A year of cycling with the family to conquer Europe

If they insist on getting to the appointed place, the appointed day and time, is it for the love of round accounts, well-polished work? Or is it, more prosaically, because Laurent is scheduled in the office on August 1 in the morning? In any case, on July 31 at 6 pm, when all five will arrive at the Place du Capitole in Toulouse, where family and friends will be waiting for them, they have been gone for a whole year, and they have not traveled less than 25,000 km through Europe.

Coralie and Laurent Juillard shared the outdoors and traveled long before sharing home and last name. Even so, each first cutting the road by its side, they met in 2007.

Fifteen years later, and according to the promise they had made to themselves, it is this curiosity of others and of the world, this freedom proportional to all that demands to be left behind, that they wanted to teach their children. But how to embark on such a journey in the company of such young children? At the time of departure, Macéo was only 8 years old, and the twins Lalie and Thimotée were only five!

Macéo, 8, and twins Lalie and Thimotée, 5, traveled around Europe for a year with their parents. (DR)

Of course, it’s not about asking them to pedal so far. Also, the idea of ​​installing them in trailers, i.e. dragging them on your back, doesn’t excite parents. It is a particular type of tandem that will give the solution: the child sits in front of the steering wheel and a pedal allows him to participate in the measurement of his strength, but he does not have to worry about steering the machine and can thus enjoy d a landscape of 180 °. Observe, dream.

“With kids, everything is easy …”

“The day we planned to make our first test trip after receiving the bikes – a 250km foray to visit my beautiful family –Laurent explains, It was raining. However, tied up with boots and raincoats, the children were happy. They have even fallen asleep! Our last hesitations rose, we thought it was okay, they would be comfortable. And in fact, with kids, everything is pretty easy. Once your basic needs are met: being free from hunger, cold, or fear and feeling loved, all is well. »

Another essential point, the sloping backrest of the bucket seat provides the “predictor” from pedal to back, facilitating exchanges and conversations. We can imagine that over the miles came the scientific or metaphysical questions of which children have the secret: “Why is the sea salty? How did the animals appear? … »

Education First

This year of travel finds its origin in the desire for transmission of parents, and is based on the values ​​of openness, encounter and sobriety of need. Be as little tourist as possible, see world and people, but not be the idiot of the trip.

From Telhorn, Sweden (pictured), to Crete, Spain, and Croatia, the Julliard family cycled 25,000 miles in one year.  (DR)

From Telhorn, Sweden (pictured), to Crete, Spain, and Croatia, the Julliard family cycled 25,000 miles in one year. (DR)

Thus, from Crete to Norway, passing through Andalusia, Macéo, Lalie and Thimothée have been nourished – at a time when nothing is forgotten – of varied landscapes, architectures, languages. So too did they encounter a multitude of faces and characters. It is known that traveling by bicycle facilitates the meeting: one is presented to the other without the “shield” of any body. “But with the kids, it’s downright amazing, adds Lawrence. As soon as we stopped for more than five minutes, even in the middle of nowhere, people came to us, asked about our needs, offered us all kinds of services or gifts. »

At the beginning of the course, when entering CP or CM1, Juillard’s children will surely have missed a course, even though their parents have struggled to “to go to school. “ But after seeing the world and having to settle for toys with what it can hold “one liter bag”a few small objects, sticks, pebbles, small gifts collected on the way to replace the lost objects, will not these children be better equipped to face the world that will come without excessive discouragement?

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