Pedalling to Help Protect Polar Bears: Didier Bovard
In a week’s time, on 10th July, Frenchman Didier Bovard will be setting off on a 17,000 km voyage on a hydrocycle from Nuuk, capital of Greenland, to Paris. For once I’ve found out about something interesting before it happens!
Now, hasn’t he got anything better to do, you may be wondering? No. This is a very important mission. Didier is undertaking the trip to bring the world’s attention to the plight of polar bears. He saw a photo of a polar bear marooned on a small iceberg and realised just how bleak the future is for these animals given the current rates of climate change and icecap melting. A polar bear cub is the logo he’s painted on his hydrocycle, which is called My Way.
So what is a hydrocycle? It’s the posh name for a pedalo, or pedal boat. Mind you, My Way is quite a posh example of one. It’s 6 metres long and 1 meter wide and made from wood. Appropriately it’s painted white and there will be a model of a polar bear on the poopdeck. It weighs 250 kg. As well as having a 30 cm two-blade propeller powered by a 7-speed Shimano pedal rack, it will be kitted out with 350 bottles of water which he’ll use to hydrate the 500 sachets of dehydrated food he’s taking with him to provide all that necessary energy. Didier will be pedalling 10 to 12 hours a day at an average speed of 5 km per hour on calm seas. That will be a lot of calories consumed. He’s also taking CDs of Elvis Presley and books by Stephen King to help while away the time!
Didier’s biggest danger will come from cargo ships as he’ll be crossing some fairly busy shipping lanes. He’s a brave man! My Way is kitted out with anti-collision radar so let’s hope that gives him enough warning of an approaching tanker.
When he arrives home, he’ll be visiting schools to talk about his adventures. I hope he’ll make it to Creuse as I wouldn’t mind listening in to what he has to say.
And by the way, this is my 500th post. Blog in France got going about 3 years ago. To begin with I was a very erratic blogger, only doing a few posts per month but for 18 months now I’ve aimed to blog every day and managed to keep to that most days. Thanks for supporting me. Stick with me for the next 500 slices of French life.