpignan. 

Matt had been living out of his backpack for over a month and I’d planned to do the same for a brief summer excursion. We believed it would take us roughly two weeks to reach Barcelona. I’d bought a cheap tent and had a couple changes of clothes thrown into a backpack. As for my bike, I was borrowing one from my friend Albert, who’d driven it up from Barcelona. The bike was a ‘Peugeot – Tim Gauld – Mountain Bike’. As we took it out the car, I noticed both tyres were flat. Albert and I pumped them up and he was careful to show me how the pump attached to the frame and ensured I took his puncture repair kit. These were sensible precautions that I’d overlooked, I thought innocently. With the abandon of youth, I hadn’t considered my kit much at all. If I had, I might have realized I was excessively under prepared to cross a large part of Spain in the August heat.

It turned out that Albert’s loan of the bike was a type of cadeau empoisonné that was to set our trip spiraling out of control from the beginning. The bicycle kept getting punctures and although we repaired them, nothing lasted long. We found ourselves pushing our bikes through the night for miles and miles and sleeping on the ground only to be woken, panicked, by the spray of cold water from garden sprinklers. We thought we had fixed the problem for good after realising it was the wheel itself puncturing the tubes. The rim of the valve hole was the jagged culprit and we managed to file it down with the help of a local bicycle enthusiast.  So, we managed to cycle a bit and even cross the mountainous border between France and Spain in a storm.

After crossing into Spain we cycled down through Figueres and out to Bàscara. We were finally covering some real distance, navigating the country by paper map, and really enjoying cycle touring for the first time. I even managed to get a reasonable night’s sleep in my poorly constructed excuse for a tent, despite the hundreds of snails crawling all over it. We rolled into Girona in the mid-day heat and searched for hours to find somewhere to get a cold drink and something to eat. In a Catholic siesta country on a Sunday that’s no mean feat. Finally, after a long day in the saddle, we reached Malgrat-de-Mar. It was 3am. Not being able to see the road ahead at cycling speed, we’d pushed our bikes in the dark for hours. Neither of us were equipped with lights, yet we were hell bent on reaching the beach before sunrise.

Just slightly further down the coast the punctures started again. At this point we gave up, drunk a bottle of dubious anise-flavoured spirits, fell asleep on a Pétanque pitch, and finally got the train the rest of the way to Barcelona. When questioned about the cursed bike he had leant me Albert replied “Buaaaa, buaaaa… don’t cry… suffering is jamming” – a phrase which would go on to encapsulate this kind of mini adventure for me in the years to come. 

  • Preparation 0 / 5
  • Fun 4 / 5
  • Second degree fun 5 / 5

Despite the constant mishaps, that trip had given me a taste for the unknown of hitting the road. The next trip I took was with Tyze Whorton, a different friend but a similar set-up. Since the previous catastrophe I’d upgraded my tent to one that wouldn’t fall down every few hours. Regardless of this my bike selection was still poor and left very much to chance. We’d decided to meet in Bordeaux and head down the coast towards Spain, a similar route to my first trip but on the Atlantic coast rather than the Mediterranean. Tyze flew in with his recently purchased road bike whereas I had a day to find a bike to buy upon arriving in Bordeaux.

At the Saint Michel flea market I bought the cheapest bike I could find and we headed out later that day. Our plan was to reach the beach before nightfall but it was taking us longer than expected. After a pizza stop in Saint-Helene we decided to leave the bike path and take the more direct road route as darkness began to descend. My saddle was one of those with springs in it and was horrifically uncomfortable. It was if I was sitting on the two springs themselves and neither was very springy. I cycled the flat road standing. As we passed the sign for Lacanau we immediately searched for a place to pitch our tents and found a roundabout with a few trees on it. We had only one torch between us (which Tyze had brought) and after putting up our tents we realised were covered up to the knees in ants!

The morning after a rough night’s sleep (same roundabout, different spot) I bought a spongey saddle cover and the trip started going a bit better. We mostly slept in campsites and enjoyed surfing and swimming alongside the cycling. We ended up going the wrong way a few times as we didn’t have any maps and were completely reliant on signposts. When we set off, we hadn’t known there was a cycle path running mostly straight down the direction we were heading. If it hadn’t been for this, navigation may have been a bit trickier.

When we got to Biarritz we looked at the hills ahead of us. Having come to know our bicycles a bit better, we realised they weren’t built for the task. We sold them street-vendor style on the Biarritz beach front and I crossed the France-Spain border this time on a train. 

  • Preparation 1 / 5
  • Fun 5 / 5
  • Second-degree fun 4 / 5

It was after this trip that I realized that the moments I remembered the most, the ones that made me laugh, were those that at the time had been the worst. I recently learned of a concept known as second-degree fun and this is more or less exactly that: something that in the moment, when it is happening, you do not enjoy but afterwards when reflecting upon it you come to appreciate it. Another way of saying Albert’s notorious phrase: suffering is jamming. I noticed also that when telling other people about my trip I wouldn’t tell them about the good times. Nobody wants to hear about you sunbathing on white gold beaches and diving through crisp blue waves, but tell them about being covered in ants in the dark exhausted with a numb bum and they will likely smile and relate to you a story when something similarly awful happened to them. 


The next trip I took with Tyze we weren’t cycling but rafting. I still want to include it in this blog post because I feel it is relevant to the theme of preparation. We were to ‘pack-rafting’ as poorly prepared and ill equipped as we had been a few years ago to ‘bike-packing’.

We set out in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port aiming to paddle our way down to Les Fetes de Bayonne. Minutes after setting off we reached a damn and had to off load our carefully packed luggage, drag our kayak around and delicately load it again before spinning off in circles. The water soon became too shallow and he had to walk along to give our craft enough buoyancy to float over the pebbly river bottom. Then we sped into choppy rapids strewn with dumped construction waste; plastic pipes, concrete blocks and metal rods. Our luggage fell overboard and even though we’d wrapped it in gardening grade binbags water got in. At one point a metal rod pierced our inflated-craft, missing Tyze’s leg by centimeters. When we got through, we felt elated and relieved but the day wasn’t over and we had to use a lot of energy traversing boulders and passing through prison like ravines. We didn’t have mobile phones with us and we were far from civilization or help. Everything was wet, even our sandwiches as we camped on the riverside.

The next day we hitch-hiked downriver, patched up our boat and camped in a field full of huge horses. Then we continued and actually made some progress and were feeling good as we stopped at a riverside ranch-restaurant for lunch. Little did we know the river had gotten tidal and brown water was surging inland. Our kayak and all our belongings had been swept from the riverbank. If it hadn’t been caught on a tree branch it would have been a long walk to Bayonne! After waiting for the tide to turn on a jetty watching the rubbish wash upstream from the festivities, we eventually rowed into the city saluted by women waving and men peeing off the bridges we sailed under.

Our trip had been a catastrophe from the start, in that respect more like my initial cycle with Matt than the previous cycle down the Atlantic coast with Tyze. The difference being that this time, although I have a lot of very funny memories, there were points where when looking back I realise the danger we were in and don’t really enjoy the memory knowing how closely we had come to disaster: a serious injury or worse. 

