how to guide

how to guide
You are seriously considering taking part in or have submitted an application for The Sun Trip 2015 Edition rally. Congratulations!
This document will help you understand how to get organized to embark on this adventure
This document includes some advice from the pioneers of Sun Trip 2013.
Conducted by Anick-Marie Bouchard,
General coordinator - Sun Trip 2015
with the participation of : Florian bailly, Guillaume Devot, Sylvain machefert, lionel candille, cedric vinatier, elvira askarova, jean cave, dirck huyghe, raf van hulle, stephane
Briel, stephane bertrand, tom papay, especially.
General Information
The 2015 Edition will start in Milan in Italy, and will reach destination in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The 2015 Edition will start early June (exact date to be confirmed).
As with the 2013 edition, a principle of freedom of route will prevail in this Sun Trip 2015. Riding without assistance, and
always followed by a GPS tracking system, adventurers will be free to determine the countries they wish to cross and the
roads or tracks they wish to ride. Nevertheless, the final part forces them through mandatory stop-overs and large portions
of unpaved steppe tracks (700-1000 km).
IMPORTANT : The geopolitical situation of Ukraine is uncertain at the time of writing. The route may be adjusted considering the political stability and the status of borders, aiming for the safety of all participants. We will keep you posted and
update our route by the end of 2014, so you can plan your visas.
In addition to being an amazing adventure by itself, The Sun Trip offers two categories of optional challenges:
- Solar Race : this challenge will reward the participant or the duo who gets to Almaty the fastest using only solar (and leg!)
- Solar Adventure Sun Tripper : awarded by a jury composed by former participants and other notable people, this challenge will reward the adventurers that will best embody the values and spirit of the Sun Trip, living a complete adventure.
- Public Choice Award : just as in the first edition, the public will vote for their favorites through the official Sun Trip 2015
Deadlines 2014-2015
Until September 2014
Thinking through - Participating in the Sun Trip will require a great deal of preparation and two to three months fully free
from all constraints. Think about your work, your family, your studies, the return to normal life, etc. Leaving for such a long period
isn’t trivial. Make your intention known and make sure to get support from your loved ones!
Warn everybody several months ahead of departure. I asked two of my colleagues to take care of my clients (I'm an independent pedicure). 2 months after my return, I got back more than half of them.
- Elvira, 2013 participant
I informed my employer one year before the departure, to get his “green light” and a financial partnership. It took my team several
months to get ready and plan major projects for when I’m back. In the end, it was very beneficial for my work, I could take a break
without worrying.
- Sylvain, 2013 participant
Communication - We provide you with a forum ( where you can interact with fellow future
participants, but also ask questions to the organization. Make sure you understand how it works and know where to look for
resources. The signup process may be a bit difficult as you have to register in French, and then change the language of the forum
in the "Profile" "Preferences" section tab. There is a step-by-step tutorial to help you sign up and switch languages here:
There is no "official language" for the Sun Trip. You may communicate in the language of your choice. The organization will primarily post in English or French. When you are selected, you will be allowed on the participants’ forums. We will also ask that you keep
us informed of your choices, your challenges... In short, we’ll want to know how your preparation progresses, so that we can support you more effectively!
Decisions - Your motivations, goals, strengths and weaknesses will greatly influence your choices in this adventure. The registra-
tion form allows you to assess your situation and will help you choose a suitable solar e-bike. Refer to it as often as needed.
In my opinion, an important part of the Sun Trip adventure is to organize everything in advance and get ready for the start... and do everything on your own [...] If everything is prepared before by other people, it is not the same challenge.
- Dirk, 2013 participant
Technique - It is your responsibility to design and build (or have built) a solar e-bike. Your technical choices must be taken accor-
ding to the reality of the ground and are not to be taken lightly. Get in touch with cycling/solar energies professionals. A poorly designed solar e-bike can quickly turn unusable. It is also imperative that you follow the Technical Regulations, to be released before
Summer 2014 by the organization.
Absolutely define early what type of bike you want, what power, what engine, how many panels you will be bringing… Then comes financing, sponsors, the itinerary, the time you get off work from your employer and the possibility of reintegrating your position after.
- Jean, 2013 participant
Finances -
Develop a financial plan. Most first edition participants
estimated their total participation budget between € 10,000 and €
12,000 . Registration fees are € 300 for this second edition, by way of
participation for logistics costs, the GPS tag and the return of the
bikes). Above all, it’s the solar bike and the travel expenses that make
up most of the budget. All participants can seek private sponsors financial and/or technical.
Start your preparation as early as possible [...] it’s very hard to find sponsors when you don’t know many people. So I worked as much as I
could and spared on everything I can, everyday (clothes, food, water, electricity, heating….) [...] In the France Tandem Club, a friend sold
our kilometers for € 0,15 which got us € 800 !!!
