Friday, June 15th saw the official start of SunTrip 2018, the third annual solar bike rally — this year between Lyon, France and Guangzhou, China.

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of a ‘sister’ relationship between the two cities, the 12,000 km point-to-point overland adventure will cross 10 countries, and imposes some challenging rules on the 40 rally participants:

  • Participants must ride on a solar electric bicycle and charge their batteries using only solar energy
  • After the start proper (in Chamonix tomorrow, June 19th), there is no specific, imposed route
  • Sun Trip adventurers are not to be followed by support vehicles — this is a completely unassisted rally

And there’s a local connection to SunTrip 2018.

Justin Lemire-Elmore of Vancouver’s GRIN Technologies and Anne-Sophie Rodet — a writer and graphic designer who lives in Vancouver but grew up not far from the race start — are riding a back-to-back tandem recumbent electric solar bicycle, using many parts and features invented by Justin himself.

A bit of a celebrity in the electric bike sector, Justin is quoted on the SunTrip website as saying that the trip fits the definition of thinking outside the box about transportation concepts that could change the world: “It’s crazy, audacious, and wild, full of DIY builds that push the boundaries of what an ebike can do.”

And while it may seem to be the kind of thing that would also push the boundaries of what a human can do, perhaps not as much as one might think.

The back to back geometry allows us to have our heads nearer together for conversation during the trip and provides a total 360 degree view of everything going on. And for the person rowing, it’s totally normal to be facing backwards to the motion, so we’re used to that.

The propulsion will use dual hub motors on each of the front drive wheels, and we will use a tilting roof structure for the solar panels, with an equally important role of providing us shade through these hot countries.

You can keep up with SunTrip 2018 via Twitter, and check out GRIN Technologies’ YouTube channel for more on ebikes.


  1. I love the combination of shade from the solar roof and sun power to charge the batteries.

  2. Off topic, just remembering your April 12 announcement of changes coming to Price Tags:

    “Price Tags aims to broaden its scope to focus on the upcoming civic election – the issues and candidates – not only in the City of Vancouver but across the region”

    Number of posts since then commenting on anything taking place east of boundary?

    0 by my count – OK, 1 – a brief post on Peacocks in Surrey (not related to the municipal election).

    It’s your blog of course, but if you were aiming to broaden your focus, I’d say it has narrowed if anything.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Indeed, our intent is to provide coverage across the region, and it is happening incrementally.

      While the majority of our election campaign coverage has focused on the City of Vancouver, many recent features on Richmond (ALR and housing-related development approvals) and Delta (Massey Bridge project) have included pre-election discussion. Last week, there was a dedicated post on the declared Delta mayoral candidates.

      Look for more coverage of candidates from other municipalities – beyond Boundary, and including Tri-Cities, into the Fraser Valley, and the North Shore – especially as the campaign moves past the various internal party nomination meetings towards the General Nomination Period in September.

  3. Hi Colin,
    Have you considered adding a ‘comments’ button on the top banner? Along with home, about, subscribe, etc. ‘Comments’ could be an interesting ongoing editorial column.

    1. If you mean a page dedicated to general comment (ie on no topic in particular), we don’t believe this would result in productive threads, as the word ‘editorial’ suggests. Too easy to spiral into political diatribes, which is what we suspect it could become.

      Topical is preferred, especially as we focus more on highlighting our newly consolidated editorial categories, now presented in the top navigation.

      All that said, we welcome editorial contributions from our readers, and will be making a more formal call-out in this regard soon.

      Thanks for the suggestion – we’re always interested in hearing from readers.

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