  • Preparation 0 / 5
  • Fun 3 / 5
  • Second-degree fun 3 / 5

The next cycling trip I took with Tyze was much more successful and went almost entirely according to plan. By this point I’d started Musette bicycles and coffee, had lots of experience with bike mechanics, and the bike I owned was far better than the one I’d used on our last trip. It was still an urban bike though (a Genesis Brixton) and not 100% suited to touring.

This time we were using GPS maps on our phones meaning it was a lot harder to get lost and we were able to find smaller roads and paths to connect our route. We even had a GoPro with us! The only problem came when we were on some gravel track on a high plain far from shops or houses and I had an energy crash and couldn’t go on until I’d got some sugar inside me. I suddenly felt faint, shaky and extremely hungry. Luckily, I had some cherries with me and after sitting and eating all of them we were able to continue long enough to find something resembling dinner and a camp spot for the night. Since then, I always take an emergency bag of Haribo with me on bike tours. Like a long distance truck driver having a spare jerry can full of petrol!

I had learnt my lesson. I think this is such a positive point about cycle camping as a hobby: you learn what suits you, and by learning from previous mistakes you get better at it each time you go, eventually feeling more confident going further.

  • Preparation 3 / 5
  • Fun 4 / 5
  • Second-degree fun 3 / 5

Around this time, I began doing some work for bike touring companies that offer organised cycling vacations. These tours are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum to what I’d known. Top of the range bikes, bookings in 5-star hotels, luggage transfers from hotel to hotel each day, pre-planned GPS tracks following well used routes and support services available 24/7. I couldn’t help but laugh at the company described these holidays as adventures. I suppose everybody has a different idea of what an adventure is! 


The next cycling trip I took with Matt saw another upgrade of the bicycle I was using. I’d built myself a customised Brother Cycles Kepler. Finally, after so many years I had a real touring bike! I’d also built a bike for Matt using a 90’s steel framed Specialized mountain bike and modifying it with drop bars, friction shifters, a luggage rack and puncture resistant tyres. We wanted to cross the Pyrenees again and this time we were set to do it right. We both had fully waterproof Ortlieb panier bags. We both had good quality lightweight tents. We had smartphones with modifiable GPS tracks. We had knives, supplies, inner tubes, torches and raincoats. We were ready.

As we passed through the Basque Country the cycling was tough but nothing went wrong. The mist descended but we managed to knock on the door of a farm and ask if we could camp in their field. We were loosely following the Saint Jaques de Compostelle pilgrim trail. After a night in Valcarlos we climbed the Col of Ibañeta and crossed from France to Spain through the Roncevaux Pass. The sun was blazing on the other side of the mountain range but the scenery was stunning and the scenic off-road paths felt a long way from the N11 road of our first trip with its heavy trucks and roadside brothels. This time we cycled hundreds of kilometers and didn’t get a single flat tyre!

We spent the final night of the trip in Leitza: an idyllic rural village surrounded by forests. We camped in a meadow encouraged to do so by some friendly locals and an inquisitive pony. It was hard to believe there had not been a single incident. It felt odd. We had even arrived at our destinations earlier than expected. Had we finally gotten good at cycle camping? Matt went on to get a ferry back to England and then cycle all the way up Scotland, his bike not giving him any trouble.

  • Preparation 4 / 5
  • Fun 5 / 5
  • Second-degree fun 2 / 5

When I got home to my appartement a day earlier than expected I couldn’t help but feel a little bit disappointed that it had gone so well. There wasn’t anything foolish to tell people about. It had been great, but at what cost? Had some of the magic been lost? Had I suddenly grown old? Would the next step be for me to start paying for luxury organized ‘adventures’ with luggage transfers included? At the same time, you can’t actually want something to go wrong. It was a strange feeling. I contemplated comfort and discomfort. There is a different line between the two for every person. When you go cycle camping, part of the challenge is to find the right equilibrium between the two that suits you. When you get too comfortable doing something you know and have mastered, you have to push yourself to do something a little harder, a little tougher each time.

Before
2011

After
2019


Then
2013

Now
2021

Spring 2021 and travelling by bike feels more like freedom than ever before. Tyze and I have decided to ditch the paddles for good, get back on the saddles and pedal once again. We pick a location equidistant from where we both live, between Barcelona and Bordeaux: the Catalan Pyrenees, back to where I began 10 years earlier. The cycling is set to be more demanding than ever before but the equipment has once again been upgraded. I’m riding a custom-built Brother Cycles Big Bro and now I even have a fancy Jet-Boil cooking stove with French Press adapter to ensure a great morning coffee! Talk about luxury. Am I now cycle glamping? 

Cycling from Saint Cyprien I see the mountains looming wild and blue in the near distance beyond the poppy fields. I hope there won’t be too much trouble ahead. After nearly 30km of flat cycling the rest of the way will be nearly all uphill. I set off up a little road that crosses the border just after Las Illas. I see a car crash into a removal van on one of the steep corners. I continue on as a small traffic jam starts to form. I doubt any of those involved expected that to happen when they set out this morning! The road turns into gravel track near the peak and instead of a border checkpoint there are boulders laid on the path. No cars can cross, but a bicycle can. With Covid-19 still making international travel difficult I’d chosen this particular mountain pass for a reason, foreseeing an absence of controls. I arrive at the campsite in Maçanet de Cabrenys just before the rain starts.

Tyze is set to join me in an hour or so and is obviously getting drenched. He has borrowed a carbon fiber gravel bike from a friend and is rolling ‘ultra-light’. (I seem to remember on one of the past trips when one of us didn’t have a toothbrush and asked to borrow one only to receive an outright “no way!”). He is rolling ultra-light but he does at least have a toothbrush.

When he arrives he is soaked through. One thing you can never pre-determine too well is the weather, but he has a few cold cans of beer and a hot campsite shower waiting for him. In fact, we have organised this trip a bit differently, after having had to change plans last minute. Due to time and location limitations, we plan to use this campsite as a basecamp, offload the majority of our luggage and do loops around the mountain bike trails nearby. I’ve planned various choices of routes on Komoot (a map planning app).

We head out early the next morning after a very nice French press coffee, our phones securely attached to the handlebars (with Quad Locks). The Spanish sun starts blazing and the inclines get steeper and steeper. Our leg muscles and shoulders burn but we surmount a peak that no cars can ever hope to reach. The way down is really sketchy: steep rocky switchbacks. The views and vistas are enthralling throughout the day however and we only have one minor mechanical problem, which I am easily able to fix back at basecamp. Within the camp site’s bike fix hut, I see a map of the nearby MTB tracks and realise the route we were on was a black-run! The weather remains unpredictable but we both have good waterproof clothes with us. We enjoy the mountainside forest trails and don’t see any other people for hours at a time. Eventually Tyze leaves to catch a train back to Barcelona and I stay another night. 

Heading back, I am once again fully loaded with my gear. The climb back up to La Vajol is incredibly tough, even on the road in places. After La Vajol I go off-road once again. The path is much harder than the road would have been, but I am glad for it. Yellow flowers bloom high on each side and the steepness only adds to the definite solitude. When the path forks, I see one way that remains in Spain and the other that enters France in about 200m. The border crossing is a gate to stop goats in their tracks and a sign commemorating the use of this pass in not so ancient history (by leaders of the Catalan and Basque governments during the Spanish Civil War). I rejoin Las Illas, from here I’d thought it would all be downhill but I was mistaken and as I head in the direction of Céret the elevation keeps rising. The mountain sides are nothing but trees yet with no cars bothering me on this small gravel road, all is blissful except for the rising wind.

