Everyone loves bicycles. They are fun, friends of the planet and they keep you healthy. Plus, all of Switzerland's major cities have bike sharing services. But what if you took a vintage bicycle and set it free to travel around the world? What if you wanted to keep a diary of its travels?
Meet Lucas Realini from the JunaProject.
This is no ordinary bike sharing service. Lucas and his friends took three vintage bicycles and repaired them: One that can be folded, the second one which can be disassembled, and the third one which can be extended and shortened.
The three Juna bikes are like superheroes - each one has its secret power! Next, they borrowed each bike to a friend with the promise of making it travel as much as possible.
Each bike will explore the world on a separate path, riding through the unknown and encountering different people and cultures.
"The idea behind this project is to pass on the bikes from friend to friend, highlighting the principle of sharing in general, and letting them travel around the world," says Lucas.
"The JunaProject is not only about bicycle sharing, it is also a project about friendship and respect. To express all of this, we have decided to use bicycles because it is a sustainable and ecological way to move around. The pace of the bicycle allows us to best observe everything that surrounds us."
Lucas lives in Ticino and has created the idea together with his friends in 2013. Soon, the project started to gather a lot of hype from bicycle and travel communities.
"It's a different way to travel and see the world. We borrow our three beautiful bikes to other people who will continue the journey living this experience. Our aim is to document this wonderful adventure with your stories, videos, and photos. They will be uploaded on our website and our social networks so that people can follow the story of each bike."
Spicing it up with 100 missions
Sharing a bike is fun, but having a mission to accomplish makes it even better. "We want to laugh and to interact with people in an amusing way! That is why we came up with the idea of 100 missions.
Each bike will have to accomplish them before returning home! It adds the thrill of an adventure to the travel. And our bike sharers have been very keen on playing along and go on as many missions as possible."
My personal favorites? Riding the bicycle under a full moon dressed as Dracula (of course!) and taking the bike to the movies!
Riding for a good cause
Lucas is very pleased with the results of the first few months of the JunaProject. "We have been featured in blogs, newspapers and even on TV shows, making the project quite famous... especially in Germany. Now we are planning to use this fame for a good cause, and we are working with charity foundations. We have created a fundraising campaign to collect donations from private individuals or sponsors."
"After the 100 missions have been completed, or at the end of this project, we will donate 100 bicycles to 100 children who currently walk from home to school every day."
The JunaProject goes on
Will JunaProject bicycles arrive as far as Milan? Rome? Vienna? Paris? Will they even reach other continents? Or will they be able to push even further, crossing oceans, deserts, and mountains?
We are looking forward to following these bikes and their adventures.
(Portrait photograph by Alessandra, other photographs copyright by JunaProject)