Bicycles

Ocean-going cyclist envisions a World With No Borders

Ocean-going cyclist envisions ...
Ebrahim Hemmatnia on the road in Brazil
Ebrahim Hemmatnia on the road in Brazil
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Melanie's buoyant body is composed of a marine-grade foam core covered with a carbon fiber skin, and is 6 meters long by 1.4 m wide (19.7 x 4.6 ft)
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Melanie's buoyant body is composed of a marine-grade foam core covered with a carbon fiber skin, and is 6 meters long by 1.4 m wide (19.7 x 4.6 ft)
Ebrahim Hemmatnia on the road in Brazil
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Ebrahim Hemmatnia on the road in Brazil
Inside Melanie's cabin, looking out towards the back
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Inside Melanie's cabin, looking out towards the back
Melanie features a cockpit and sleeping cabin, along with storage space for food, a sea water desalinator and other essential equipment
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Melanie features a cockpit and sleeping cabin, along with storage space for food, a sea water desalinator and other essential equipment
The view from Melanie's cockpit, on the highway
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The view from Melanie's cockpit, on the highway
When it's time to enter the water, Melanie's wheels are removed, and a clutch mechanism switches the drivetrain over to spinning the propeller
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When it's time to enter the water, Melanie's wheels are removed, and a clutch mechanism switches the drivetrain over to spinning the propeller
Solar panels on Melanie's deck are used to power onboard items such as the desalinator, navigation lights, and satellite phone
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Solar panels on Melanie's deck are used to power onboard items such as the desalinator, navigation lights, and satellite phone
Some of the pedalling power can be diverted to a generator
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Some of the pedalling power can be diverted to a generator
The whole journey will be around 50,000 km (31,068 miles) and may take up to five years
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The whole journey will be around 50,000 km (31,068 miles) and may take up to five years
View gallery - 9 images

"There is one planet, and if we don't share it wisely, we will lose it." That's what Iranian-born Dutch adventurer Ebrahim Hemmatnia said in 2014, before beginning a pedal-powered trip around the world. While his intention is to draw attention to how interconnected we all are, it's his unique mode of transport that's really turning heads. Named Melanie, the four-wheeled propeller-equipped vehicle can be pedalled on both land and water. Amazingly, he's already used it to cross the Atlantic Ocean – setting the Guinness Record for "Longest journey by amphibious bicycle" in the process.

Melanie's buoyant body is composed of a marine-grade foam core covered with a carbon fiber skin, and is 6 meters long by 1.4 m wide (19.7 x 4.6 ft). That length includes the cockpit and sleeping cabin, along with storage space for food, a sea water desalinator and other essential equipment. It's sort of like an amphibious version of WiTHiN, a pedal-powered boat that was designed to go from Canada to Hawaii.

In "land" mode, Melanie is carried along by four fatbike wheels, the rear two powered by Hemmatnia's pedalling. When it's time to enter the water, the wheels are removed, and a clutch mechanism switches the drivetrain over to spinning the propeller. Solar panels on the deck are then used to power onboard items such as the desalinator, navigation lights, and satellite phone.

Additionally, some of the pedalling power can be diverted to a generator. This charges up a battery, which in turn powers a small motor. As a result, Ebrahim can take breaks from pedalling without losing propulsion.

Melanie's buoyant body is composed of a marine-grade foam core covered with a carbon fiber skin, and is 6 meters long by 1.4 m wide (19.7 x 4.6 ft)
Melanie's buoyant body is composed of a marine-grade foam core covered with a carbon fiber skin, and is 6 meters long by 1.4 m wide (19.7 x 4.6 ft)

After a period of preparation that included pedalling across the North Sea, Hemmatnia's "World With No Borders" expedition officially began on Nov. 22, 2014, when he set out from Dakar, Senegal. He proceeded to pedal across the Atlantic Ocean with no support vessels accompanying him, reaching the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil some 68 days later. Although the vast majority of the 2,371-km (1,473-mile) journey was spent at sea, he did also have to pedal about 70 km (43 miles) from the Brazilian coast to the city of Sao Paolo itself.

He has since returned to The Netherlands, to raise funds for the remainder of the expedition by selling a recently-completed book – The Oceanbiker – that details his Atlantic Crossing. Once the trip recommences, he should be following a route close to the Equator, taking him through points such as Tahiti, Australia and Kenya, before arriving back in Dakar.

Melanie features a cockpit and sleeping cabin, along with storage space for food, a sea water desalinator and other essential equipment
Melanie features a cockpit and sleeping cabin, along with storage space for food, a sea water desalinator and other essential equipment

All told, it will be around 50,000 km (31,068 miles) and may take up to five years. For Ebrahim, though, it will all be worth it if it helps to encourage the free exchange of knowledge and ideas between countries and cultures.

"Borders were created by human minds, they can be removed by human minds," he says. "There is no need for borders, we are all human beings."

Source: World With No Borders via Velosophe

View gallery - 9 images
6 comments
Paul Anthony
Bicycle 🚲= two wheels.
Kaiser Derden
how many borders has he crossed thus far ?
MichiganDave
This man is doing something that is just fantastic. His vision should open the eyes of everyone who reads this article. Thanks for sharing this information, Gizmag!
EricRCoughanour
Is he able to cover the cockpit with any sort of cover while at sea?
Zachary E. Mohrmann
I have reviewed the photo's, and I just don't see where the wheels are stored when at sea...? He has no backup team to carry them along for him, so how did he go the 70 K to Sao Paolo when he reached Brazil's shores..?
Dr-Zin
Well, Ebrahim, good luck with that "no borders thing". Perhaps it will happen, like in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, France, and of course your beloved Netherlands.