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Le Tour de Cargo 2022

by Gert Lill on June 30, 2022

Biking event of the year, Le Tour de France is about to start and this time we are also joining the ride. In partnership with Shimano bikes, we have made our fastest cargo bike yet with road bikes in mind. But before we talk about bike specs, we have some questions to Romet, who will take on this challenge.

Romet holding a road bikeRomet Karu, age 32

 

Your past bike adventures.
Because my favorite thing is to race bikes on short and fast courses, most of my rides are geared towards raising my fitness level, but there have been some more adventurous trips too, like exploring the island of Gran Canaria and the Alps from the Italian and French side.

In 2015 I supported a bunch of Estonian cycling fanatics on a similar mission to ride 3000km during the Giro. I was in charge of one of the support cars, but I was able to bring my bike and got to ride some infamous climbs like Stelvios pass and Madonna di Campiglio.

In 2020 we explored the French Alps with friends. With countless ascents and descents accompanied by breath-taking vistas, I still cherish that vacation dearly.


Where did the idea came from?
The idea came together quite organically.
I saw a friend doing unbelievable feats of resilience, like the NorthCape4000, which is a self supported ultrarace of 4000km. Inspired by that and the tour of Italy from 2015 I began to daydream of a crazy trip of my own.
When I saw that the TdF would start in Copenhagen, where Hagen bikes got its start, I immediately wrote Kaspar to ask if he would build me a bike. 8 months later, here we are.

Explain your route, since it’s not exactly the same as the official one.
Since following the whole tour would be a logistic nightmare and pretty much impossible being self supported, I have only a couple of "rules" I have set for myself. As long as I manage those, I'll be more than satisfied with my vacation.
Those are as following:
•The start is 1st of July from Copenhagen and the finish 24th of July in Paris.
•Total distance 3300km.
•Include at least one Hors catégorie climb (probably going to be Alpe d'Huez).

How are you preparing for the journey?
It is quite hard to prepare for something you've never done before. Mainly I've just tried to slowly increase my training volume as I'm nearing the trip and to keep healthy.
Being on my own for the trip, I also try to play out every worst case scenario that might throw a stick into the spokes, pun intended.

Romet Fixing His Road Bike


What are you looking forward to the most?
I'm most excited about all the new scenery that I get to experience. The countryside, the forests, the mountains.

What thoughts scare you about this journey?
Everything unknown is scary. I've never done anything so physically demanding, so at the moment my biggest fear is I might not be able to keep up with the distances.
The bike in full setup will be 3-4 times heavier from what I'm used to and it will slow me down considerably, especially in the mountains.

What will you carry as cargo?
It's quite challenging to find a happy balance between taking everything I might need and keeping the weight down to a minimum.
Of course, i need a place to sleep, so i'm bringing a tent. I was also thinking about a tarp/bivy system to save on weight, but I'll first see how I get on with this setup.
I'll also bring a couple extra kits, some casual clothes, toiletries, first aid kit, navigation watch, gopro, bluetooth speaker, spare parts for the bike and some tools for basic repairs.

Romet Karu Riding His Bike

Is it a credit card ride or self supported?
I feel like I want to prove the point that a cargo bike is not only a great companion in the city, but can handle a self supported trip like this one.
Still, weather is unpredictable, especially in the mountains, so I'll reserve myself the option to pay for shelter if the conditions and/or mood become miserable.

Do you have a support car or are you riding alone?
Support car in my eyes would defeat the purpose of the whole thing.

Is the whole route on bike or do you plan on using other means of transport?
I would like to ride 100% of the way, but according to my research, to leave Denmark, I have to take a train across the Great Belt or a ferry from Lolland.

 

The Bike

Hagen Road Cargo Bike Riding Tour De France In Polkadot Colorway

In partnership with Shimano we have made our most sporty bike to date. Using their top of the line Ultegra Di2 groupset, this bike is as fast as a cargo bike could get. The frame geometry stays the same, only chainstay has been made shorter and brought together, so it could fit our road bike setup a little better. We also used highest grade steel we could find and shed 1,5kg off the bike.

Hagen Road Cargo Bike Back Side Groupset Picture      Hagen Road Cargo Bike Polkadot Front End

To add to the already heavy challenge, Romet will see his bike for the first time a day before the start. Lets all wish him the best on this journey and see how He handles these hard 24 days. You can cheer along this rad challenge by following Hagen Bikes Instagram
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