I attempt a descent but the way is blocked and I am forced to continue climbing. I have my emergency snacks with me but want to arrive in a town before the restaurants close after lunch service. 13:00 passes and I am still on my way up. In the heat. No water left. The final top is the Col de la Brousse where absolute silence reigns and all is still. I begin my descent to the red roofed civilization thousands of feet below. However, after 500m I slow my bike to a steady roll because in front of me I see what I take to be a large dog carrying a stick or a big bone. When it hears me, it drops its haul and lumbers into the forest on the downhill drop to the right. As I come to the thing it had dropped I gradually realise this dog is, in fact, a wolf! It takes a while to process something like this because we are so used to seeing dogs, but I had neither seen a house nor a car for a long time and the thing it had dropped it was neither a stick nor a bone but a baby deer! I look into the eyes of the dying fawn as this realisation sweeps over me and although I feel pity I don’t hesitate for long. I take a quick photo, as any good tourist would, but leave before empathy gets the better of me because I know how aggressive canines can be when you mess with their food.

I get off that mountain quick, with adrenaline in my veins and beautiful views in my eyes. The mistral wind picks up quick after lunch until I can almost no longer see from the dust blowing through the Boulou valley. In my head I begin to question what I had witnessed, yet the image is burnt in strong like a fairytale. Those deep, dug in eyes, the powerful shoulders, the floppy messy hair and the bushy tail. The picture was unquestionable but the moment had definitely been changeable. I’d stopped for maybe thirty seconds, had I delayed any longer who knows how this story could have ended? When I showered that evening I was counting myself lucky to be alive. For however well prepared you are, nature can always throw something at you that you have no idea how to deal with other than to rely on your instincts, your nerves and any other tools you might have at your disposal and to just keep on cycling. 

  • Preparation 5 / 5
  • Fun 5 / 5
  • Second-degree fun 4 / 5

Le Sacré baroudeur !

Nous vous présentons Maxime Barat

La French Divide 2021 approche à grands pas et cette année Musette est fière de sponsoriser la légende locale Maxime Barat. Nous avons eu le plaisir de lui monter un Brother Cycles Big Bro bien solide pour la course. Pour ceux d’entre vous qui ne connaissent pas encore ce « sacré baroudeur », nous lui avons demander de se présenter.

Pouvez-vous nous parler un peu de vous et de vos débuts dans le cyclisme ?

J’ai passé mon adolescence à Apt dans le Vaucluse, à deux pas du Luberon. Un super terrain de jeu où le soleil est souvent de la partie. Alors chaque été j’y retourne pour faire du vélo et à chaque fois j’en prends plein les yeux.

En 2014, je découvrais le vélo au cours d’un voyage de 6 mois en Asie Centrale. Ce fut une révélation. La liberté de parcourir le globe à la force des mollets, l’imprégnation des cultures traversées m’ont laissé un souvenir impérissable. Depuis lors, le vélo ne m’a plus quitté. Objet du quotidien pour tous mes déplacements, outil de liberté pour partir à l’aventure ou encore machine de compétition. Je le pratique sous toutes ses formes. Au fil du temps, mes vélos et leur chargement se sont allégés. Adieu le porte bagage, bonjour le bikepacking et l’ultra distance.

Quel a été votre premier grand voyage ?

En 2014, Sabrina et moi sommes partis 6 mois en vélo pour découvrir l’Asie Centrale. De l’Ouzbékistan à la Chine en passant par le Tadjikistan, le Kirghiztan et le Kazakhstan, nous sommes passés du désert à la montagne avec des pistes à plus de 4000m d’altitude. 7000km de pur bonheur à découvrir les cultures, les gens et la nourriture. Difficile de résumer ce voyage en quelques lignes le mieux c’est d’aller jeter un oeil au blog: www.lebinome.wordpress.com

Suite à ce voyage de 6 mois j’ai pris conscience que le poids de nos vélos nous avait pénalisé. J’ai commencé à me renseigner et j’ai découvert la Transcontinentale Race. J’ai tout de suite voulu y participer mais ma candidature a été refusée en 2016. J’ai alors décidé de partir sur les routes Alpines pour me tester. De Nice jusqu’en Slovénie en empruntant tous les cols alpins. Un périple sur route de 4000km et 100 000m de dénivelé en 3 semaines sur des routes vertigineuses m’offrant des points de vue à couper le souffle. Le retour s’est fait également par les Alpes jusque dans les Vosges ou un chat m’a coupé la route à 23h dans une descente à 50kmh. Clavicule cassée, fin du voyage mais de beaux souvenirs quand même avec un coup de coeur pour les Alpes Maritimes et les Dolomites en Italie.

Quelle expérience avez-vous en ultra endurance ?

En 2017, j’ai pris le départ de la Transcontinentale Race à Grammont en Belgique. Une course d’orientation à travers l’Europe façon Vendée Globe mais adaptée au cyclisme. Le principe est de rallier l’arrivée, prévue en Grèce cette année-là, en passant par 3 checkpoints. Sur 300 participants au départ nous étions 80 à l’arrivée et je suis arrivé 40 ème en 13 jours et 20h malgré une intoxication alimentaire.

En 2018, j’ai pris le départ de la French Divide. Une épreuve tout terrain dont le parcours de 2200km et 32 000m de dénivelé entre la frontière Belge et le pays basque est à parcourir en moins de 15 jours. Parti en gravel MR4 sous le regard
amusé de l’organisateur Samuel Becuwe, je suis finalement arrivé en 9 jours et 7 heures soit le meilleur temps en gravel et le troisième temps au total derrière deux VTT.

En 2019, j’ai pris le départ de la Baroudeuse Race, une épreuve de seulement 1150km mais avec 35 000 mètres de dénivelé. Au départ de Nice le parcours est très exigeant et la chaleur suffocante. J’ai finalement gagné l’épreuve en 5jours et 7h avec 36 heures d’avance sur le deuxième.

Si la TCR est mythique j’ai pris bien plus de plaisir sur la French Divide et la Baroudeuse. Je préfère la longue distance en tout terrain car c’est moins monotone et je suis moins inquiété par les voitures. Mais le tout terrain est exigeant car le corps encaisse des chocs et des vibrations toute la journée. Ça ne pardonne pas. Il faut également être plus autonome en eau et nourriture car on trouve moins de quoi se ravitailler, mais c’est ce qui me plait.

Qu’as-tu fait récemment?

En 2020, après deux mois de confinement, j’avais besoin de prendre l’air. Plutôt que de m’épuiser en une semaine sur une épreuve bikepacking, je suis parti deux mois en VTT à travers la France. Un beau périple de 4000km entre Sarlat, Carcassonne,
Valence, Nice, Strasbourg et enfin Avignon où j’ai pu enchainer quelques-unes des plus belles traversées vtt du pays en solo puis avec ma compagne.

https://www.instagram.com/barat_maxime/

Début juin 2021 je repars dans les alpes. Quand vous lirez ce poste, je serai déjà reparti sur les chemins entre Arles et Nice afin de tester ce big bro sur les cailloux du Sud. Les pneus en 29×2.6 ne sont pas là pour décorer. Vous pouvez suivre le trip sur Facebook, Instagram et même Strava.

