SEQUIM — Friday’s chilled morning air reddened the faces of the family from France as their black tandem bicycle with a trailer on back rolled through Blyn on U.S. Highway 101.
While the temperature hovered just under 40 degrees, Alain and Sylvie Soulat say their hearts were warmed by the people they’ve met during a round-the-world bicycle trip.
And they’ve tried to do the same: Their 7-year-old son Aymeric-Ulysse, surrounded by books and toys, rides in the covered wagon bearing a sign proclaiming their quest for world peace.
As world travelers, the Soulats say they are more interested in the people they meet than the sights they see.
“We would like to open the door for communication,” says 44-year-old Mrs. Soulat. “People are the most important for us.”
The Soulats prefer staying with people they meet rather than in motels or campgrounds because it provides them the opportunity to learn about people. They’ve also stayed in schools and churches along the way.
“Artists are very open people,” Alain said. “They stop us in the street and invite us to their homes.”
Alain and Sylvie started their bicycle journey 17 years ago this month. During that time, they’ve visited 55 countries and pedaled more than 67,000 miles.
Their journeys have been interspersed with periods when they returned to France to work, where Alain is a firefighter.
Together, the couple write books and hold lectures about their adventures. So far, they’ve published five books — on travel, philosophy and the history of the tandem bicycle.
During their first 12 years on the road, Alain and Sylvie traveled through Europe, Africa and South America.
—The rest of this story appears in today’s Peninsula Daily News. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.