Aurélien took an 11-month sabbatical to fulfill an old dream. Engineer in civil engineering and hydraulics in Limoges, descendant of a dynasty of peasants from the Pays de la Loire, passionate about horses, he took the plunge by deciding to go to Mongolia by bike.
“The triggering phenomena were the confinements and the death of my father, who died at 69 on the first day of confinement. I realized that I would retire at 67. I said to myself that at 44, the adult that I have become must think seriously about keeping the promise he made to himself when he was 17 years old. »
“I crossed the Anatolian plateau, taking one of the silk roads”
Aurélien made his decision during the second confinement. As a good scientist, he calculated everything: the driving times, the evolution of the temperatures according to the reliefs and the seasons. Growing tension between Russia and Ukraine led him to change his itinerary. On the map of the world displayed in his living room, he moved the small straight string that crossed Europe, giving up rallying the Black Sea and Ukraine.
“I left Solignac on February 22. The new route would take me to Iran (Tehran) via Italy, Greece, Meteora, Thessaloniki, Alexandropolia, Istanbul, Samsun, Trabzon, and Rizé. I then crossed the Anatolian plateau, taking one of the silk roads. I rode at 1,500 m altitude for a month. »
Aurélien pauses for a moment and resumes his story, he sees the landscapes crossed, but also the faces and smiles that have marked his epic. What he retains from his trip is his inner enrichment and the discovery of similarities between the civilizations encountered.
“The gentle and long effort generated by cycling leads to meditation, to openness to others and to oneself. »
Receive our leisure newsletter by email and find ideas for outings and activities in your region.
“The gentle and long effort generated by cycling leads to meditation, to openness to others and to oneself. What was behind this little inner voice that encouraged me to travel? I’m glad I listened to her, I felt like I belonged the whole time. »
His days were punctuated by stages of around 80 km followed by bivouacs. “I took a light tent, a mattress, a gas and petrol stove. One day, while I was cycling on the Marmara coast (Turkey), I met a jogger who invited me to dine and sleep at his place. His wife welcomed me with open arms. I played the accordion, we laughed, we sang. The next day he accompanied me to the seaside, we swam together. Then he introduced me to the Turkish baths. When I arrived in Iran, I had to build up a solid supply of cash, there, the bank card is not in force. The change is done from hand to hand, in the street. Street vendors called out to me, asked me where I came from and where I was going. They offered me fruit, which helped me a lot, because I was so happy on my bike that I pedaled without listening to my body, risking hypoglycemia. »Aurélien has prepared his trip meticulously, anticipating the evolution of the weather and the seasons.
According to Aurélien, cycling is an extraordinary passport, it attracts sympathy and goodwill and facilitates accommodation thanks to “Warmshower”, the global network of cyclists which hosts cyclists.
And did Aurélien’s bike hold up well on this 8-month journey of more than 10,000 km? “Very good”, assures its owner. “All in all, I used a chain. No breakage, five punctures including only one on the front tire on my return, arriving in Blond (Haute-Vienne)”. He bursts out laughing. “No fall. Oh yes ! One at a standstill. Another burst of laughter.
The strength of women
What books did he take? “Only one, The strength of women by Denis Mukwege. After reading it, I gave it to a Breton I met in Turkey. He brought it back to France. This book resonates singularly with current events in Ukraine and the outrages endured by women there. »
He sighs, smiling: “It’s crazy what this trip has brought me. I think of all those people who were so benevolent, so generous, who told me that they loved me, whereas in our families, it is difficult to express it. Many landscapes and sunsets stand out in my memory, but what I remember is the love I received throughout this journey. I did not dream it, the text messages that I receive and to which I respond attest to it…”
Aurélien’s trip in a few figures
265. The number of days of his journey.
10.431. The distance in kilometers.
71.159. The elevation gain in meters.
69.934. The negative elevation in meters.
– 26 m. Minimum altitude.
3.052 m. The maximum altitude reached.
We would love to say thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding content
Unusual – Aurélien Brunet linked Solignac to Tehran by bike, a journey of more than 10,000 kilometers
Take a look at our social media profiles and also other pages related to themhttps://nimblespirit.com/related-pages/