Et cette année, vous participez de nouveau à la French Divide. Qu’est-ce qui vous a poussé à demander à Musette de vous construire ce Brother Cycles Big Bro ?

Pour ma seconde participation à la French Divide je cherchais des partenaires à l’écoute de mes besoins avec une bonne connaissance du bikepacking afin de monter un vélo solide et efficace. En plus à Musette ils font du très bon café !

J’ai fait le choix du Big Bro car ce cadre à vraiment été pensé pour le bikepacking:   le cadre n’est pas trop sloping et peut accueillir une grande sacoche. Il y a des fixations un peu partout pour mettre des portes bidons. Il possède des pattes coulissantes pour rouler en single speed ce qui est très pratique puisque je roule sans dérailleur l’hiver pour économiser la transmission. Pour les pneus on peut mettre du 29×3.0 devant et 29×2.6 derrière ce qui permet de rouler sur des sentiers cassants sans avoir besoin de suspension. Et puis il est vraiment beau dans cette couleur.

Pour la transmission et les freins je fais confiance à Shimano, je reste fidèle au 1×11 qui a fait ses preuves et ne nécessite pas de corps de roue libre spécifique. Plateau de 32 et cassette 11×46. Les roues sont des TFPHC wide, des roues alu avec des moyeux novatec qui font seulement 1,7kgs. Pour les pneus je pense partir sur des 29×2.2 pour la french divide. Je roule actuellement en 29×2.6 pour le confort.

Mr Bikepacking

Presenting Maxime Barat

The French Divide 2021 is fast approaching and this year Musette is proud to sponsor the local legend Maxime Barat. We had the pleasure of building him a hard-as-nails Brother Cycles Big Bro for the race. So with only a few weeks to go before La French begins we thought we would ask Maxime to introduce himself.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into cycling?

I spent my adolescence in Apt in the Vaucluse, close to the Luberon. A huge sunlit playground that I go back to every summer to cycle in and each time I am in awe.

In 2014, I discovered travelling by bike during a six month trip to Central Asia. It was a revelation. The freedom to travel the globe with the strength of my calf muscles alone and the deep impressions of cultures crossed, left me with long lasting memories. Since then, my bicycle has never left my side. An everyday mode of transport, a means to head out on adventures and even a competition machine. I practice cycling in all its forms. Over time, my bikes and their cargo got lighter. Goodbye luggage rack, hello bikepacking and ultra long distance races.

What was your first big trip?

In 2014, my partner Sabrina and I spent six months on bikes discovering Central Asia. From Uzbekistan to China via Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, we went from the desert to the mountains on tracks over 4000m above sea level. 7000km of pure happiness discovering cultures, people and food. Difficult to summarize this trip in a few lines, if you want to know more have a look at the blog we made: www.lebinome.wordpress.com

After this trip I realized that the weight of our bikes had hindered us. I started to research long distance cycling and discovered the Transcontinentale Race. I immediately wanted to participate but my application was refused in 2016. So I decided to ride from Nice to Slovenia to test myself, taking as many Alpine mountain passes as possible. A road trip of 4000km and 100000m of elevation gain in three weeks on roads with breathtaking views. I also returned via the Alps to the Vosges where a cat ran out across my path at 11pm while I was going 50 kilometers per hour downhill. A broken collarbone ended the trip but I was left with great memories all the same and a soft spot for the Maritime Alps and the Dolomites in Italy.

What experience do you have in ultra endurance cycling ?

In 2017, I successfully entered the Transcontinental Race starting in Grammont, Belgium. An long-distance orienteering race adapted to cycling across Europe. The idea being to reach the finish, in Greece that year, passing through three checkpoints. Out of the 300 participants at the start, we were 80 at the finish and I came 40th in 13 days and 20 hours, despite food poisoning.

2018 saw me enter the French Divide for the first time. An all-terrain route covering 2200km (with 32000m elevation gain) between the Belgian border and the Basque country, to be completed in less than 15 days. When I turned up with my MR4 gravel bike the organizer Samuel Becuwe gave me a funny look but I finished in 9 days and 7 hours, the best time on a gravel bike and third overall behind two mountain bikes.

In 2019, I entered the Baroudeuse Race, the overall distance was only 1150km but for this short distance there was still 35000 meters of elevation gain. Starting from Nice the route was very demanding and the heat suffocating! However I won the event in 5 days and 7 hours finishing 36 hours ahead of the person in second place.

Even if the Transcontinental Race is legendary, I enjoyed the French Divide and the Baroudeuse a lot more. I prefer riding long distances off-road because it’s less monotonous and I’m less worried about cars. But off-roading is very demanding because the body absorbs shocks and vibrations all day long. It is physically unforgiving. You also need to be more independent in terms of water and food because there is less to be found en route, but that’s what I like.

What have you been up to recently?

In 2020, after two months of confinement, I needed some fresh air. Rather than exhausting myself within a week on a bikepacking event, I went mountain biking for two months across France. A beautiful 4000km journey between Sarlat, Carcassonne, Valence, Nice, Strasbourg and finally Avignon where I was lucky enough to follow some of the most beautiful mountain biking routes in the country, solo and then also with my partner.

https://www.instagram.com/barat_maxime/

At the beginning of June 2021 I am once again heading off into the Alps. When you read this post, I will already have left on the paths between Arles and Nice to test this Big Bro on France’s southern tracks. The 29 × 2.6 tires are not for decoration! You can follow my trip on Facebook, Instagram and even Strava.

And this year, you have entered the French Divide again. What prompted you to ask Musette to build this Brother Cycles Big Bro for you?

For my second participation in the French Divide I was looking for sponsors with knowledge of bikepacking that would listen to my needs in order to build a solid and efficient bike for the task ahead. In addition to all this Musette also make very good coffee!

I chose the Big Bro because this frame was really 100% designed for bikepacking: the frame is not too sloping and can accommodate a large frame bag. There are screw points everywhere to put bottle holders etc. It also has sliding dropouts giving you the option to convert to single speed which is very practical since I ride without a derailleur in winter to conserve the transmission. For the tires, you can put 29 × 3.0 in front and 29 × 2.6 behind, which allows you to ride on rough trails without the need for suspension. And I think it is really beautiful in this color.

For the transmission and the brakes I trust Shimano and remain ever faithful to the 1×11 drivetrain which has proven itself and does not require a specific freehub body. A chainring of 32 teeth and 11-46 cassette. The wheels are TFPHC wide, aluminum wheels with novatec hubs that weigh only 1.7kgs. For the tires I am thinking of riding on 29 × 2.2 for the french divide. I am currently using 29 × 2.6 for the comfort.

Bike-packing en vélo cargo de Bordeaux à Morocco

En 2019, notre ami Teo a pris la décision de partir à l’aventure en solo, mais au lieu de prendre son vélo gravel, il a choisi un vélo cargo Omnium. Nous voulions savoir pourquoi, nous avons donc décidé de lui poser quelques questions sur son voyage.

Quelles ont été tes motivations pour faire ce voyage? Et pourquoi le Maroc?

