– 43 years-old –
First winner of Sun Trip Race in 2013, then ranking second in 2015, the Belgian sportsman is a pioneer of the Sun Trip event.
He sure is coming back to win, riding on a new redesigned solar bike, ever more efficient and with an attention to every single component.
Official Team : Hyundai Elevator
Shaghai Hyundai Elevator Co.,LTD. was established in 1993 and is the most important elevator and escalator production base in the world. There are 30 registered branches across the China, with dozens of maintenance sites and offices. At present, the company has a registered capital of 65 million U.S. dollars and employs nearly 1,000 people.
With the help of the headquarters’ advanced technology and localized independent R&D, the company has formed a full range of safe, environmentally friendly and reliable products. It has been exported to more than 60 countries and regions in the world, and its export volume ranks in the forefront of the domestic elevator industry.
More Information: Official Website
His Solar Bike
Raf’s everyday bike has riden over 150,000 km and has started to wear out. Therefore, it was unsuitable for a race to China. With the support of several companies and booked sales, he gathered a budget for further research and design.
Raf will come back on a brand new bicycle! 20 kg lighter, with technological innovations, better and more flexible solar cells. Despite the aerodynamic advantages of a recumbent bike, he stays true to the safe and classic riders position. With lower handlebars and a smaller casing, he is now even sharper and faster, bringing you to the farthest corners of the world within no time.
His bike is designed to accomplish up to 400 km/day from april to September, as long as the ‘sun stock’ lasts. In cloudy weather: 200-250 km/day
Technical Partner : UniKuu
A Few Words From The Adventurer…
I am a fanatic sportsman and I love to travel. Those two passions were brought together in the Solarwind, a trailer with solar cells that holds extra space for luggage and feels like a steady tailwind. There is no more need to book transcontinental flights, you just ‘travel’ to your destination.
Raf received the Eco Design Award 2012 for this idea. He finished building the first prototype in May 2013, tested it thoroughly and optimized it after. With this bike, he won the first Sun Trip Solar Challenge in 2013. The world became his playground, riding across the steppe of Kazakhstan and arriving to Astana within just 38 days. With an updated bike, he rode to Turkey in 2015 and finished second.
When design works
Raf owns an architectural firm in Mechelen. He not only creates spaces, but also objects that make people live more comfortable and consciously..
He achieves the perfect proportions to turn it into a visually beautiful bike. Even just looking at it, it makes you want to fo travel and explore.
It is a simple bike for heavy work. Strong at both smooth and more challenging roads, a master in the mountains.
To me it’s very intense and meaningful to both design and ride it. Every detail, every bolt, every plug I’ve thought out. It gives more depth to my travels and makes the experience so much more authentic.
The only limit is the rider
The only limitation is the ride himself. As an athlete he learned to deal with heavy physical effort, to listen to his body and figure out the right nutrition. Kayaking strengthened his back- and shoulder muscles, making it possible for him to endure the low handlebar position.
It’s the bike he uses in daily life, it’s his mobility. He rides it to go on his work visits, grocery shopping. During the weekends he sometimes rides it to Switzerland and enjoys the bends and turns of the Vosges roads.
During the race he is accompanied by his sports doctor Luc Verwaest, manager of logistics Fons Servranckx, and personal weather coach Bart van Hulle.
Timetrail to China
Raf has to be back in Belgium by the first of August to be with his daughter Juun. But he’s tempted to bring out the best of this bicycle and himself and arrive early…
Next to it being a challenge this race also brings up the discussion about mobility and global warming.
Our future doesn’t lie in cars. The Solarrace / Australia teaches us that; it’s a dead end street with an outrageous amount of materials and very few kilometers. Also electrical and self-driving cars get stuck in traffic jams, they’re cumbrous and expensive. We’re overlooking the solution… Simple solutions are generally the best ones. The future of our mobility sits in our shed; a simple bicycle with electric motor in combination with the right clothing, shifting closer together and daring to move our bodies.
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