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Eline Le Menestrel




The origins
Upossible is a project that combines climbing, cycling and ecological commitment. It started when Eline Le Menestrel discovered cycling and she realised what a pleasant and powerful means of transport it was. Until then, transport had accounted for the lion's share of her carbon footprint and she was looking for ways to reduce it. After sharing a few ideas of Bike & Climb adventures with Simon Kreutz, the concept matured and evolved into a more inclusive format. We didn't just want to go climbing by bike ourselves, we also wanted to inspire other climbers and outdoor sports enthusiasts to do the same. This desire came from a thought experiment one day when we were stuck in traffic to get to a climbing area:

What if there were more bikes than cars in the mountains?
Thus the question of time became central: How to make this sustainable approach accessible to people who work from 8 to 5 and still want to get out there to practice outdoor sports? We decided to visit four European major cities and cycle from the city centers to the most appealing climbing areas nearby. Our trip would be divided into four stages, each lasting the length of an extended weekend.
With this, we wanted to show how the outdoors could be sustainably accessible despite the time constraints of a full-time job. In this way, we were to become crash-tests, sharing our experiences and mistakes that should not be repeated.

Suddenly, Upossible was way more than an adventure shared between Simon and Eline. It became the meeting point between what we love the most, climbing and cycling, and what we think the world needs, inspiration and practical knowledge to get to the outdoors in a sustainable way. Hence, Upossible is now a platform for bringing together this community of people wanting to practice outdoor sports in a sustainable way. From the first idea to what we actually built up, the focus of Upossible shifted from performance to ecological commitment. At the heart of Upossible is a reflection on sports performance and its impact.

Eline and Simon

The 2023 trip
To choose the cities and climbing areas we would visit, we decided to choose big cities that had a minimum of 1 Million inhabitants. The idea was to really be inclusive and not cherry pick cities that are already very close to the mountains. So we chose to connect by bike Brussels and Freyr, Luxembourg and Berdorf (we were supposed to go to Birmingham but had an issue with the Eurostar train tickets) Vienna and Hohe Wand and Naples and Palinuro. Each stage lasted 4-5 days but we did them all in a row and connected all the cities by train. In the end, we were on the road for 35 days, visited 5 climbing areas, cycled 880km in 6 different countries and did 4515km by train. What an adventure! Here are some highlights of the trip:

Eline and Simon biking on road

1) Arriving to Berdorf by bike
We arrive in Berdorf, a small village in Luxembourg that we would never have heard of if it wasn’t for its magnificent sandstone walls. It’s easter weekend and the campsite is full, we see a lot of vans and campers. They seem gigantic. Our only equipment is our two bikes, each loaded with four cycling bags. The campsite we have been allocated looks huge once we have pitched our little twoseater tent. Seeing the contrast, I smile. I wouldn't trade our tent for one of their comfortable camper vans. Even if it's raining, even if we are camping half in the mud, I feel light and free. By getting there by bike, we had time to feel the landscape around us, to embrace its smells, colours, hills, views and little wonders until we became part of it. We have everything we need with us, yet remain easily mobile and autonomous. At that point I realise that it works, that it's possible. These ideas of sobriety and sustainable mobility work for real. I have the proof because I am living it. It’s the power of experience: once you have experienced a transformation, another way of doing things, you know that another world is possible, because it's inscribed in your experience. The utopia we are fighting for and the reality of the moment merge in this sensation of freedom. All we have to do now is eat, sleep and go climbing tomorrow.

Eline with her bike

2) Meet Wolfie on the night train
After finding Hohe Wand (Vienna's local cliff) under snow and not climbing a single route, we cycle the 80km back to the station to hop on a night train. At last, we go south. If all goes well, the next morning we will wake up in Rome. No more rain, no more cold, no more wind (always headwind), which have been sticking with us for the last 3 weeks. Except that taking the night train with two bikes and all the climbing and camping gear for a 5-weeks trip takes luck, lots of luck. First, we dismantle our two bikes and pack them in their bags (big canvas bags weighing 2kg that we carry everywhere) and then we put all our panniers in 65L Salewa over-bags because we don't have enough arms to carry them separately. Once on the train, we have to find room for the bikes, which can't stay in the corridor. The only solution is to cram them into one of our bunks. Too bad, we will have to sleep the two of us on the remaining berth (note for too late: don't count on time spent on trains to recover physically). We are stressed, tired and hungry, so we are having a little fight when a man in a suit and tie enters our compartment. He scans our chaos of belongings and asks in a neutral voice: how do you expect me to believe that it's allowed by the rules to stack bikes on bunks? Dismayed, I reply that we're counting on luck. He purses his lips in annoyance and resigns himself to sit with us. The moment after, he gets a phone call that sounds important. Simon gets up to close the compartment door so he won't be disturbed by the noise from the corridor. The man in the suit appreciates the gesture and thanks Simon with a nod. Thanks to this, he kindly addresses us at the end of his call and tells us in perfect English that he's a diplomat, working for the Austrian government and on his way to Rome on foreign business. He explains that he takes the night train as much as possible to avoid flying. Not bad for a boomer! What followed was three hours of fascinating conversations on sustainable mobility, individual action and the role of politics in the face of ecological challenges. Simon and I were blown away by the man's class and commitment. Just goes to show, some of the 60-year-old white men in power are also changing!

Eline climbing

3) A station 1.5km from La Severina, a magnificent wall filled with colonnettes and inclined at 35°.
To get to La Severina, our fifth and final destination of the trip, we planned a 160km route and spent a very long day on our bikes, tackling climbs sometimes exceeding 20%. Despite our fatigue, we are super excited to discover this new cliff. What's more, Gabriele, a local climber, will be joining us and will be able to advise us on the best routes. We meet him at the local café and, after a short chat, he tells us that he came by train and that there is a station 1.5km from the start of the approach walk... served by direct trains from Naples! What?! A village of 100 inhabitants in a remote corner of Italy served by direct trains from Naples? I can't believe it. I look at Simon in amazement, as if to say "all those kilometers when we could have taken the train?" He laughs and reminds me that it was a magnificent route. It's true that 160km for him is just a warm-up. I sigh and think about the energy I'll probably be lacking when I'm putting in runs on 40m routes... Simon continues to read my mind and tells me we could take the train back and climb another day. Good news at last! All the info on this magnificent spot: planetmountain.com

Eline resting

The spectacle: the output of the trip
Imagine the outdoor community has regained ecological intelligence and fosters the cultural shift towards another relationship to nature. Upossible aims to inspire outdoor humans to take the first step into a new way to practice outdoor sports. The message we want to get across can be summed up in 3 points: Adaptation is freedom, there is beauty in change and action is empowering To get our message across, we put together a Spectacle in the form of a mix of filmed and acted scenes. We have written a story that mixes reality and fiction, a bit like a fable or a children's account, with an underlying moral that everyone is free to interpret in their own way. Because there are as many ways of adapting to climate change, finding beauty in change, and taking action in the face of the climate crisis as there are individuals.

Eline and Simon in front of the sea

Upossible 2024
In 2024, with Upossible, we continue to go climbing from cities, by bike, in a long weekend of time. With this, we are consistent with out mission to show how the outdoors can be sustainably accessible despite the time constraints of a full-time job. What is new is that we are going to focus on multipitch climbing. We have planned 10 new destinations in Spain, France, Switzerland, England, Austria, Germany and Italy. We will play our spectacle in the cities we visit to share our message and invite people to join us. So we hope to see you on the road, on the rock or on stage!

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