Alors c’est plutôt simple, il y a deux ans j’avais fait Bordeaux – Milan en pignon fixe, et en un peu moins de deux semaines. Depuis j’avais envie de retenter l’expérience en allant plus loin et en partant plus longtemps; j’avais environ 2 mois de libre avant mon départ hivernale en Asie et en cherchant une destination avec une météo agréable en octobre/novembre, un coût de vie faible et de jolie paysage j’ai tout de suite pensé au Maroc! En plus j’avais jamais mis les pieds au Maghreb donc ça me motivait encore plus.

Tu as vendu ton vélo de gravel, en choisissant plutôt de prendre ton Omnium, quelles ont été tes raisons de cette décision?

Avant mon départ j’avais deux vélos à disposition mais pas suffisamment de cash pour 2 mois de trip, j’ai donc pris la décision de me séparer de mon gravel bike. D’un côté la route aurait été plus simple et moins fatigante en gravel, mais de l’autre le cargo me permettait d’amener plus d’affaires et plus facilement. Je suis vraiment parti dans une optique vacances et découverte plutôt que sportive.

Tu dois vraiment aimer les Omniums. Qu’est-ce que tu aimes tant chez eux par rapport aux autres vélos?

C’est juste le vélo parfait à tout faire, à vide c’est presque comme un vélo classique, et dès que tu as quelque chose (ou quelqu’un) à transporter tu ne te poses pas de questions, il suffit de charger et c’est partie!

Tu es parti avec beaucoup de matériel ? J’imagine que tu as tellement eu de la place, que tu as pu rajouter au fur et à mesure de ton périple?

Non pas spécialement, j’aime partir light et tout est réfléchi et optimiser. La seule chose que j’ai changé en cours de route c’est mon système « autonomie électrique » mais plus par la contrainte que par choix. Je suis partie avec une grosse batterie externe mais je l’ai perdue en cours de route et j’ai switché pour un panneau solaire (je préférerais la première option).

Quel itinéraire as-tu emprunté? Et comment as-tu navigué?

Ma première idée était de rejoindre le Portugal plus ou moins par le chemin de St Jacques de Compostelle pour ensuite longer la côte jusqu’à Algésiras, puis quelques jours avant le départ je me suis rendu compte qu’une amie était en Erasmus à Madrid, changement de plan j’ai traversé l’Espagne en plein milieu, Bilbao, Madrid, Cordoue, Malaga puis Algésiras.

Une fois arrivé à Tanger après 1h30 de traversée j’ai longé la côte Marocaine sans destination précise … Et puis un beau matin j’ai reçu un message de deux amis français « On arrive à Ouarzazate dans quelques jours, tu fais quoi toi? », quelques recherches sur Google (itinéraire, lieux à visiter, vol pour rentrer en France par la suite) et puis la réponse quelques minutes plus tard « Je suis à 400km je vous rejoins ». Donc j’ai tracé l’itinéraire le soir pour le lendemain en utilisant Google maps, j’ai essayé plusieurs applications GPS vélo mais je me suis perdu à chaque fois.

A-t-il été assez facile de trouver des spots de camping?

Globalement oui, en Espagne j’ai fait uniquement du camping sauvage, je cherchais juste un petit parc (souvent à l’avance sur Google maps) et je posais la tente à la tombée de la nuit. Une fois au Maroc j’ai alterné entre auberge de jeunesse, camping, camping sauvage, surfcamp et hébergement chez l’habitant ; tout le monde m’avait déconseillé le camping sauvage dans le nord mais à partir de Essaouira je campait souvent sur la plage ou des les champs et j’ai jamais eu le moindre soucis.

Tu devais avoir beaucoup de gens qui te regardent de façon amusante et te posent des questions. As-tu rencontré beaucoup de monde grâce à votre mode de transport?

Oui énormément, surtout au Maroc, personne n’avait jamais vu un vélo de ce type, c’était la porte ouverte vers plein de belles conversations avec les locaux. J’ai aussi croisé quelques cyclistes en voyage, certains allant vers le Nord, d’autres allant vers le Sud, mais le rituel était le même à chaque fois, arrêt et discussion obligatoire !

Comment était la traversée en ferry?

Très rapide, seulement 1h30, mais avec le décalage horaire c’était 30 minutes. Petite anecdote, le ferry arrivant en fin d’après midi sur Tanger, j’avais réservé une auberge pour la nuit, mais ce que je ne savais pas c’est que le port de Tanger était à plus de 50 km du centre en ville. C’était un peu la panique quand il a fallu avaler ces kilomètres non prévus dans ma journée et avant que le soleil ne se couche. Hors de question de rouler de nuit au Maroc.

Faire du vélo au Maroc était-il très différent d’en Europe?

Pas vraiment, on croise beaucoup beaucoup moins de vélo, les voitures ont tendance à te frôler un peu plus, et les policiers à t’arrêter plus souvent juste pour discuter mais ça reste du vélo.

Quelle a été la partie la plus difficile? Quelque chose s’est mal passé?

À la fin du voyage, la fatigue physique et la solitude sur le vélo, mais c’est uniquement mental, ça fait partie du jeu.

Quel a été ton moment préféré?

Le feeling à chaque arrivée dans une nouvelle ville, un nouveau spot. Le sentiment d’être 100% autonome et d’avoir tout ce dont tu as besoin avec toi. L’arrivée à Ouarzazate aussi était incroyable, d’un côté ça a marqué la fin d’un long périple, d’un accomplissement personnel, et de l’autre j’ai retrouvé mes potes.

Tu regrettais d’avoir pris le vélo cargo au lieu du vélo gravel?

NON du tout, et cela m’a même motivé pour repartir au mois de mai en direction de l’Albanie.

Le départ est prévu pour le 10 mai 2021, vous pourrez suivre mes aventures sur Instagram : @mazurrre_

Cargo bike packing from Bordeaux to Morocco

In 2019 our friend Teo decided to go off on a solo bike packing adventure but instead of taking his gravel bike he chose an Omnium cargo bike. We wanted to know why, so we decided to ask him a few questions about his trip.

What were your motivations to go on this trip? And why Morocco?

It’s pretty simple, two years ago I cycled from Bordeaux to Milan on a fixed gear in a little less than two weeks. Since then I wanted to try the experience again but going further and for longer; I had about 2 months free before my winter departure to Asia and I was looking for a destination with pleasant weather in October / November, a low cost of living and a beautiful landscape. I immediately thought of Morocco! In addition I had never set foot in the Maghreb so that motivated me even more.

We understand you sold your gravel bike, choosing instead to take your Omnium, what were your reasons for this decision?

Before my departure I had two bikes available but not enough cash for a two month trip, so I made the decision to part with my gravel bike. On the one hand, the road would have been simpler and less tiring on a gravel bike, but on the other hand the cargo bike allowed me to bring more stuff, more easily. I went with the idea of going on a holiday and having an adventure rather than for the sport.

You must really like Omniums. What is it about them that you like so much in regard to other bikes?

It’s just the perfect all-rounder: empty it’s almost like a regular bike, and as soon as you have something (or someone) to carry you don’t worry about it, just load up and away we go!

Did you take a lot of equipment with you? We suppose you must have had a lot of space, what else did you pick-up along the way?

No, not especially, I like to travel light and everything is thought out and optimised. The only thing that I changed along the way is my « electric autonomy » system, but more by obligation than by choice. I left with a large external battery but lost it along the way and switched to a solar panel (I preferred the first option).

