“There was a strong wind and the storm was about to begin. A lady stopped her truck and said, “I’m not going to let you hang around here, the hurricane is coming”, but we prefer to continue pedaling to achieve our goal.”
Luis Fourzan was before Trainthe category 4 hurricane which was one of the challenges he faced in a 5 months of travel by electric bike to raise awareness about sustainable mobility.
Luis, graduate of the Tec de Monterrey, with Sushi Redwho held a Guinness World Record for the longest e-bike ride in his native India, rode more than 12 thousand kilometers with zero emissions into the atmosphere.
The Mexican did it as part of The SunPedal Ride project, which aims to raise awareness of the use of renewable energieslike sunlight.
The trip started on August 14, 2021 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and ended on January 19, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
Pedaling for sustainable mobility
Despite adversities, such as bad weather, Luis had a very clear goal to show that renewable energies, like sunlight, can have an impact on mobility.
EXATEC traveled aboard a e-bike with 2 x 500 watt batteries; meanwhile, Sushil in one with 2 of 300 watts, but with 2 solar panels, seek to compare the energy expenditure of the two.
“Sushill’s bike panels had a capacity of 50 watts each; then, in 3 hours of travel under the sun, one of its batteries was charged and we ended up with almost the same charge.
“We realized that for use of electric bikes in the city It would be perfect for covering distances of 5 to 10 kilometers; so with solar panels they would never have to connect to the light”, commented.
Luis’ bike was made of steel, weighed 40 kilograms, had luggage racks (about 30 kilograms) and reaches 30 kilometers per hour (km/h) on flat ground and about 10 km/h uphill.
“The engine gives you help, but anyway you have to pedal and you feel the effort, for example, on the climbs… it’s like riding a normal bike, but without the weight of the luggage”, he explained.
Hurricanes, snow and dog attacks, the stakes of the ride
When they started their journey, Luis and Sushil never imagined that 2 weeks later they would be dealing with the hurricane Traincrossing the state of Pennsylvania.
“(Because of the hurricane) we had to stay about 2 days in a hotel before arriving in Pittsburgh. We arrived before the start of the flood alerts”, says Fourzan.
This cyclone, which has caused damage, flooding and loss of life on the east coast of the United States, would not be the only big challenge for cyclists, because it would also be withstood snowfall, mechanical failure and even animal attacks.
“Halfway through, we have snowfall in (the state of) Montana. One day we arrived at the hotel around 10 o’clock in the evening, we cycle all day at minus 10 degreesWe even skidded our bikes a few times.
“In Oregon, I was attacked by a pit bull. He chased me for about 15 minutes trying to throw and bite me; I had to use pepper spray to put up with it. You had to be prepared, not just for breakdowns or punctures,” he remembered.
Despite the challenges, they had the support of brands and sponsors such as Oriden, Mitsubishi Power, Radissen Hotels and Octopus Energyamong others, who supported them at the various stages to achieve their goal.
“Anyone can ride a bike (and maintain a healthy lifestyle), I’ve never done one and that’s how I shot in the States.”
Finding Sustainable Consciousness in Hiking
In 2008, Fourzán came from his native Chihuahua to the city of Monterrey to study the Degree in law at Tech; in this city, where he lived for 10 years, developed a taste for outdoor activities.
“I have been very interested in activities such as hiking and mountaineeringI think that was one of the triggers for me to start doing something that had to do with sustainability,” talked.
EXATEC, 32, recalled that by practicing these activities he appreciated nature, but he also realized the pollution problemseven that caused health problems.
“Mountains I have climbed I could see a pollution cream, you hardly ever saw the stars and the air in the city was heavy; I also started having problems with irritated eyes and allergies,” says Louis.
In 2017 he traveled as a tourist to Iceland, was a country that was already on the radar for its love of outdoor activities; there, his allergy problems also ended.
“When I came to this country, I fell in love with 100% of the energy produced comes from renewable sources; This is one of the reasons why I chose to make a master in sustainable energy”, talked.
Iceland: the preamble to the adventure
While doing his master’s degree in Iceland in 2018, Luis received a call from a friend from Paris, who had met Sushil, who already had The SunPedal Ride project, with which he had been Guinness World Record two years ago.
The Indian activist now planned to make a electric bike tour of iceland and I needed a companion who knew the region and renewable energies.
“Sushil invited me to do the tour and I was interested because it was a sustainability project; not only was it something adventurous, like climbing a mountain, but there was an undercurrent of lasting awareness”, talked.
In the end, Luis and Sushil they did a 2 week shoot around the island, was the prelude to a more extensive trip through the United States, which, planned for 2020, had to be delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Luis sees this trip across the United States as one of the biggest projects of his life at the date.
“This trip made me realize that i can do more things Already do not give up. The project is not finished, we want to continue to raise awareness of mobility in communities.
“Also to keep a healthy lifestyle, with more physical activity. Anyone can ride a bike; I never rode in one and that’s how I shot in the US”, he added.
a green entrepreneur
Luis acknowledges that studying at Tech Since high school, he’s been woken up by interest in undertaking; He completed his career as a lawyer with a master’s degree in renewable energies and, with several friends, he founded in 2020 his own company: Rayema.
Your business focuses on offer financing businesses to achieve renewable energy projectsfor example, in the industrial sector with solar panel installations.
Despite the length of the trip, Luis never stopped working on his professional project.
“There were days when we were filming from sunrise to sunset, but I took my computer to continue my work at night or when we arrived at the hotel”, Fourzan spoke.
EXATEC isn’t sure if he’ll ever take a trip of this magnitude again, although he likes the idea of taking a similar trip to Mexico and sharing his environmental message with more people.
“I think this vision of know and change the world I got it from Tec, to give you this overall picture. There is also to undertake and to have projects beyond the professional fieldjust like this activism for leave a mark in the community”, completed.