The 'Pipe was on hand a month ago at the 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale when Jean-Gabriel Chelala huffed in on a 25-foot pedal boat, completing a 107-day transatlantic journey. It was actually the second leg of Chelala's planned 'round-the-world odyssey, which began when he biked out of Paris in January heading for the southwest tip of the Iberian peninsula.
Chelala plans to circumnavigate the globe propelled only by the power of his own pedaling: a bike over land and a pedal boat over sea.
Last week, Chelala was back at the same Fort Lauderdale pier, ready to resume his trip. He had taken a few weeks off to fly home and see his wife and family. "My wife was very glad to see me," the 27-year-old Chelala told Tailpipe. "But it's good to get back to this."
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The plan for the third leg, Chelala says, is to bicycle across North America, from Fort Lauderdale to the western archipelago of Alaska. There, he'll get back in his boat, which is being hauled to Alaska via truck, to pedal across the Bering Sea. Once he hits Asia, it will be back to his bicycle until he arrives in France. He says he's doing this to inspire people to achieve their own dreams and to show what humans are capable of.
This leg, he says, will take him about six months — meaning that, yes, Chelala intends to bike across the Rocky Mountains, then the northern plains, then Canada and the Yukon territory, all in the dead of winter. Don't laugh. Chelala did cross the Atlantic during high hurricane season.
Last Monday, with his father, Jean-Marie, there to cheer him on, Chelala pulled his bicycle up to the edge of the fisheries' dock to the exact spot where his boat first hit, and off he went. He rode up the cement pier, through the parking lot, down 15th Street, and onto Federal Highway. Soon, he blended into traffic heading north.
'Pipe says, bon voyage and au revoir. Maybe when he gets to Alaska, the still-Gov. Palin will be there to give him a warm reception.