Why did you choose a tour from Japan back home to France?
We choose to visit Taiwan in February 2018 first, then Japan and Korea by bicycle. Our idea was to go to China and South East Asia then but we could not obtain a visa for China in South Korea, so we had to imagine a something else and decided to go back home to France via Kazakhstan and the Silk Road.
Can you describe the route a little bit?
From the Pacific Ocean to the North Sea, through the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. We spent one month in Taiwan which is a very welcoming country, especially for cyclists. The police officers are always ready to help the cyclists and even sometimes to give them hospitality. We stayed for 2 months in Japan, and cycled from south to Osaka, making the tour of Shikoku Island and passing through Hiroshima. It is very easy to camp anywhere there, even in the public gardens.
Then we did a cycle path across South Korea which is 900 km long. We followed it from south to north. The so many Korean cyclists we met were so kind to us. We took the plane to Almaty, Kazakhstan and went to Kyrgyzstan through marvelous landscapes and along the Issik-Kul lake, the second highest lake in the world after the Titicaca lake. We left our bicycles in Kazakhstan for two months in order to visit Uzbekistan Silk Road towns more quietly and also to draw sketches as we like.
Later we took the train which took one day and two nights to cross the Kazakh desert and join the Caspian sea that we crossed by cargo boat. We spent one week in Azerbaijan and arrived in Iran. We cycled to Tabriz (300 km) and there left our bicycles again to visit the major towns more easily by bus and train.
We spent nearly 4 months in Turkey following all the Mediterranean coast where there are such marvelous antique sites to visit. A small detour by Cyprus and Greek islands followed and we took the way to the Dardanelles and Bulgaria where we joined the Danube river that we followed until Bratislava. And that is the way we arrived in Uhersky Brod after about 12 000 km and 14 months of traveling.
We are going back to France now through Germany following the Elbe river, Nederlands and Belgium. It will make us cross at least 19 countries
Which was your previous long-distance touring expedition?
Our first long-distance travel by bike was the tour of Irland in 1979. But we also made 2 times Guangzhou – Singapore (about 6000 km) by different routes in 2009 and 2011 and then Argentina and Chile for 5 months in 2013. But, traveling for nearly 7 years non-stop now, travel is no longer an expedition, but more a way of life.
Do you have any other plans for the future?
South America from Bolivia to Colombia from November 2019 to… ?
Why did you exchange your upright bikes for recumbents?
We met Fred and Ophelie on their Azub 5 on the Carretera Austral first and were very interested. Then we had some contacts with the Cyclomigrateurs who ride the AZUB 5 as well and it seemed to us very much comfortable. Our last travel on upright bikes gave such pain with the saddles that we came in Uhersky Brod to try the Azub SIX in July 2017.
Can you compare them on long distance tours? Advantages and disadvantages.
The first positive thing is that we have never had any troubles with our bottom, never with our hands and the cervicals. We are really less tired at the end of a long cycling day. But the disadvantage is that they are heavy and not so easy to handle and move in the city. It is also a little bit harder to climb and that is why we changed cassette for one 11×40.
One more inconvenient is that so many people want to take pictures of us and our bikes. It is good for Azub publicity but tiring for us sometimes.
We regret Azub had no seat S size and your french dealer Roulcouche found a second hand one in another mark.
Actually, we wouldn’t change the bikes now, especially for long distances.
Is there anything you miss on your bikes compared with your upright bikes?
It misses the possibility to have a look above the fences. More it is uneasy to wrap for the plane because of the length and that is really a problem.
(note from AZUB: Read an article about transporting recumbents)
Did you consider trikes as well and why did the two-wheelers win?
We never really considered trikes that seem to us too low in the traffic and too large on the road or on cycle paths.
How many km could you do in a day?
Between 50 and 120, but a good average is 70 km / 44 miles.
Which part of the tour was the most difficult?
And which one was the most enjoyable?
Do you mostly sleep in a tent or in a hostel?
Half half. It depends on the season and of the prices in the countries. Now that we are in Europe we sleep mostly in the tent.
Do you have a funny experience of camping?
We had very nice wild camping experiences in Kyrgyzstan. In Taiwan, we camped in the police office.
Would you have any message for people who are the same age as you but are a bit scared to do even much shorter multi-day trips?
We will say to them to close the door of their house, and then push on the left pedal, right pedal, left pedal, right pedal, and that way they will surely arrive somewhere, of course, and will feel happy and free. But maybe they will never open the door of their house again.
Names: Daniel and Frederique Tuppin
Year of birth: 1954 and 1955 (we came to Azub on Frederique’s birthday: 28 of May)
Place of residence: France
Previous tours: Ireland, South East Asia (several times), Australia, South and East Europe (several times), Argentina-Chili and Eastern Island, Mexico and USA.
Bikes: Upright Giant until 2018
Hobbies: painting, sculpture, and biking
Motto: « de l’air, de l’air, poursuivons la transhumance » Kenneth White
Web Pages: lescampette2.jimdo.com, lescampette3.jimdofree.com, lescroquisdelescampette.jimdo.com,
Our map of 40 years of traveling: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1c0uBmdOeeSASkJyIAi_MR-PHfZE&usp=sharing