Who we are

Project partners, adding concerns, energies and visions. A wild and cluttered way is our motivation, understanding structures and violence, the discomfort generates learning and roped up the path is safer.

The name

At the end, Rodada de Mel (something like the Honey Ride) is the name that we decided for the first bikepacking trip together. Like so many other things, the story of the name starts with a joke, which happened the summer we met each other. We were both invited as cookers for the summer camp at the scouts but both weren’t convinced about attending. They knew we had started meeting each other and a way to try to convince us was to tell us that we would really enjoy our Honey Cooking (out of honey moon). That was hilarious for us! Since then, some of the things we’ve done together have been of honey (de Mel). It’s a bit shocking to have such a sweet and tender name since we want to break with the romantic way of loving, however, it is a name that got momentum within time. We both love honey and it has played an important role in some situations since the joke happened, after so many jokes the name just got it’s own place. We did think about searching for another name that wouldn’t be so pink but ended up accepting that the newer one would actually be unnatural. We like the spontaneity of it and we already feel it like part of us!

All what we do communicates

The word. We are used to speeches on equality, sustainability, autonomy, commitment, truth … However, what are our referents? How are all of them applied? What’s real and what’s faked?

Our first challenge is coherence, that awareness that is so heavy in your backpack that you sometimes can’t move forward. What we think and say must go together with what we do. We put care at the centre; care of ourselves, care of relationships and the world.

We use project methods for everything we do

This tendency to call project to all the things we do got stuck to us in the scouts: Identify the reasons, make us grow, feel part of something. Transform and (de)build. This trip is a project born out of the complicity between us, the desire to discover (us), rethink (us) and share spaces, cultures and people. It doesn’t start when the plane takes off or once we have set foot in the house, it is not subject to a place or to some people, it is being built and transformed.

Right now: A bikepacking route, from Peru to Argentina, crossing the Andes through Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

On wheels!

We are two, there are no half oranges in here!

Gerard

Gerard was born on bike, as a child he used keep spining turns with the knees touching the ground.Sílvia, the mum
Now I see the bicycle as the greenest means of transport, I use it daily. I am curious, I have the need to understand everything that surrounds me and this has led me to study and travel quite a bit. I am a dreamer, motivated by a thousand ideas and eager to review everything and myself. I understand that the privilege must be linked to responsibility and effort.

One day I read the book of my uncle who went to India by bicycle and back. I was so captivated that I decided to go by bicycle with panniers to Holland, where my Erasmus began. In the Netherlands I started an industrial engineering project for a German mountain bike company, GHOST-Bikes. It consisted of the design of bikepacking bags for a double suspension bicycle.

Half a year later I moved to Germany to do an internship in the company in order to be able to continue immersed in the project. Although this job would be the dream of any student of industrial design engineering, it did not come without contradictions to me: I was working for a large company that does not have ecology within its values and this led me to reconsider many things. It was then when I came into contact with Zero Waste through several blogs and I aligned the daily actions with the values that I had always learned in the scouts.

The chance to try the best mountain bikes made me gain passion for this type of cycling and since then I prefer the dirt roads rather than the asphalt. When I had the final prototypes designed and sewn, I started a journey through the Alps to return to Catalonia while allowing me to discover the strengths and shortcomings of the product I had been developing, this was the first bikepacking trip I did and it did impact me a lot: since then this has been my way of travelling. Two years later, after designing a new version of alforges that improves the first I decide to make the dream come true from the first trip to Holland, around the world by bike.

Ariadna

Embarked on one of the experiences that I dreamed long ago, discovering Latin America. Take the backpack and get lost in cities, mountains and projects. What I had never thought of was that the roads and streets would be traveled on a bicycle, pedaling every kilometer. From a singlespeed commuting bike to go shopping in Igualada to a hardtail mountain bike, loaded with bags for a bikepacking trip. Thousands of km, mountain climbs and singletrack descends are for me an impressive and motivating challenge! It makes me exceed the expectations I have about myself, allows me to live and feel, fill the days of anecdotes and turn limitations into learnings.

Obviously, not everyone sees it in the same way, the reactions of the people around me were quite different. There are those voices who tell me that I shouldn’t be doing this and that I should instead look for a stable job, others say that I won’t manage it because I do not have enough physical power and others devalue it.

My family says I am an unconscious who knows neither the danger nor the limitations, for my friends I am a crazy and happy guru who is as lucky as it get’s, for QuatreCantonades I am an unremitting motivation and for Gerard I am a fierce who can do anything she wants to.The people who love me

The truth is that there is a bit of truth in everything they tell me and this combination makes me take the decision to embark on this trip!

I am curious, critical, motivated, and caring. I love the warmth of people and the security that gives us a healthy love network. This is my secret to dare, to know that in the wrong steps there will be some arms. Latin America has always woken me with explosive energy and the desire to lose myself in it comes from afar. I have cooperated in El Salvador and I have traveled through Honduras, Nicaragua and Cuba. Some of these countries have more depth than others, but all the experiences have helped me to understand many realities. Latin America has a complex history of oppressions and violence that dictates the present. Understanding Latin American feminism and the social movements that are born here are one of my greatest motivations since I finished my psychology bachelor. During this year I want to train and meet projects while enjoying nature and height, pedaling and the company, becoming more and more connected to the world, my body and to people.

