Brian Mathe, Morgan Monchaud, Vera Siphay and Bertrand Dolci have always been adventurous. The French travel enthusiasts have long been into activities like snowboarding, surfing and windsurfing but it was a wild idea by Morgan that put the wheels of a grand journey into motion: travel around the world… by bike! Luckily for us, they filmed it, too.
Traveling around the world is no easy task. To help make it happen, the team formed an organization called Solidream. They worked for two years cultivating partnerships with corporations, local businesses and private donors to fund the trip and garner the support they need to sustain and document their travels. Through their website, the travel team shares articles, pictures and video with sponsors and fans around the world which has also kept donations coming in.
But for all this adventuring by bike with documentation, they don’t consider themselves cyclists or filmmakers. They’re just adventurers. Bikes became the group’s preferred method of travel partly due to affordability but also because they are a fun and adventurous way to get around. Brian says bicycling gave them more of a feel for the scale of the world and provided ample opportunities for interacting with local people.
17 months ago, Morgan, Vera and Bertrand (Brian met up along the way) left France and biked their way through terrains as diverse as the dry Sahara and the steep Andes. A 40-day hot, humid trek through the Amazon, two weeks at 5000 feet elevation in Bolivia, and even the severe weather encountered on a sailing trip to Antarctica were difficult but rewarding. Brian says the hardest part of the journey so far hasn’t been those physical challenges, but rather the mental endurance. Being together 24 hours a day is tough, but being a part of a team definitely helped them conquer terrain, weather and equipment issues.
Along the way, Brian says, “We have been extremely moved by the people we’ve met.” Good byes are hard because of the rewarding time they spend with people and every picture taken has an incredible story behind it.
The group is almost a year and a half into the trip but time has been flying. Bertrand went back to France and is providing logistical support, but the rest of the team continues on. They just completed a 24-day trek through Mexico, which included a stop in Puerto Vallarta to relax and edit a movie for Filmed by Bike that encapsulates the trials and triumphs of the first half of their adventure. “490 Days of Adventures and Challenges Around the World” plays all shows on Friday, and in the Adventure Shorts program Saturday and Sunday at 7pm.
Next stop? Filmed by Bike, of course! The crew plans to arrive in Portland this April to see their movie on the big screen and participate in a filmmaker Q+A session.