A Belgian solar bike has crossed the United States


A Belgian engineer has travelled the legendary Route 66 for 60 days with his machine propelled by energy provided by solar panels.

From Chicago on the East to Los Angeles on the West Coast is a long journey of almost 4,000 kilometres. Michel Voros had set himself the challenge of making the trip by non-motorised means. As his goal was to complete this journey in less than 60 days in an energy self-sufficient way, he created a kind of bike himself that can pull a trailer supporting several solar panels.

It took this Belgian engineer nearly five years of research to develop this unusual machine so he could fulfil his childhood dream of crossing the United States on the mythical Route 66.

Wanting to demonstrate that solar panels can be useful elsewhere than on the roof of houses, this 53-year-old resident of Limal (in the province of Walloon Brabant) therefore set about making his own solar bike. Inspired by a trailer used to pull kayaks, he designed the structure of his machine entirely from carbon fibre to save a few dozen kilos.

Having accomplished his technological feat and got himself in good physical condition, an administrative hurdle could have hindered the achievement of his dream. Fortunately, not exceeding 20 miles per hour, or 32 km/h, was the only constraint imposed by the authorities on this Belgian and his original vehicle for him to travel on American roads while respecting the relevant federal law.

Lastly, this crazy bet was accomplished in the allotted time of 60 days. It was a long and sometimes trying journey that led to wonderful human adventures at the same time as conveying an original and educational ecological message.