Carnival at Coupe Icare 2012

France break - Posted On

For many years St Hilaire du Touvet, nearby Grenoble, my birthplace in France, hosts the famous Coupe Icare, the largest paragliding free flying festival in the world. One of it most renowned event is the fantasy competition of paragliding pilots. When leaving for my tour I had planned that I should end my tour with arriving at that precise 2012 one. Plans have changed but still we are there! 

For the fantasy event, I decide to invent the flying cyclowanderer bicycle. As my own bike is on the other side of the world, I borrow the old bicycle of my uncle, and put some panniers around. Hanging the whole thing at a tree, I attach a strong double rope that goes from the middle bar to the rear pannier rack via a loop through my carabineers of the paraglide. Then, I attach to the same carabineers my usual harness so that I’m safe under my wing.

Nadège makes a beautiful unicorn and wrap herself into it.

After a first training at Lans en Vercors, we bring our inventions up to the great event. It’s quite a challenge as the take off is quite trickier up there. And thousands of people are watching! The hundred and so dressed up pilots take off in crazy different ways. What an imagination! Flying boosts up the human dreams and people realize here the very essence of their dream. 

Nadège takes off on her first go, good on her! A unicorn can really fly! However, with the little wind we get, I’m having real hard time managing the whole wing on my own. I must try three times before I can manage to throw myself  literally in the wide hole in front of us…. The wing collapses on the side, reopens, and I’m in the air, for the first time with my dear bicycle, above the high cliffs of La Chartreuse! A dream has come true! Landing is very easy; I can even roll and kite with the wing above, very good to impress the jury!

And the big surprise happens at the rewarding ceremony. I got the third solo fantasy prize! 

The Coupe Icare is also an immense opportunity for meeting nearly all of the sponsors of Fly’n’Roll, as well as getting to know new ones. Also some people I have met on my tour in different countries appear there, what amazement! 

Magic, this was a magic event!