 

The why

The reasons for a trip of these characteristics in Latin America. Our motivations to make a zero waste journey and what we call low impact bikepacking, thoughts on the ecological footprint and economical implications of traveling.

This trip starts sitting on a rock of Montserrat, before starting a long climbing route through the beautiful massif. The motivations of each one, the desire to do things right and understand the systems that govern us, led us to reflect on how it would have to be to travel the world with care. Starting from the base that traveling is a privilege, since it is not available to everyone, either for economic, physical or because their place of origin does not give them the option to move to other countries with Freedom, it is necessary to do a reconsideration.

Why do we travel? How do we travel? Are we aware of everything that creates traveling at a socioeconomic, ecological and human level?

All these questions have answers that shake our beliefs, our existence and the system. The answers always end up being the same:

Why do people travel? To consume landscapes, meals, people and cultures.

How do people travel? Consuming petrol deposits, resources of towns and cities, people who work for us.

What does traveling bring along in an ecological and human level? Destruction of the environment, inequality and loss of local resources, exports the culture of consumption

Consumer tourism is neo-colonialism and perpetuates inequality and social problematics. We often hear the sentence that “tourism is wealth” is a deceit that only takes into account those people who win by invisibilizing the vast majority that actually loses.

With all these previous reflections, summarized in two paragraphs, a new philosophy of traveling is sustained. It is evident that the privilege of being able to move freely around the world is due to us being born in Europe and being able to spend time and money. Based on that, the only way of traveling that we see coherent is to take responsibility and diminish to the minimum the negative impacts:

  • Stop consuming as tourists and start discovering as people.
  • Don’t take part in big touristic resorts and instead support community initiatives.
  • Avoid shopping industrialized products wrapped in packaging, eat what the local people cultivate
  • Do not objectify people while taking pictures of their lives but try to sit with them to know them better.

The bicycle

The bicycle is a means of transport that respects the environment, it does not cause atmospheric nor acoustic contamination. This allows us to go through towns and mountains without damaging the roads, observing nature and being able to approach the people who live there. Every kilometer traveled is a personal effort that keeps us connected to the realities and to our body maintaining a calm and human rhythm.

The bike gives us freedom and flexibility, it allows us to stop at any time to visit a town on foot, climb a peak, start a long conversation or even take a bus or train if necessary.

The “bikepacking” anglicism comes from joining the word “bike” (bicycle) and “packing” (from backpacking). It’s based on the self-sufficient base of cycle-touring but it adds the minimalism of the backpacking: reducing the luggage to a bare minimum to make remoter places more accessible. We carry the necessary material to live (food, tent, kitchen, clothes, etc.) as luggage and everything has to fit in the bicycle bags while keeping the loaded bike still manoeuvrable on technical singletracks. Therefore, we must take the least Luggage we can and make it as light weight as possible.

Bikepacking diminishes the comforts but it provides accessibility to remote places, by all types of roads and most importantly, it allows us to escape from the tourism of consumption we are trying to change.

We travel using bikepacking setups because we want to enjoy the ride as well, not only as a means but also as a entertainment by itself.

The footprint

One of the transversal axes in all we do is Zero Waste. This concept was born when the three R’s (Reduce, Recycle and Reuse) where reconsidered. It is not about bringing a daily bag full of plastics to the yellow container, but instead about not generating this plastic. It’s the tiny action, which often makes you question yourself ‘What can we do at a personal level to reduce the human footprint in the world?’.

Is it useful what we do at home compared to the amount of waste that is generated at the industrial level?

We appeal to individual responsibility, which is the one that nourishes the system. Each decision adds when it comes to helping the change speed up. In a globalized and fluid society like the one live in, what happens in a corner of the world can reach the other end in a matter of a click. What we do can inspire the people around us, communicate a reflective and critical alternative to the mainstream systems. The tendency must be to question the practices and create new alternatives.

The capitalist system is responsible for the excessive and disconnected consumption of nature, where the care of the environment and people has disappeared and is governed by the capital.

Where did all this end up?

Our grandparents and grandmothers were still buying the bread with the handmade cloth bag or went to the market with their wicker baskets. They used cloth handkerchief to wipe their mucus and had cloth napkins on the table, they were looking for water in the fountains, growing their own vegetables, making food preserves, stitching their clothes, exchanging with their neighbors …

There has been a generational loss of care, self-sufficiency and effort to move to a nonsensical comfort that generates dependence on a rotten system.

Recovering and rethinking more responsible, sustainable and respectful forms of consumption makes us feel good, connected to the world, taking care of the place where we live.

but How?

Generating the least impact is our decision and, in this journey through Latin America, we concretize it within the following actions:

  1. From the comfort of the combustion transport to the effort of bikepacking.
  2. From buying in large stores packaged goods to bulk food shopping in local shops.
  3. From drinking bottled water and soft drinks to using a water filter that purifies it.
  4. From the use a lot of hygiene packaged products full of toxic substances to the use of handmade ones out of natural and non-packaged products; solid soap pill, menstrual cup and clothing menstrual pads, toothpaste with turmeric, etc.
  5. From a tourist’s musts and bucket lists to discovering every corner; Villages, mountains, valleys, less known ruins and secondary roads.