What route did you take? And how did you navigate?

My first idea was to reach Portugal more or less following the St Jacques de Compostela, then to follow the coast to Algeciras, but a few days before departure I remembered that a friend was on Erasmus in Madrid, so change of plan. I crossed Spain through the center, Bilbao, Madrid, Cordoba, Malaga then Algeciras.

Once I arrived in Tangier after an hour and a half of crossing I continued along the Moroccan coast without a specific destination … Then one fine morning I received a message from two French friends « We are arriving in Ouarzazate in a few days, what are you doing?  » A few searches on Google (itinerary, places to visit, flight back to France) and then the answer a few minutes later « I am 400km away, I’ll come join you. » So I plotted the route in the evening for the next day using Google maps. I’ve tried several bike GPS applications but get lost each time.

Was it easy enough to find camping spots?

Overall yes. In Spain I only did wild camping, I just looked for a small park (often in advance on Google maps) and I pitched my tent at nightfall. Once in Morocco, I alternated between youth hostels, camping, wild camping, surf camps and even homestay accommodation; everyone had advised me against wild camping in the north but from Essaouira onwards I often camped on the beach or in the fields and I never had the slightest problem.

You must have had a lot of people looking at you funny and asking questions. Did you meet a lot of people thanks to your mode of transport?

Yes, a lot, especially in Morocco, no one had ever seen this kind of bike, it was an open door to lots of charming conversations with the locals. I also met a fair few cyclists on a trip, some going north, others going south, but the ritual was the same each time, stop and talk without a doubt!

How was the ferry crossing?

Very fast, it only lasted thirty minutes with the time difference. Here is a little anecdote about it though. I had booked a hostel for the night in Tangier but after arriving at the end of the afternoon I realised the port of Tangier was more than 50km from the city center. I had a bit of a panic when it was necessary to smash 50 unplanned kilometres before the sun went down. Cycling at night in Morocco is out of the question.

Was the cycling in Morocco very different to that of Europe?

Not really, you see a lot less bicycles, cars tend to brush against you a little more, and the police officers stop you more often just to talk, but it’s still cycling.

What was the hardest part? Did anything go wrong?

At the end of the trip physical fatigue and loneliness on the bike, but it’s only mental, it’s part of the game.

What was your favourite part?

The feeling every time you arrive in a new city or a new spot. The feeling of being 100% independent and having everything you need with you with you. The arrival in Ouarzazate was also incredible, on the one hand it marked the end of a long journey of personal fulfilment, and on the other I found my friends.

Did you ever regret taking the cargo bike instead of the gravel bike ?

Not at all, it even motivated me to leave again in May this time direction Albania.

The departure is scheduled for the 10th of May 2021 and you can follow my adventures on Instagram: @mazurrre_

Livraison à vélo éthique et économiquement responsable à Bordeaux

À l’époque où nous débutions en 2017, nous avons rencontré les Coursiers Bordelais qui venaient de démarrer leur coopérative de livraison à vélo. Cherchant à s’éloigner du modèle d’exploitation, de style Uber, qui offrait le seul moyen d’être payé pour faire du vélo à l’époque. Au début, ils utilisaient notre café comme bureau, mais nous ne les voyons plus autant qu’avant. Nous avons donc pensé que nous les rattraperions pour voir comment ils vont.

 

Musette early days coursiers bordealais
Coursiers Bordelais à l’époche en 2017

 

L’entreprise est-elle maintenant ce que vous imaginiez que ce serait au début ? 

L’un des objectifs lorsqu’on a lancé l’entreprise c’était de pouvoir gagner notre vie en faisant ce qu’on aime c’est-à-dire faire du vélo. Alors je pense que là dessus, c’est à peu près ce que l’on imaginait. On fait des grosses journées de vélo sous toutes les conditions et on rentre rincés le soir. Ca c’est un objectif atteint !

Une seconde chose que l’on voulait c’était de créer notre environnement de travail autour d’un groupe de potes où chacun a son mot à dire dans les décisions. On a réussi à créer ce petit groupe bien équilibré dans lequel chacun a son poids et cela donne des débats et des idées qui avancent toujours.

Après on s’est lancés très vite parce qu’on a pensé que c’était le moment ou jamais, sans vraiment se projeter. Alors l’entreprise est aujourd’hui ce qu’elle est sans qu’on s’en soit fait une vision précise au début. On a pris les choses les unes après les autres et ça donne cette petite aventure qui continue de grandir.

 

 

Comment les choses ont-elles changé depuis le début ? 

Quand on s’est lancés il a fallu qu’on se fasse connaître alors on a appelé beaucoup d’entreprises, on est allés voir des commerçants, des journalistes. C’est une partie qui est assez difficile et que je n’apprécie pas trop pour être honnête. Mais aujourd’hui, on est sollicités tous les jours par des nouvelles personnes, que ce soit des potentiels clients, des journalistes, des personnes qui aimeraient nous rejoindre ou même des gens qui cherchent des renseignements pour lancer le même genre d’initiative. C’est l’un des principaux changements pour moi, le fait que l’on soit devenus un élément visible du paysage bordelais.

Un autre élément c’est le fait d’avoir défini précisément ce que l’on sait faire. On était beaucoup dans le tâtonnement au début et cela prenais du temps de faire des ajustements sur notre offre, parfois en faisant des erreurs. Aujourd’hui, avec l’expérience, on a beaucoup plus l’occasion d’être créatifs, c’est plus épanouissant. Un peu comme vous à Musette quand vous avez lancé les Rando Mollo ou avec votre nouveau projet d’organiser des voyages à vélo.

 

Selon vous, quelle est la partie la plus gratifiante de la gestion des Coursiers Bordelais?

Il y a une chose dont on est tous fiers, venant, du monde des auto-entrepreneurs et des plateformes de livraisons de repas, le salariat nous paraissait incroyablement lointain et on a finalement réussi à l’atteindre, en plus dans des conditions qui nous semblent aujourd’hui satisfaisantes. Être arrivés à s’émanciper d’un système qui ne nous plaisait pas mais dont on était dépendants c’est vraiment gratifiant !

Et je triche un peu, il y à une deuxième chose, je ne sais pas si c’est le sentiment de toute l’équipe mais, en tout cas personnellement, la meilleure chose qui arrive c’est une journée bien chargée, ensoleillée, où toutes les  livraisons s’enchainent nickel. En tant que passionné de vélo, le fait d’avoir pris autant de plaisir à passer une journée comme ça et de se dire le soir que ce n’est pas arrivé par hasard, ça c’est super plaisant !

 

Quels ont été les premiers jalons majeurs pour vous? 

Je pense qu’une étape vraiment importante, ça été lors de nos premiers recrutements l’année dernière. On s’est salariés tous les trois évidemment avant d’embaucher donc on est restés l’équipe originelle pendant assez longtemps et on a toujours eu des automatismes ensemble et une vision commune. Le fait de s’ouvrir à des visions différentes a été une étape vraiment perturbante mais très enrichissante. On s’est réorganisés et on a appris assez vite à se gérer en une équipe dissonante et plus en un groupe restreint et aux idées communes. Passée cette étape d’adaptation, je pense que l’on avance plus vite et surtout plus intelligemment.

