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An EV-Supported Cycling Trip from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Casablanca in Celebration of the Tour de France

By Františka Blažková

Would you celebrate the Tour de France by cycling nearly 3,000 km from Switzerland to Morocco, crossing between continents, going over killer Cols and climbs, and sleeping rough? There is a bunch of cycling enthusiasts from Estonia doing exactly that soon, supported all the way by an electric Škoda Enyaq. Raivo Sormunen, one of the cyclists, and Andre Kull of We Love Cycling Estonia and SKO Motors jointly shed some light on the upcoming adventure.

Before we get to the details of the upcoming enterprise, let’s rewind a bit. As Raivo shared with us, the truly first long-distance journey the team planned was a 2011 ski trip from Tallinn to the start of the most famous Estonian cross-country event, the Tartu Marathon, to promote it. The trek was a success and seemed to have piqued the group’s appetite so just the following year, they planned a 3,000 km bike trip called “L’expédition du Tour de France”. The route took them from Tallinn to Paris in support of Estonian pro rider Rein Taaramäe and they were supported by an exclusive Škoda car in the Tour de France livery. In 2015, they set out to cheer on another Estonian rider, Tanel Kangert, who was competing at the Giro d’Italia, by cycling from Krakow to Milan.

Fast forward to 2024. Several years after their last ride, they regrouped and came back for more: nearly 3,000 planned km in a bike saddle from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Switzerland, to Casablanca, Morocco, in celebration of the Tour de France 2024. Their journey copies the exact dates of this year’s Tour (June 29–July 21) and the checkpoints include Col de la Madeleine, Col du Télégraphe, Tour de France stage 4, Col du Galibier, and Gibraltar. They also aim to tackle the famed Pico de Veleta climb, which is the highest paved road in Europe. As you can see, the group certainly didn’t opt for a mellow sightseeing ride. As Raivo noted, they are poised to amass about “36 vertical km, about 4,5 times the height of Chomolungma” (Mount Everest). The project has also been dubbed “Hello Africa” because it’s the first time the team ventured outside Europe on bikes.

Hello Africa

The core team consists of eight cyclists, six men and two women, of which one rider is a Paralympian, all equipped with full We Love Cycling biking gear and casual wear. As for the support crew, there are two long-standing drivers who take care of the equipment, spare bike parts and food; this way, Raivo remarked, the riders are “not just tourists but closer to actual pro cyclists.” This year, they are actually joined by a third person. SKO Motors, in collaboration with We Love Cycling Estonia, supplied an accompanying EV, the Škoda Enyaq, in a custom-made Hello Africa livery.

An Estonian car journalist and Fleet Manager at United Motors Vladimir Niinimäki has agreed to drive the Enyaq from Tallinn to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Casablanca and all the way back and then review the experience, especially regarding the planning around charging. Since no similar feat has probably been done before with a Škoda EV, as Andre claims, the experience has the potential to assuage range anxiety and fears related to EV long-distance travel. “It will be a great real-life test. All the modern assistants in the car will make the planning of charging so much easier. For planning, we will use the Škoda Trip Planner. For charging, we will use the Škoda Power Pass,” described Andre. Vladimir will be also writing deep-dive articles about the journey and Andre hopes to get “honest and waterproof feedback”.

Škoda Enyaq

The group already cycled through 17 European countries and this new trip is going to add Andorra and their first African country, Morocco. As they already did a similar feat three times, some things are just a “copy + paste” of their previous trips prep-wise. “Nevertheless, you need to have good discipline and willingness to get up very early and cycle every day, even if you don’t feel like it, there are no rest days for us,” Raivo smiles.

What’s interesting is that the troupe allegedly never books accommodation in advance, they just look for a place to stay after they are finished for the day – which is mostly camping in the woods or near rivers. “One of our support crew members is a bus driver and his task is also to scout suitable places to crash for the night. We are not entirely without budget but we are very OK with low-budget travel,” Raivo clarifies.

We at We Love Cycling are certainly going to be following this exciting and daring journey and can’t wait for the pictures. Don’t forget to also follow and cheer on Hello Africa on social media. Fingers crossed!