- Elvira, 2013 participant
Administration - If you do not have a passport valid until at least February 2016, you must get one now. Is it in good condi-
tion? Will it have enough blank pages to accommodate visas and stamps? A participant without a valid passport (including visas)
will not be allowed to start this second edition.
Itinéraire - Take a moment now to consider different routes, taking in account the challenges of each one (mountains, desert
track, borders). It is your responsibility to obtain the required visas to enter the country. They must be all ready before departure,
and they are made from date to date. The organization will help you to obtain a Kazakh visa, allowing the realization of the proposed framework route.
New participants can also visit all the websites of previous edition - they will find a lot of information and inspiration.
- Dirk, 2013 participant
September to December 2014
Confirming your registration - At this point. all participants must confirm their participation in the Sun Trip 2015. You’ll
need to sign and return a convention laying the foundation for the relationship between the organization and you, consent for participation under your own responsibility and conditions. This agreement will also grant us the right to use your image for communication (website, press, video, etc.). Registration fees need to be paid (€ 300 for a solo participant , € 450 for a duo).
Design - The general shape of your bike should be decided, and you will be getting and assembling the main parts (bicycle frame,
engine, battery, solar panels).
For my part, I started physical training a year in advance. If you are not very fit, enroll in a gym. Don’t neglect the physical aspects of the
adventure. It’s a very hard test. If you want to perform, your fitness will influence your mind.
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Health and training -
Get your vaccines up-to-date, see a doctor for a medical exam, and consider a cardiological examination (effort electrocardiogram). It’s time to know yourself as precisely as possible, and work on your weaknesses. Meet with a kinesiologist or a training professional and with a dietician, if necessary. Before departure, you must provide us with a medical certificate for
fitness to endurance sport or an equivalent. More information will be provided at that time.
Administrative - Clarify your visa requirements, the procedures and expected delays. Make a list of all documents needed and
start obtaining them. Ask questions to the organization and consider using the services of a company specialized in visa obtention.
Communication - All participants must communicate about their adventure, including participants of the solar race. Start thin-
king about your communication strategy and choose your equipment accordingly. We also ask that you have something to take
pictures with and easily transfer them to the Internet. For convenience, you may want to bring a Netbook or at least a tablet or a good
smartphone. Wi-Fi Internet connections are common in those areas of the world, and these tools will make communicating and sharing
For communication I used Facebook for a GSM SmartPhone. My main problem was that I did not master the use of a computer and Internet.
- Elvira, 2013 participant
Test your computer, phone or tablet under the same conditions that you will travel, become familiar with softwares/apps that will help you
crop photos, edit videos, publish and embed your medias on the blog and on social networks. I started a year before, I was just starting to use
- Sylvain, 2013 participant
Many media can be considered for communication : the official SunTrip blog, a personal blog already focused on adventure, a page or
a public profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, VK, Linkedin, Flickr, etc. Send us the links to the
accounts you will be using to communicate during the adventure, so that we can share through our pages and our website. You will also
complete a profile on the official website, to introduce you to the public.
January to March 2015
Report progress - Time for a short video conference with the organization. How ready are you now? Take this opportunity to
ask questions and let us know your specific needs in terms of logistics, medical, technical, communication, etc.
Administration - Inquire for insurance covering repatriation and meets the criteria for your visa requirements, if applicable. For
most participants, the process of obtaining visas will begin at this stage.
For the russian visa - the easiest is to go through a specialized firm. For Russia, you can get the invitation (voucher , confirmation of booking accommodation) for free on Russie Autrement ( - in French) in exchange for a mention on a website.
- Elvira, 2013 participant
Six months in advance, I started the visa process. It worked well with Action Visas.
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Bike design- Your solar bicycle should be functional and ready for a road test. Your main technical choices must be reported to the
Technical Director for pre-inspection via your Technical Logbook. Final adjustments should be made in accordance with the final technical regulations.
Prepare as for running the Paris-Dakar. A few months before, test yourself in similar conditions than the first few days of the Sun Trip [...] if
people can manage themselves, sleep where and how they want, and write a small article with a picture or a short film for these first few
- Tom, 2013 participant
Have your bike in the final stages of building about six months before, so you can test it and make changes if required, it will prevent you
from having big problems later. Contact good professionals, who have the right equipment [ ... ] provide a few (essential) spare parts and
don’t take your home with you in your luggage.
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Transport - Plan your trip to the departure line in Milan. We should be able to find you a place to stay as a group and will keep you
posted about it. In all cases, you will have to be on site 2 or 3 days before departure day.
If possible, note that some former participants cycled with their solar bike to the departure line, so that they could organize a small
event in their community and test their travelling organization. Some even cycled together as a pack on their route !
Training - Intensify your endurance training, paying special attention to your knees and back, more prone to injuries in such a trip.
Try to bike in a variety of conditions (weather, elevation) or on stationary bike, if needed.
