At the age of 24, Jack was one of the adventurers on the great Sun Trip 2018 to Canton, China. We’re delighted to welcome him back next year: destination Sahara!
Can you introduce yourself for those who don’t know you?
I’m Jack Butler, a former participant in the 2018 Sun Tripper! I was hoping to join you in 2020 for the big Sun Trip too but, for obvious reasons, plans were changed. I’m now very happy and excited to be joining the 2024 edition for another great adventure.
What’s your vision of the Sun Trip? What about new forms of soft mobility?
For me, the Sun Trip is about raising people’s awareness of energy use. People on the road and those following online see our giant solar panels and maybe start to realize that everyone’s idea of “Why don’t we just put solar panels on cars” isn’t based on any reality. Visiting China while limiting carbon emissions was one of my motivations for taking part in the 2018 edition, and the quest for low-carbon travel applies to the 2024 edition too.
I think the majority of bikes will use less energy than a single charge of a large electric car, and fossil-fuel cars are a joke in comparison. Plus, as I’ve already cycled in Morocco, I know it’s a great place to travel by bike!
What prompted you to sign up for this daring edition?
The 2024 edition appealed to me because it’s the first “big” Sun Trip since 2018, I really like that feeling of riding every day and, despite being physically alone, knowing that all these other people are ahead and behind you and experiencing the same thing as you. I love bike travel, but the Sun Trip adventure is something unique! It’s a feeling of camaraderie between all the participants. I’m also looking forward to seeing old friends from previous editions, including the great Herman, and getting to know other people I haven’t had the chance to talk to, and of course welcoming new people to the Sun Trip.
Is your solar bike ready? Can you tell us about it?
My bike is ready on paper… AZUB Bikes has kindly sponsored me for the 2020 edition, so unlike the upright bike I built for myself in 2018, I’m now riding recumbent, I think this Sun Trip will be much more comfortable for me!
I have all the parts ready to be assembled to create a bike with a well-tested design style for the Sun Trip: a recumbent bike with a solar roof and a solar trailer. Bikes like this have covered thousands of kilometers on many editions of the Sun Trip and seem to be a solid formula for success.
Are you registered as a rider or backpacker in 2024? What do you expect from this new adventure?
Of course, I’m registered as a runner for 2024! I’d really like to match or beat my previous result of 6th place for this edition. However, part of my success in 2018 was due to the reliability of my bike (Tortoise vs. Hare tactic).
I don’t think I’ll have that advantage for 2024 as the roads on the course will be of very good quality almost everywhere. A lot of fast former participants will be back and the experience they carry will be invaluable to succeed again.