Seven Hills to Seven Passes #1
Almost two years ago, we received an email from two guys who were planning something extraordinary, an adventure that many dream about, but few are brave enough to pursue: quit the daily grind, and experience the world by bike. Daniele and Simona intended to cross the world and reach the seven highest passes of the earth, one for each continent, dividing East and West Europe, South and North America. Crossing more than 50 countires and covering 100,000 kilometers on two wheels, they aimed also to raise money for WBR, sharing a “green manifesto” for the bike as a vehicle toward a sustainable future, and promoting a responsible way of traveling among different cultures, ‘Seven Hills to Seven Passes’ is a multi-faceted, life-changing event that will touch lives from the highest pass in Europe to a rural village in Zambia.
After two year we are so proud to celebrate the first chapter of their amazing adventure across the world. Here’s the story…
…”From seven hills to seven passes”. Leitmotif of our project is to cycle the world by climbing up the seven highest mountain passes for each continent, having divided West and Eastern Europe, North and South America.
But it is not just a sport challenge, with our project we aim to show people the magic of the bicycle, this simple but yet amazing object! This is why we also decided to fundraise money for World Bicycle Relief through our website. Also we want to see the world with our own eyes, we want to experience different way of living, we want to discover the world. That doesn’t just mean discovering unknown places, but actually understand what is outside our culture and our language.
Everything started when Daniele cycled from Madrid to Rome some years ago, it was back then when he realised how powerful the bicycle is and above all he decided that he would have cycled the world one day. If one can cycle for 4000 km, it is possible to do it for 8000, then 16.000 and so on!
But what really gave us the strength and the courage to leave everything (families, friends, jobs) we still don’t really know! We did love our life in Rome. Just at a certain point we both decided that it was the right time to do it, that we were ready to face it, that we were finally starting to pedal towards the unknown. The moment you decide you’re already hitting the road, there’s no looking back! Sometimes really it is just a matter of the right time, right people and right place!
Still today we wonder why we took this decision and we know for certain that there’s not just one answer. We love adventure, we love challenges, we love interacting with people, we’re extremely curious. All this is part of our journey, all this is a reason for us to keep cycling. We like it when we have to sweat and swear pushing the bicycle on a steep uphill or against strong headwind in the desert, we like it when we have no idea on where our road will lead us, we like when we stop by the side of the road and we are surrounded by complete strangers speaking a complete unknown language, just willing to interact with us or help us. This is travelling by bicycle!
Sometimes the unexpected is part of the adventure, and sometimes we also make up our own challenges. Last winter instead of traveling south we decided to face the cold Kazakh steppe crossing into the Uzbek desert. A tough cycling with temperatures almost always below zero, with constant strong headwind, without many villages to supply food and water, and sometimes also without a proper road. The only shelter was our tent, the only strength to keep cycling in such a tough environment was in our heads. When we got again into the green zone in Uzbekistan we had a huge relief, but also the feeling we did something great, pushing the limits to an higher level by growing in experience and consciousness.
Of course, something that doesn’t have to be underestimated in situations like these is the equipment. It has to be adequate to the weather conditions one is going to face. In our case, thanks to our mountaineering background and experience, we use technical winter clothes, and we have a strong four season tent and sleeping bags to camp and rest also in the coldest nights. The kitchen is also very important! Cycling in winter requires a lot more energies, you need to eat and drink more than in a regular cycling day. That’s why we carry an efficient, reliable and multi fuel stove, to be able to warm up water and cook our meal in every possible condition.
You can read the full list of equipment on this page of our website. Of course the drawback is weight. Our panniers are pretty heavy and our speed is also pretty slow as a consequence. But we don’t care that much. Unless we are in a rush because of visas issues, we definitely prioritize the “road experience”, and that is what distinguish travelling from just cycling.
People you meet on the road have an important role with this. You are constantly in contact with people, and most of the time they are amazing! We discovered so far that even though we can be really different by culture, we still are very similar by the desire to share our lives and to be part of this great and unique country that is the world!
Our strongest feelings are linked to people, it is impressively easy to establish strong connection, strong relationship, and cutting them by saying good bye on the door is really heart breaking.
As it is heart breaking to see that the more the civilization grows the more it grows the pollution!
Most of the countries we crossed still have a lot to work for pollution, starting from developing a sense of respect towards nature and themselves! And this is probably our greatest challenge, showing that it is actually possible to live a simple life respectful of nature, people and respectful of our future on this planet!…
Best of luck as you cross the world, Daniele and Simona! Thanks so much for letting us so inspired and excited!
If you really want something, you have to go after it. Hit the road quick!