Below some of the questions I answer most frequently:
Q: How do you pronounce your name?
A: Gijs, it is Dutch and quite impossible to pronounce for foreigners, an instruction:
Q: How do you pay for Cape to Cape 2012?
A: Gazelle is my main partner, they supplied the electric bicycle. I have some smaller sponsors, however, most of the expenses I cover myself. For equipment I reserved ca. 2000 Euro, for food, drinks, entertainment & communication ca. 6000 Euro. This money I earned myself from my student job at Maersk while I was studying for my MSc.
To keep costs low I made a rule for myself not to pay for accommodation when I am still in Europe.
Q: If you don’t pay for accommodation, where do you sleep?!
A: I travel fully equipped for camping. As such I (wild)camp roughly roughly a third of the time. Roughly one third of the time I sleep over at people I meet via the website Couchsurfing.org. The last third is at friends and acquaintances.
During my trip I slept in a church in Alta, a roman amphitheater in Plovdiv and in a abandoned church Palojoensuu
Q: How long will the journey take in total?
A: I intend to be on the road for 10 months in total. I have Valentines Day 2013 in my mind as arrival date, however, nothing is fixed and I am fully flexible.
Q: How do you charge the batteries of your e-bike?
A: It takes roughly 3 hours to charge my 2 batteries (with a fast-charger). Mostly I charge my batteries when I sleep over at somebodies place. If I am camping I charge my batteries while I have lunch/dinner at a restaurant, swim in a swimming pool, give workshops at schools or visit the workplace of interesting people.
Q: Why do you cycle on an electric bicycle?
A: First off I think it fits very well with the theme of renewable energy (would love to have some pictures of me and my e-bike in front of a large hydropower dam or wind turbine). Secondly, during the trip I think I will really worship the day when I decided to use an electric bicycle instead of a normal bike. It will be really nice to get a bit of help from the electric engine when I have to climb up and down the Ethiopian highlands or have headwind on the Afsluitdijk, the Netherlands.
Q: Isn’t cycling on an electric bicycle less sustainable?
A: Less sustainable than what?! The simple answer is yes and no . It will not be possible for me to charge my bicycle using surplus renewable energy everywhere along the route. Therefore I will indirectly be using coal/oil/gas which is burned in power stations. An electric bicycle is less sustainable than a normal bicycle.
Yet, it is more sustainable than other modes of transport. I could also have made the trip by motorcycle, car, plain or public transport. Those options definitely have a higher ecological footprint.
A back on the envelop calculation: If I have a 500 Wh battery-pack (large capacity battery pack for an electric bicycle) and charge this 300 times during my trip I would use 150 kWh. This is the equivalent of washing my clothes 150 times in an Bosch washing machine, or driving 200 kilomters in a normal car (the energy content of one liter of gasoline is 9.4 kWh/liter).
Q: What will you do after Cape to Cape 2012?
A: My plan is to start a company within the renewable energy sector. During my journey I hope to gain knowledge, contacts and idea’s so that I can start when I return to Europe in 2013.