Two men are cycling from France to New Zealand covering 25,000km to raise awareness for clean water, and VI Hotels is supporting the adventure! In September, we were lucky enough to meet Theo and Simon at our corporate office in Vienna and we hosted them at our hotels in Loipersdorf and Bratislava. We called Theo and Simon as they were nearing our final hotel in Cracow when they were just approaching the Polish border from Slovakia!
Greetings Theo and Simon! How is the trip going so far?
Theo: Really great, thank you! We’re very motivated and ready to continue on to Poland and spread the message of Cycle for Water.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Theo: Getting to places on time! We were 160km from Bratislava and the next day we were expected to be in the city to give a presentation about Cycle for Water! So we had to make up this distance in one day. Usually, we make sure to listen to our bodies and take it a little slower if we’re finding it difficult, but that day we just had to push ourselves to reach Bratislava in time!
Simon: There are plenty of factors which can make the ride difficult, from the quality of roads, technical bicycle problems, altitude and of course the challenges of the natural landscape! It can be tough when we finish cycling late at night and we have to set up our camp, but once we’re in our sleeping bags, we fall asleep in 30 seconds. Falling asleep has never been so easy!
We were so excited to welcome you to Austria and our hotel in Loipersdorf! How did you find it?
Simon: Austria has been the best country for hospitality so far! The people are welcoming and we’ve been looked after very well! We’ve even had local people letting us stay in their homes and feeding us! The roads leading to the Loipersdorf hotel were challenging so it was wonderful to have someone from VI waiting to meet us! The hotel was very welcoming and we were really able to relax. Hot water now feels like a real luxury and we were lucky enough to have a sports massage at the hotel spa! There were also a lot of ‘simple’ pleasures, which we appreciated, as we’ve been camping a lot, like big comfortable mattresses, clean rooms and bike storage. We were happy to see that the hotel has free bike rental for guests!
Theo: It was also great to meet the VI Head Office and hear about how VI are working to save water at their hotels. We left feeling very encouraged and motivated!
So you had a nice experience in Austria?
Simon: Well, we didn’t camp for a whole week in Austria as three families kindly let us sleep at their homes! We’ve learnt to ask people if we can sleep or camp in their homes as we have had a very positive response so far, so we’re sure that if we had asked more people before we reached Austria, we would have been just as welcome.
How have you found cycling every day?
Theo: It’s a bit of a challenge to keep it interesting, so we listen to music, podcasts and audio books. We have met many nice people, which definitely helps to make the trip so much fun! Tell us some more about the people you have met along the way!
Theo: Well, we get a lot of attention; people see our bamboo bikes and want to take photos of us. We have had a great response to spreading the message about the project too and we have been humbled by the kindness of people, with strangers inviting us into their homes and gardens to sleep or camp for the night!
What has been your favourite place to cycle through so far?
Simon: The coast of Italy was beautiful and it was great as we could take a refreshing break from cycling by resting on the beach! The ride to Loipersdorf was very scenic too and the landscape was very interesting to ride over as it has quite high hills.
Finally, do you have any advice you’d give to anyone who would like to do a long bike ride?
Simon: Don’t be afraid of the distance and pace yourself! But this is only the beginning of our adventure, so come back to us in a few months…