2860 kilometers, 25 kilograms of luggage, 5 kilograms of tools, rubbed in calves and a capricious GPS: HACO Service Manager Geert Van Tomme traversed 9 countries on his loyal bicycle. Thanks to the necessary technical knowledge, a lot of perseverance and the support of wife Beatrice, our colleague bridged the distance Moorslede-Helsinki by bike. An impressive performance that brought him past some HACO branches.
As an experienced cyclist, Geert daily defies 35 kilometers of wind, rain and glaze on his steel steed to reach the HACO service department. The decision to visit some wish list locations – Berlin, Auschwitz and Saint Petersburg – by bike was easily made. Geert: “I pointed out my route completely on GPS. I looked as much as possible for suitable bicycle roads or low traffic areas.” From airplane tickets to a range of visa: a serious preparation preceded this masterpiece. Geert puzzled to arrange all dates, like the exact date to cycle into Russia and leave within two weeks. “I trusted on my previous adventures like my bicycle journey from my home to Rome and broiling tour to Djerba trough Marseille and Tunis”, Geert says. With fresh tires, renewed brake cables, shiny sprockets, intact brake pads and aerodynamic HACO cycling outfit, Geert began his voyage to the far North.
Geert paddled approximately a Tour De France stage every day. He also took 4 busses, 1 train and 3 ferries: adding an additional 900 kilometers. The result: an expedition that took him through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, and Finland to eventually return home by plane in Tallinn. Geert: “Along the way I took time to visit some HACO colleagues.” Geert visited the Dutch and German HACO branch as well as the FAT buildings in Wroclaw. Beatrice caught up by plane. Geert: “My wife joined me in Krakau. Together, we continued our journey to Tallinn.”
The necessary pit stops in beautiful locations such as Vilnius, the Latvian Rundāle Palace or Castle Peterhof in Russia really impressed the cycling duo. “The ideal relaxation”, Geert says. Because reaching point B safely everyday sometimes resulted in difficult decisions. Geert: “Will I take the shorter but busier roads today or will I choose for the unknown, unpaved road? It’s similar to my job: you never know what the day brings.” The experienced engineer used his skills during his cycling adventure. “During the trip I repaired my GPS, changed my bicycle chains, repaired a bike rack and even patched a hole in my cycling shoe with a coca-cola bottle”, Geert explains. True HACO ingenuity on a bike.
In between work, Geert is already dreaming of a next cycling trip. “Morocco from north to south via the Atlas Mountains or the route Agadir-Dakar seem beautiful future trips. Or cycling from Moorslede to South Africa, who knows...”, Geert concludes.