Simona Pergola on the the ice road highway from Tuktoyaktuk to Inuvik. Photo by Daniele Carfetti

World travellers ride through Fernie

Canada: 23rd country for world cyclists

On July 12, 2014, partners Daniele Carfetti and Simona Pergola, of Be Cycling left Rome on a cycling adventure around the world.

On Wednesday, July 26, the Italian duo arrived in Fernie, and set up camp in the backyard of Randal and Lisa Macnair by means of Warm Showers, a free world-wide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists.

In the past three years Carfetti and Pergola have visited 23 countries, and plan to visit the remaining countries in the next three years. Upon completion, this trip will serve as a record-breaker as well as the first attempt to cycle the world’s seven highest passes in a single world tour.

In this trip, they hope to promote a sustainable future, as well as encourage a universal way of traveling among different cultures. This voyage also serves as a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief (WBR).

“The world is so big, that you want to check it out,” said Carfetti after arriving in Fernie. “So we decided to start traveling for that reason.”

The choice of riding a bicycle came afterwards, when they decided it was the best form of transportation for a long trip. In Carfetti’s eyes, the bicycle is fast enough to see many things, and slow enough to take in where you are and visit with people you meet.

“You’re not stuck inside a box made of steel,” he said. “But you’re exposed outside.”

Cycling has allowed the two adventurers to meet many people over the past three years.

Asked if this trip was what they expected it would be, Carfetti said, “Can you really expect anything in such a long trip?”

“It’s like you start with a completely blank page,” said Pergola. “Everything that we have experienced has been more or less unexpected.”

Before embarking on what they knew could be a five-year trip or longer, both had to give up many aspects of their previous lives. More than giving up people or things, Carfetti found that he had to give up more of himself and his character.

“It’s not a holiday, it’s not even a trip. It’s a path that you start following,” he said.

Twenty-three countries contain too many towns to count, and the pair find it very difficult to name a favourite place. There have simply been too many.

To Carfetti, the memories of the past three years equal the number of memories made in the previous 30 years. This is because every day is a new adventure, new people, new place, new sunrise, a new moon.

Although it is difficult for them to pick a favourite place, there have been a few very special moments in the past three years that still ring true in their minds. Most of these moments were created in the toughest of times.

They have seen much wildlife and encountered many storms, especially in the deserts of Australia and high up in the mountains of China.

Still fresh in their minds is the beginning of their Canadian adventure, which they started from the top down.

At the end of March of this year, Pergola and Carfetti set off down the ice road highway from Tuktoyaktuk to Inuvik, N.W.T. The temperatures during this time were -35 to -40 degrees Celsius.

“We were cycling and camping in those temperatures, and it was hard,” Carfetti shared. “It was more than expected.”

After pushing through the tough northern conditions, they were left with surreal memories of spectacular landscapes.

The month was difficult, and they admit they don’t wish to repeat it. However, neither regrets the trip.

Carfetti and Pergola have met many through their travels who are willing to start an adventure similar to theirs. They are always asked about tips to make it through.

“Probably, the only advice I feel like giving, is just set your own pace,” said Pergola. “Don’t try to follow someone else, don’t try to see what other people do. I mean, take the good suggestions, ideas about setup, but then start your own trip.

“There are so many people just trying to do something that other people are trying to do, and it’s not their trip, so probably they are not enjoying it as much,” she continued.

Carfetti suggested that you should be prepared to adapt to any situation.

“Be ready to face whatever happens,” he said.

“Strong adaptation capability, that’s the most important thing.”

An important figure for both of them has been cost, and through careful planning and preparation, they have managed to spend only $5,000 each, per year.

Up until their start in Canada, the two had been riding the same bikes they started with. The only reason for the switch was because they needed studded tires to bike on the ice, and their fork clearance would not allow it. This switch allowed them to exchange their studded tires for mountain bike tires once they arrived in Whitefish, YK.

From Fernie, the duo is heading south, as far as there is land. They will stop at the southern-most tip of Argentina. This will take the next one-and-a-half years. After this, if all is well, their next destination will be Africa.

“We’re halfway!” said Carfetti!

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