Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope and Arianna Casiraghi have created a giant GPS bike to raise awareness about climate change. Photo / Included
A couple cycled 7237 kilometers across seven European countries to create a GPS route in the shape of a bike to encourage people to ditch their cars and fight climate change.
As travelers seek to travel more sustainably, cycling has become a popular way to see a city. Although few would go so far as to cycle 7237 kilometers across Europe and draw a giant GPS bike.
However, after facing the threat of the climate emergency, UK-based Arianna Casiraghi and her husband Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope did just that.
The Italian-British couple first attempted to ‘haul’ a 965km-wide bike across the continent in 2019.
The aim is to “raise awareness of the extent of climate change and persuade people to use bicycles instead of cars for shorter journeys,” they said Guardian.
However, their mission was the opposite of a short journey, spanning three years and two failed attempts.
After leaving their jobs and starting the ride in 2019, Casiraghi soon suffered a knee injury that halted the journey. They returned in November of that year, but the cold and rain made camping miserable, so they stopped again.
The two refused to give up their bike-shaped route, which had required a tremendous amount of planning.
They planned to resume sailing in March 2020. We all know what happened next.
Despite several false starts, Casiraghi said that finishing what they had started was partly for a sense of accomplishment and partly an intention not to let down the people who had kept their mission in sight.
After all, the journey comprised 131 cycling days.
Including the days off, this was around four months.
Most of the time, the couple went camping with the occasional hotel or Airbnb stay.
On August 15, the couple shared the completed GPS image on their Instagram account, signaling the end of their trip.
“We rode 7237km across 7 countries to draw our giant bike and hopefully encourage one or two people to use their bike instead of their car,” they wrote.
You, me and puppy make three
As if that feat wasn’t impressive enough, the couple did it too with their Italian water dog, Zola, in tow.
By custom-manufacturing the bikes, Rayneau-Kirkhope was able to build a cargo hold for Zola to sit in when not running alongside them.
“We tried to ride small roads or off-road whenever possible so that Zola could walk a bit,” he said.
As simple as it may seem at first glance, creating the GPS image was a surprisingly complex task, the couple said. During the initial route design, a segment had to cross Charles de Gaulle Airport directly.
Aside from a few short hops between campsites and an inevitable detour around the Rhine, the couple kept their GPS on the entire time.
The result was three world records for largest GPS drawing, largest picture drawn of bike, and largest bike ever drawn.
Cycling through ups and downs
Understandably, the trip included several highlights and lowlights.
Looking back on the trip, the duo said Casiraghi’s knee injury was “really quite demoralizing”.
“We had to stop traveling to rest and engage deeply
Physiotherapy sessions, which unfortunately caused our project to be delayed,” they said.
However, those darker moments were overshadowed by people’s reactions to their journey.
“The highlight of the trip was the incredible support we received from
people along the street,” they said.
“Without them, cycling through the cold and rainy winter months on our tight budget simply would not have been possible.”
Some people met her through warmshowers.org, an online community that supports cycle tourism, while others were just met along the way.
“We’re still amazed at how open-minded and selfless people can be.”
As for what’s next, the couple said they were looking forward to less meticulously planned trips.
“Now we’re going home and resting before going on another bike ride,” they said.
“No drawing, just stepping in whatever direction we fucking please!”