My departure for the round-the-world bike trip

Saddle up for adventure: the start of a planetary journey on two wheels

For ages, this idea had been nagging at the back of my mind: to set off on the roads of the globe, riding my two-wheeled steed to embrace adventure. But each time, fate seemed to get the better of me, pushing this daydream further and further into the future. The years have passed, and yet that elusive dream has never stopped haunting me.

Last year, I set myself a major challenge: to ride the length and breadth of France, to test my resistance to effort and gauge my ability to endure days, even weeks, spent pedalling thousands of kilometres. I set off from Font-Romeu with the ambition of covering the four corners of France, from the tip of Corsen in Brittany to the eastern and southern edges of the country, before returning to the starting point, where it all began.

This journey had awakened a certainty in me: I was ready to brave even greater distances. After almost 5,000 kilometres, the desire to return home had evaporated. Riding my bike, I tasted an intoxicating freedom and an unfettered happiness that drove me to continue the adventure. Unfortunately, I had to return to deal with the administrative hassles and renew a lease that was due to expire on 30 June.

The summer stretched on, and my impatience grew. Unable to stay put, I relentlessly paced the mountains of Cerdagne and Capcir, falling asleep under a starry sky at the top of the peaks. My bike, my faithful companion, accompanied me on my escapades, lightening its saddlebags and bringing me back to the fold every evening. Already, a new horizon was taking shape: a crossing of the Pyrenees to end the summer.

On 30 August, I left Font-Romeu for Argelès-sur-Mer, covering 130 km in a single day. The next day, from Argelès, I set off on the route des cols towards Hendaye, braving 870 km and more than 22,000 metres of ascent. My bike, weighed down by 60 kg, allowed me to test my resistance to such changes in altitude.

After three weeks of effort, I had conquered 23 passes in the Pyrenees before reaching Hendaye. The return journey to Font-Romeu was made on a train, leaving behind the summits and the challenges they represented.

The days of October were dwindling, while winter, like a sleeping giant, was slowly waking up. As for my mind, it was already wandering towards a new start on my bike, a daring trip around the world. Alas, there was one major obstacle in front of me: finances. My budget was barely enough to cover my rent and living expenses, so how could I find the resources to make my dream come true?

I was toying with the idea of setting off on my fortieth birthday, 12 January, but the closer I got to the deadline, the more insurmountable the undertaking seemed. So much so, that in December, I finally gave up with a heavy heart.

However, far from giving up, I drew up a plan for the coming year: to create an online source of income that could, modestly but surely, accompany and support my aspiration for adventure. The idea wasn't so much to strike it rich, but to ensure a certain peace of mind, allowing me to devote myself fully to this dream journey.

As December drew to a close, a resolution came over me: to give up the idea of working to save money and to set off whatever the cost, even if I didn't have a penny to my name. So I set about making an inventory of the equipment I would need to face the four seasons and all the weather conditions for several years.

Lacking the money for such purchases, I resigned myself to giving up some of my most precious possessions to cover the expenses. From then on, nothing could stop me from leaving on 12 January. Events followed in rapid succession: the sale of my personal possessions, the purchase of equipment and the moving of my remaining belongings. In my heart, the time had finally come for me to leave.

The fateful date of departure was approaching, and I wondered whether my choice to cycle around the world was madness or divine inspiration. Whatever the case, there was no turning back now: in the space of a few days, I'd committed too much to making this crazy dream a reality. January 12, my fortieth birthday, struck, and I still wasn't ready. Some equipment was still missing, awaiting delivery.

I had a feeling it was only a matter of days, but I still had my doubts about leaving. Then, on 18 January, everything changed. That morning I'd cleaned the little studio I'd rented. At 2pm, my heart pounding, I finally set off on my round-the-world bike trip, determined to face the unknown and embrace adventure.