Equipment - Make a checklist of required and optional equipment for camping, food, clothing and bicycle accessories.
I made a checklist of the things that I take with me on a big bike-trip, it’s in Dutch, but it can give some people a lot of inspiration. Sometimes I am present on travel fairs where I give some advice... Alot of people are very happy to get that checklist! People can download it via
my site
There you can also see photo's of my luggage divide in the different biking-bags :
- Dirk, 2013 participant
Finances - Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses on the road, as well as last minute or unforeseen purchases,
breakdowns or emergency return. We recommend that you have € 2000-4000 available at the time of departure. Meet with your
banker and let him know about the trip. Check the validity of your credit cards and negotiate low international rates if you can.
Communication - Starting early 2015, you will have a dedicated space available on the rally website ( We
encourage you to use it to tell your stories and publish your pictures regularly showing your preparation but also during the adventure
(1-7 times per week), especially if you’re taking part in the Solar Adventurer challenge.
Telephone and Internet - You must be minimally equipped with a cellphone working in the whole area (European or quad
band). You won’t be able to leave without a phone - we need to be able to reach you in case of emergency. Check with your phone provider if there is a proper international package available, and consider purchasing prepaid SIM when you leave the European Union.
Note that Wi-Fi connections are relatively easy to find until Russia and Kazakhstan, where 3G SIM card/modem will give you to access
the Internet from anywhere, usually in slow speed (except in cities) . The organization will try to help you with this part. Also, get familiar with Skype and create an account, if necessary.
April to June 2015
Technology - Plan long distance tests with your bike. Finalize its design, so that it’s ready to travel for long distances (luggage
and accessories). The pre-inspection is scheduled for April. You must fill out the Technical Logbook and give it to the Technical Director
who will ask you for clarification if necessary. Another inspection will be carried on-site a few days before departure.
I would say that 3 months in advance, you should have both your bike and your body ready. You should only be needing small equipment
(bottles, sleeping bag, cooking gear ... ), the bulk of the work should be done with.
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Administration and medical - Very Important! Send us copies of your passport, visas, insurance policy number and
medical certificates by email. Finalize your vaccinations and your first aid kit.
Training - Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Be careful with knees! Do not hesitate see a sports medicine specialist. Use orthopedic or compression bandages as necessary.
Logistics - Finalize banking formalities and logistics regarding your family, your work and your home. Check with your next of kins
what you wish to do in case of repatriation, technical breakdowns or severed communications. Enjoy your moments with them before
the adventure starts!
During the Adventure
All participants are free to sleep and eat as they please, provided that they take adequate camping gear with them.
For food, eat local (rice, pasta), but avoid sauce dishes that look strange...
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Participants will be equipped with a real time GPS tracking system provided by the organization.
For safety reasons, it will be forbidden to ride at night, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. (local time).
All adventurers are free to contact each other (by email, Skype, forum or by phone) to discuss their experiences and help each other.
I had very good encounters with other participants. Its a pity that we didn’t get to spend more time with them and know them better ! [...] I
was lucky enough to meet up with two participants on the road, by chance - it was great!
- Elvira, 2013 participant
Like the great ocean races, participants have a duty to assist another adventurer in distress near them. The organization can therefore
impose a detour for a participant to assist another.
More broadly, the spirit of solidarity among participants is one of the values of the adventure. It is a mindset that must be shared by everyone. The Sun Trip is a unique human experience before being an individual adventure.
Do not hesitate to ask for help to anyone that you cross along the way, if needed, and avoid those who do not inspire trust, even if in the end
you’re wrong about them.
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Vehicles mandated by the organization should be following participants for short stretches of time. Their primary goal is communication (gathering images, interviews, everyday stories of the adventurers), but in case of a major problem, they shall also assist participants.
In each country potentially crossed by adventurers, the organization will define contacts to alert in case of emergency (accident, repatriation, etc.).
Beyond filming crew and following cars operating on the road, an organization representative will always reachable by phone.
I would not change anything in what happened during my trip, I had so much fun. For my motivation, it is very simple, you just have to tell
yourself that you are living something extraordinary and that anyway, you don’t have another choice than going ahead.
- Stéphane B., 2013 participant
Coming back
After the arrival, adventurers can choose to continue their journey or return home cycling. Doing so would purely be a personal project, lived outside the framework provided by The Sun Trip’s organization.
We will be working during 2014 on a partnership providing a housing solution at the arrival and the bulk return of bikes to Europe
(by truck) facilitated diplomatically, for those who wish.
This was an overview of the information that we can give to you so far.
More broadly, keep in mind that The Sun Trip is organized in a pioneering spirit, without a big organizational structure like that of the
Paris-Dakar or the Vendée-Globe. However, it is with enthusiasm and passion that we will do our best to ensure that you have a pleasant and memorable participation. Of course, your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Thank you for your confidence.
the Sun Trip Team 2015