Une seconde étape je pense est celle que l’on vit actuellement avec la période du Covid-19. On a été obligés de se réorganiser très rapidement et cela nous pousse à trouver de nouvelles idées et à lancer de nouveaux projets. On a noué des liens forts avec des associations qui s’occupent notamment de l’urgence alimentaire pendant la période du confinement et on essaye d’orienter notre modèle vers quelque chose de plus vertueux.

 

Coursiers Bordelais Musette Bordeaux
Ler Coursiers Bordelais aujourd’hui 2020

 

Quel type de vélos utilisez-vous? 

On utilise deux types de vélo. Nos vélos classiques avec un sac à dos. Ce sont tous des gravels, comme ce que vous vendez à la boutique. C’est le top pour foncer en ville, ils sont costauds, confortables, supers réactifs et avec des gros freins à disque. En plus, on est tous des fans de voyage à vélo, et ce genre de monture est parfaite une fois quelques sacoches ajoutées ! Sinon on utilise aussi des vélos cargo pour transporter des charges plus lourdes, et on a même une remorque.

 

Nous comprenons que vous venez de commencer à livrer de la nourriture des restaurants aux gens chez eux. Cela vous met en concurrence directe avec vos ennemis jurés Uber et Deliveroo! Comment allez-vous faire les choses différemment? 

En effet, c’est un projet qui nous tenait à cœur depuis longtemps et on pense que c’est le moment de se lancer étant donnée la situation des restaurants actuellement. On a tous commencé le métier de coursier par la livraison de repas sur ces plateformes et on a tous eu des grosses déconvenues avec elles. L’objectif de base du projet était d’aller les attaquer sur leur terrain, mais on ne disposait pas des moyens techniques ni de l’expérience pour. Aujourd’hui notre situation a bien changé et on se sent assez costauds pour enfin se lancer !

Le service sera très proche de celui de nos concurrents. Il suffira de choisir son restaurant, puis son plat sur notre plateforme sur laquelle il est possible de payer directement puis nous nous occuperons de la livraison. La principale différence viendra du modèle social que nous adoptons. Non seulement nous et les futurs autres livreurs sont et seront tous salariés mais nous allons plus loin avec le modèle coopératif car chaque personne a le même poids dans les décisions et sera donc maître des conditions de travail. Ce modèle apporte à nos yeux la flexibilité tant vantée par les plateformes de livraison pour justifier l’exploitation des travailleurs indépendants.

 

coursiersbordelais.fr

Ethically, ecologically and economically resposible bicycle delivery in Bordeaux

Back in the day when we were just starting our in 2017 we met The Coursiers Bordelais who had just started their bicycle delivery co-operative. Setting out to get away from the exploitative, Uber style, business models that were offering the only way of getting paid to cycle at the time. In the early days they used our coffee shop as their office but we don’t see as much of them lately. So we thought we would catch up with them to see how they are doing.

Musette early days coursiers bordealais
The Coursiers Bordelais back in the day

Is the business now what you imagined it would be when starting out ?

One of the objectives when we started the business was to be able to earn a living by doing what we love, that is to say, cycling. So in that respect, that has turned out pretty much how we imagined. We do big days of cycling in all weather conditions and we come home exhausted in the evening.

A second thing we wanted was to create a work environment based around our group of friends where everyone has a say in the decisions. We managed to create this well-balanced little group in which everyone has weighs in and this gives rise to debates and ideas that keep us advancing.

We started very quickly without really planning because at that moment we thought it was now or never. So the company is what it is today without having had a clear vision at the beginning. We took things step by step which has put us on the path of a little adventure that continues to grow.

 

How have things changed since the beginning ?

When we first started we had to make ourselves known. We called a lot of companies, went to see traders and journalists. This was really tough and to be honest we did not enjoy it. But today, we are approached every day by new people, whether they are potential clients, journalists, people who would like to join us or even people who are looking for information to launch the same kind of initiative. This is one of the main changes for me, the fact that we have become a visible element of the Bordeaux landscape.

Another big change is that we have defined precisely what we can do. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning and it took time to make adjustments to our offer. Today, with experience, we have a lot more opportunity to be creative, it’s more fulfilling. A bit like you at Musette when you launched the Rando Mollo.

 

What do you find is the most rewarding part of running Coursiers Bordelais ?

There is one thing that we are all proud of, we finally managed to create our own jobs with satisfactory working conditions. Coming from a world where meal delivery platforms forced us to become auto-entrepreneurs, a proper job with workers rights seemed incredibly distant before starting out. Being able to free ourselves from a system that we didn’t like but which we were dependent upon is really gratifying!

There is a second thing. I do not know if the whole team agrees, but for me personally a busy, sunny day, where all deliveries follow one another is the best thing. As a cycling enthusiast, spending a day like this and telling yourself in the evening that it didn’t happen by chance, that’s super fun!

 

What were the first major milestones for you ?

I think that a really important step was hiring people for the first time last year. Opening up to different visions was testing but still a very rewarding step. We reorganized and we learned how to to manage ourselves in a mixed team.

A second stage, I think, is the one we are currently experiencing with the Covid-19 period. We had to reorganize very quickly and that pushed us to find new ideas and launch new projects. We forged strong links with associations that dealt in particular with the food emergency during the confinement period. Now we are trying to orient our model towards something more virtuous.

 

Coursiers Bordelais Musette Bordeaux
Coursiers Bordelais today 2020

 

What kind of bikes do you use ?

We use two types of bike. Our classic bikes that we use with a backpack. These are all gravel bikes. They are super for daily use in the city ; they are strong, comfortable, super responsive and with powerful disc brakes. In addition, we are all fans of cycle touring, and this kind of frame is perfect once a few panniers are added! Otherwise we also use cargo bikes to transport heavier loads, and we even have a trailer.

 

We understand you have just starting delivering food from restaurants to peoples homes. This puts you in direct competition to your arch enemies Uber and Deliveroo ! How are you going to be doing things differently ?

Indeed, this is a project that has been close to our heart for a long time and we think that it is time to get started given the current situation of restaurants. We all started the job of courier by delivering meals on the type of platforms you mentioned and we all ended up by being disappointed with them. The basic objective of our project was to attack them on their own turf, but when we first started we didn’t have the technical means or the experience to do so. Today our situation has changed a lot and we feel strong enough to finally get started!

The service will be very close to that of our competitors. You just have to choose your restaurant, then your dish on our platform on which it is possible to pay directly, then we will take care of the delivery. The main difference will come from the social model we adopt. Not only are we and future deliverers all contracted employees, but we will go further with the cooperative model because each person has the same weight in decisions and will therefore be in control of working conditions. In our view, this model brings the flexibility much praised by delivery platforms to justify the exploitation of the self-employed while giving the stability of a real job.

coursiersbordelais.fr

Livraisons de Kombucha artisanal en vélo cargo à Bordeaux

vélo cargo bordeaux

Derrière Mama Kombucha se cachent Lucille et Lydie, deux jeunes femmes dynamiques, qui fabriquent une boisson pétillante et riche en bienfaits, le Kombucha. Elles approvisionnent les commerces bordelais de leur fines bulles, depuis leur laboratoire installé 205 rue Judaïque.

