By Hywel Williams
As weather warnings came in for B.C., reporting hazards of snow flurries, fog and mysterious squaw lines, two French cyclists once again packed a saturated tent on to their bicycles and hit the road. Seeing no weather window to cross Rogers Pass heading for Revelstoke, a 230km detour on a 25,000km trip from Alaska to Patagonia, it was time to brave the elements once again.
On Weds., Oct. 18, Sophie Planque, an award-winning French journalist, and Jérémy Vaugeois, a former La Baguette employee turned explorer, rolled into downtown Revelstoke. A gruelling three days on the Trans-Canada Highway from Lake Louise saw them dipping their numb feet into stove boiled water at the side of the road. Just another anecdote to add to their intrepid tale, which already includes everything from roadside Lynx encounters to a remote Alaskan medical evacuation.
With winter well on its way, their original route to follow the continental divide south is currently being reconsidered, and what better place to rest and recuperate than with old and new friends in Revelstoke.
“This is a great stop for us on our way down the Columbia River to Portland and south. It’s actually funny how Revy gathers my friends from many previous travels around the world. To catch up with them here, deep in the Selkirks, after all the ways traversed is the nicest thing,” said Vaugeois. “Meeting people is definitely one of the main essence to our trip and I’m sure that when it’s topped with great Baguette and cheese potluck, there’s nothing we could dream better after having only dehydrated food and granolas.”
This two-year journey across sixteen countries is a culmination of their experiences and dreams for travel, but this is not a selfish dive into adventure. With a goal to transmit a message of exploration of mind, body and world to the next generation, Planque and Vaugeois have teamed up with educators in France to bring their journey to more than 3,500 students from ages seven to 17.
“We wanted our journey to be useful. After talking with some teacher friends, we understood how such a project could be used at school,” said Planque. “Right now, kids back in France and Switzerland can learn geography, history, mathematics and much more with us. If there is one thing we would like them to learn from us, it is to follow their dreams. The best reward we could wish for.”
On top of a well-earned rest they will continue their dialect with schools and communities both in Revelstoke and in France. Do not be surprised if you see them around town, they are always more than happy to speak about their journey.