Herve Neukomm of Switzerland has embarked on a fantastical journey to explore the Amazon, peddling his bicycle-boat from Ecuador through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
The contraption is of Neukomm’s own design — a typical Amazonian wooden boat fitted with a modern road bike. The back wheel is attached to two paddle wheels which churn the water, his left hand guides a rudder as his right rests on the handle bars.
The boat has a hammock, a bed, storage for luggage, food and water, and a solar panel to charge his iPod and camera. He fishes out of the river, buys fruit from local vendors, who likewise often travel by boat, and collects rain water that runs off his roof.
After biking through the Middle East, Africa and South America in a more traditional fashion (though still adventurous and impressive considering the endurance, language prowess, and Buddhistic calm required) Neukomm decided to do something never done before — bike down the Amazon river.
The Swiss adventurer is an ardent supporter of energy efficiency, sustainable travel, and low impact living, but he’s no Luddite when it comes to technology. He has written extensively about his travels and video documented his bicycle-boat adventures at HervePuraVida.
The goal of his trip is not to reach the Atlantic as quickly as possible. Instead, Neukomm intends to explore, to paddle upstream on as many of the Amazon’s tributaries as he can, and to visit the truly remote places.
“I have to go again, but it’s hard to leave the modern comfort of society for the unknown and insecure life. I cannot wait to go but [at] the same time, I feel nervous, almost afraid. It’s a normal sensation, I always [get] it before the departure, but as soon [as] I’m on my saddle, I feel the sensation of freedom again, the coastal wind [blowing] my hair, the big open road in front of me, my eyes get wet and inside I feel confident and impatient for more adventures. All my fears, doubts, get washed [away] in a few seconds,” wrote Neukomm.