Nous avons rencontré Chris et Rob alors que Mama Kombucha était en cours de création. L’ambiance chaleureuse et familière du café Musette, à tout de suite plu à Lucille. Elle a pris l’habitude de venir prendre son café et leur a fait découvrir le Kombucha.

Les livraisons se multipliant, nous avions besoin d’un moyen rapide et efficace pour approvisionner nos partenaires. Naturellement c’est à eux que nous nous sommes adressées pour trouver le vélo adéquat.

vélo cargo livraison bordeaux

Le vélo, qui ressemble à un Omnium mais a été construit à Bordeaux, nous permet de livrer rapidement et en toute sécurité nos partenaires du centre-ville. Il est équipé de roues robustes, et d’un plateau à l’avant, où nous avons installé une caisse solide aux couleurs de Mama Kombucha. La double béquille procure une bonne stabilité lors des chargements, qui parfois peuvent aller jusqu’à 30kg. Sa conduite est aisée et nécessite peu d’efforts grâce aux multiples vitesses et à une conception otpimisée.

Il semble imposant, mais est très facile à manier et permet de se faufiler entre tous les obstacles que nous trouvons en ville. Il interpelle souvent les autres cyclistes ou même les passants qui sous un air étonné déchiffrent les inscriptions sur la caisse avant.

Plusieurs fois par semaine, nous l’utilisons pour nos tournées de livraisons, récupérer les matières premières de nos fournisseurs locaux ou nous rendre sur nos évènements. C’est un mode de transport écologique, sympathique et qui nous fait gagner du temps !

Nous l’utilisons depuis presque 1 an maintenant, et nous en sommes ravies. Nous avons largement rentabilisé notre achat.

mama kombucha bordeaux

Quelque soit vos problématiques en matière de vélos, n’hésitez pas à pousser la porte du Café Musette ! Vous y trouverez toujours de bons conseils et du bon café (ou bien du bon kombucha), servi avec de délicieuses patisseries et un brin d’humour 🙂

Cargo bike deliveries of artisanal Kombucha in Bordeaux

vélo cargo bordeaux

Behind Mama Kombucha you’ll find Lucille and Lydie, two dynamic young women in Bordeaux, who make artisanal Kombucha: a sparkling drink rich in health benefits. They supply Bordeaux businesses with their bubbly goodness from their laboratory located at 205 rue Judaïque.

Lucille met Chris and Rob while Mama Kombucha was being created. She enjoyed the warm and friendly atmosphere of Musette and got into the habit of coming for coffee and eventually introduced them to Kombucha. As the Komucha business picked up and with deliveries increasing, she needed a quick and efficient way to supply her partners. Of course, she thought of Musette to find the right bike for the job.

vélo cargo livraison bordeaux

« The bike, which resembles an Omnium but was built in Bordeaux, allows us to quickly deliver to the cafes and restaurants we sell to around the city centre. It is equipped with robust wheels, and a front platform where we have installed a solid box in the colors of Mama Kombucha.

The double kickstand provides good stability even when heavily charged. Its handles well and requires little effort thanks to the multiple speeds. At first look the cargo bike seems imposing, but is very easy to handle and allows you to squeeze through all the obstacles that we find in town. It often draws the attention of other cyclists and passers-by who, which helps to promote our business.

mama kombucha bordeaux

Several times a week, we use it for our delivery rounds, picking up raw materials from our local suppliers or visiting our events. It’s an ecological, friendly and time-saving mode of transport! We’ve been using it for almost a year now, and we’re thrilled.

Whatever your bicycle problems, don’t hesitate to drop into Musette! You will always find good advice and good coffee (or kombucha), served with delicious pastries and a touch of humor 🙂 »

Ce que nous faisons avec vos chambres à air crevées

Quand on gère un atelier de vélos et qu’on répare donc d’innombrables vélos chaque mois, il y a inévitablement beaucoup de matériel à jeter. Nous essayons toujours de trouver le meilleur moyen pour éliminer ces matériaux. Pour les pièces métalliques par exemple, nous contactons régulièrement un ferrailleur qui prend l’acier et l’aluminium pour le transformer et le réutiliser.

Avec tous les pneus crevés que nous réparons, nous amassons également beaucoup de chambres à air usagées. Heureusement, nous avons une amie qui a trouvé une façon ingénieuse de donner une nouvelle vie à tout ce caoutchouc et latex. Elle va donc nous dire plus précisément ce qu’elle fait avec :

phia recycling inner tubes

Bonjour, je suis Phia Griffin et je suis la conceptrice et créatrice de LE POPPOP. Je passe à Musette de temps en temps quand ils ont un sac plein de chambres à air usagées, que j’utilise pour ma nouvelle entreprise : LE POPPOP – Les sacs à dos en caoutchouc recyclé.

Après être tombé amoureuse de Bordeaux en 2014, je savais que cette ville serait l’endroit où je vivrai pour le reste de ma vie. Aimant aussi voyager partout dans le monde et en utilisant de nombreux sacs à dos, j’ai eu l’idée de créer un sac à dos avec du caractère. Un sac à dos unique pour chaque personne mais surtout fabriqué en matériau recyclé et fait à Bordeaux.

Backpack - LE POPPOP - Bordeaux

Pourquoi LE POPPOP?

« Poppop » était mon grand-père avec qui je vivais quand j’étais enfant. Il était un père de famille très aimant et gentil. Tout ce qu’il voulait dans la vie, c’était de voir les gens sourire. Poppop a toujours acheté des produits de qualité et des décennies plus tard, il a refusé de les jeter même s’ils avaient des trous – du ruban adhésif était toujours à portée de main. Poppop était un pionnier du recyclage et il ne le savait même pas.

Depuis mes 14 ans, j’ai une passion pour la couture. Quand je dessinais des sacs à dos, j’ai fini par réaliser que si je voulais créer quelque chose de différent avec l’utilisation de caoutchouc recyclé, je devrais les fabriquer moi-même. J’ai donc un tout petit atelier dans mon appartement ici à Bordeaux et je confectionne chaque sac LE POPPOP à la main.

le poppop atelier bordeaux

Les sacs à dos végétaliens

Les sacs à dos ont un look classique et épuré avec le contraste des intérieurs modernes, leur donnant un aspect unique et original. Je ne voulais pas que quelqu’un regarde le sac à dos et pense qu’il a été recyclé. Je voulais qu’ils pensent « ce sac à dos est cool, j’en veux un ». À première vue, la plupart des gens pensent que c’est en cuir et quand je leur dis que c’est en caoutchouc recyclé et 100% vegan, ils sont vraiment surpris.

Recycled Backpack Black

Les sacs à dos LE POPPOP sont fabriqués à partir de chambres à air de vélo réutilisées et de polyester robuste, ce qui signifie que vos essentiels sont protégés contre la pluie de Bordeaux. J’utilise également des fermetures éclair YKK qui sont de la plus haute qualité et pour couronner le tout, ils sont fabriqués à partir de bouteilles en plastique recyclé. Ce qui distingue LE POPPOP, ce sont les intérieurs uniques qui changent de collection en collection.

Les POPPOPs sont faits pour durer toute une vie.

LE POPPOP Backpack vegan

J’espère que vous avez aimé notre Première Collection, nous sortirons très prochainement la nouvelle !