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Belgian wins a race between France and China on a solar bike

Belgian wins a race between France and China on a solar bike

A Belgian traveled 12,000 km on a solar bike between Lyon, France, and Canton, in southern China, where on Friday he was proclaimed winner of the “Sun Trip”, a race that follows the Silk Road and aimed at promoting the renewable energy.

In this first edition of the unusual competition, 39 adventurers participated who left Lyon (east) in mid-June to reach Canton in less than 100 days, without an imposed itinerary or help, only thanks to a solar bike.

Raf van Hulle, a 43-year-old Belgian architect, was the first to cross the finish line, completing the journey in less than 45 days, averaging about 270 km per day.

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“I am very happy to have won, but also to have not damaged my bike, which is very expensive,” Van Hulle explained to AFP.

His means of transport, which he built himself and uses daily, has a solar panel in front and another on a trailer.

The hardest thing for him was crossing 3,000 km of desert steppes in Kazakhstan and then the Gobi desert, pedaling in temperatures of over 40 ° C to save battery life.

His itinerary, through Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China, passed further north on the ancient Silk Road, which crossed Turkey, Syria, Iran and Uzbekistan.

“The challenge of a man crossing Euroasia became a reality in less than 50 days thanks to solar panels,” congratulated Florian Bailly, founder of the “Sun Trip” race.

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The fact of arriving in China is not by chance. The Asian giant is the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases and is also the country that invests the most in solar energy.

Taking into account those who have dropped out, about thirty participants are still in the race, among them Françoise Denel, the dean of the event with almost 70 years and who suffers from neuropathy. AFP

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