« The phone battery was simply great »



Travelling around France on a bike, as close as possible to the country borders and in just over 20 days, was the challenge that Lilian set himself last July. A bet that he won as he travelled nearly 4000km with a 45,000-mt difference in height in just 22 days!
But apart from the sport achievement itself, La Grande Sortie was also a community adventure. Thanks to the GPS live monitoring installed on Lilian’s ACTION-X3 everyone could trace him and share a few kilometers with him on his trip or at specific meeting points that had been set near the big stages. As he is back from his journey this modern-time adventurer has told us his story. En route!

Lilian, how did « La Grande Sortie » adventure go?

The first five days were extremely difficult both emotionally and physically. I wanted to turn around every 5 minutes. I wasn’t sure about the feasibility of the project and I’d almost forgotten that it was a “compulsory stage”. After 7 days my body got used to it. I had a good pace of 220km a day, then I got to Kilometer #150 in Cherbourg and that’s when the blowback happened. I collapsed on the ground in tears, exhausted. Then I decided to get a hotel room where I had a rest for 18 hours – my longest break on the trip. That was massively good for me and I was able to set off again the day after. At that point kilometers were just passing one after another and I passed the Alps without a hitch to then wrap up the journey in Aix-en-Provence where I was welcomed by a guard of honour from CROSSCALL!

I finished this tour of France in 22 days, riding nearly 4000km in total with an average 10/12hrs a day on my bike. I am pleasantly surprised that I didn’t suffer any injuries or that no mechanical breakdown occurred despite all the ups and downs.

The adventure was incredible both in physical and emotional terms and also for the people I met along the way.

Why did you choose to give this project a community dimension?

I always try to include a community aspect in my own projects. Every time the goal is to try to get the people who follow me to want to implement their own projects fully, get out of their comfort zone and do things they are both afraid of and attracted by at the same time, without necessarily committing to huge expeditions.

I really loved sharing my experience on social networks and the “Grande Sortie” Facebook event. It was my decompression time during the day where I was using my head and not just my thighs! I received a lot of cheering messages and that was hugely motivating especially when things were a bit difficult.

Some people joined me on the meeting points that I had set all along the tour. Some other people who bumped into me by chance would say to me “I followed your project, it’s unbelievable to meet you” or “are you the one who’s doing the tour of France by bike?”. There was Nicholas, too, who looked for me the whole day by car and offered me lunch at his restaurant. I received a lot of messages by people telling me they’d seen me and were wishing me luck. I even saw some people getting their CROSSCALL phones out of their car window when they overtook me with their car. Every type of encounter was unique.

Can you explain to us how you used your smartphone and its accessories throughout this adventure?

First of all, my smartphone – the ACTION-X3 – was vital to make this “tour de France” by bike happen. I could locate myself and follow the route outline, which I had prepared beforehand, with the Dot Vision app.

I’m very happy with the battery life of this smartphone. Its battery was just great: it never died and I never switched off my phone. By only using GPS geolocation with the Dot Vision app to update my location on the route every 20 seconds, I still had 25% battery left in the evening. I managed to go for a maximum of 3 days in a row with no access to electricity, listening to music on Spotify 4 to 6 hours a day, with constantly active GPS tracking and using the camera and social network apps a bit. I only used two out of the three X-POWER external batteries.

The X-BIKE mount system never moved from its position, despite a few potholes I hadn’t seen, so I have nothing to complain about there! The fact of having the phone between my hands, directly accessible on the handlebar along with the map and the Dot Vision route outline, was extremely handy. I could see where I needed to go the whole time without having to ask myself any questions.

The weather wasn’t always easy. I often found myself riding at scorching temperatures (in one of the cols of the Pyrenees it was still 30°C at a 2000-mt altitude!) or in the rain and the phone showed no issues at all.

Is « La Grande Sortie » some sort of training for a future project?

La Grande Sortie is simply a first training step towards ultra endurance as the aim of the project is to cross the Atlantic by rowing without any assistance. The tour of France by bike acted as a base test for me to prepare and implement this kind of adventure, whether in terms of training, managing physical as well as metal conditions, nutrition, route plan, separating from relatives etc. This time the challenge would last between one and three months. Until then, I’m going to have to get back on my bike saddle!


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