Long-term projects of this kind require meticulous preparation and generally quite long. For my part, the decision to leave was taken in mid-October, this preparation was dense. It will (maybe) stop the day I get on the saddle.
First, estimating roughly the distance and height difference should give an idea of the theoretical feasability of a cycling trip. This part is one of the funniest during the preparation. Indeed, the journey starts here.
At the same time, establishing a budget, listing vaccines and visa procedures, and informing about all the countries, is also very time-consuming and somewhat less interesting. Insurance will be a good headache for those who want to paraglide out of France during stays of more than three months.
The last type of preparation is psychological. For oneself, one’s family and one’s friends. Reassuring, explaining, detailling…
A lot of information and experiences are fortunately available on the Internet. It is even quite easy to exchange with these modern adventurers who would have travelled the same trails.
My journey is determined by several “limiting” factors:
- sailing crossings (these also impose temporal constraints)
- the urge to go through the mountain
- some key destinations
From there, the itinerary is more or less defined! But this route remains a “forecast” itinerary and will certainly be led to change according to the encounters and the chances.
Bank account, insurance, telephone package, vaccination booklet… The list of pre-departure administrative tasks is long to not end! And yet, it will be necessary to close all unnecessary accounts, to change to more appropriate operators, to reconnect with social security (known for its effectiveness). Fortunately, I do not own a car or a House, which lightens a little this famous list.
Two cards (one Visa and one MasterCard) on two different accounts can be useful, so this is the option I prefer. The lucky winners are Monabanq and Czam, two online banks.
Telephony in France is the simplest administrative approach! Changing operators requires an SMS and a few clicks. Free mobile is a great option for those who travel outside Europe for two reasons:
- Good coverage (depending on the country where you are going)
- Possibility to change the package quite easily (in countries not covered, the discount to a package to €2 possible to take a local map)
Insurance will be the ones that have given me the most trouble, especially for paragliding and mountain activities. The “accident”/health insurance is, it, easier to choose among the different options. In my case, I chose ACS for health, a license FFCAM (French Federation of Alpine and mountain clubs-formerly CAF) with an international option and I am always assured to “CAF German”, the DAV (Deutsche Alpenverein). In any event, only the first two are necessary to cover health, repatriation and accidents in the mountains (many activities covered by the FFCAM including paragliding). In addition to this, an international pilot proficiency identification (IPPI) card allows to fly abroad but requires a national license FFVL (French Federation of free flight) to be ordered (I have not searched for tricks but it must be possible to avoid paying it by negotiating with the FFVL).
Vaccines will depend primarily on the intended travel mode and selected destinations. Personally I was entitled to Japanese encephalitis (two injections), rabies (three injections), typhus (one injection) and yellow fever (an injection also). They still cost quite expensive but some mutuals take care of them (it seems).
The visas themselves will not really be a problem as a French national. Most are delivered “on-arrival” when they are needed. But some countries are asking to justify a return ticket (e.g. Brazil and China, today at least-01.2019).
Tourdumondiste.com is a fairly well-informed site for these questions in General.
Cycling limits the equipment that must be chosen finely. The weight being the main enemy to fight in the climbs, each object must justify its usefulness during the voyage; and will, if necessary, be returned to France!
The complete list of materials and justifications are available on the following page.