‘I laugh saying “elektrik!” and ride two small rounds’ – more publications

Here you go, 9 more publications about the #elektrogirl journey to choose from, in English, Nederlands, Français, Deutsch and Italiano, each featuring a PDF-link below to the full article. Enjoy!

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1. Overland Magazine (UK / international) – December 2015 – (spread)

’… behind the lens…
Trui Hanoulle is freelance photographer, designer, travelling student and motorbiker. Combining a Belgian sense of the uncommon, a potion of nerve, and a keen eye for beauty, she constantly realises her passport is sheer luck. Bikes have taken her to a variety of places over the last 20 years – Iran, Pakistan and Yemen some of her favourites. We’ll be exposing more of her work soon, following her electric long distance return journey to Istanbul on a Zero DS. #elektrogirl is now her middle name.’

  • Text and photographs: Trui Hanoulle // download the pdf here.

Overland Magazine (UK / international) – December 2015 – (spread)

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Once upon a time in Gilgit, Pakistan

I came across a nutty video (at the bottom of this post) which brought about an old story.

  • Pakistan ! (how badly I want to return when seeing this…);
  • the roads or rather tracks these two guys are riding;
  • the way they are riding, a bit… well… say eh… sloppy? (does wearing an Afghan cap as a helmet adds to the thrill?);
  • the biker’s age;
  • THAT BRIDGE + THAT TUNNEL as of minute 2:45………………

Here is my story about the very same bridge.
2002, Gilgit, Pakistan

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girl in motion

During and after my journey, I was interviewed a couple of times. The editors mixed it nicely with my own footage thus giving a bit of a visual insight as well.

One interview was made by the famous national Greek tv station ERT about which I also wrote the blog ‘Le temps de l’auto-gestion’ (in Dutch with a French title =,-). These women and men have lived through stunning times over the last two years: the tv station was shut by the government, some 10% of the crew —professionals to the core— resisted and continued working without salary for two years, then the station was re-opened last June.
In 2014 I made a photo reportage about them. The header photo here of Christina Siganidou is from that series. She’s one of the most famous journalists and news anchors who stayed on board. The closing of ERT was an unexpected emancipation for her. (more in the blog post)
This summer they interviewed me in Thessaloniki. [in Greek + road movie bits & pieces]

The second tv-interview was made by Dutch online motorcycle channel MotoMe.nl with journalist Joost Overzee and has been subtitled.

[small side remark: since the silence of the bike is so amazing, I’m not too keen about the soundtracks, but well… you’ll have to imagine it =:-]

Music maestra !

To cover the longest possible distances on my electric motorcycle, my riding style had to be ‘moderate’ to say the least. Or say adagio to fit this post. Riding at 45-60 km/h through ugly suburbs, too much traffic or too much of the same, it is —admittedly— boring. VERY boring at times. If on top of that, sun strikes at +35° and it’s after lunch, NOT dozing off is challenge number one.
Enters one of the best insights I had creating this project: MUSIC !
Not just any music. I wanted suitable music. Music matching the nature of my ride, demanding a fine ear and attention. Over the last few years, I became acquainted with contemporary classic music. Thus it happened: two good friends, composer Annelies Van Parys and mezzo Els Mondelaers, compiled a playlist each. Though some bits became challenge number two, most was JUST right. New worlds unfolded; it was a treat. Gliding through the ugliest urban mishaps, I smiled largely. Their music kept me company on the lone rides and saved me from standing on my head on the saddle or riding backwards.

This video gives a very good impression of how I lived many hours on my silently whistling electric motorcycle, including the music in my helmet.
This was what I heard and saw.

[to have a better quality HD view, please click to watch in Vimeo]

Music: Sofia Gubaidulina
‘Jetzt immer Schnee’ (Теперь всегда снега) on verses of Gennadi Aigi for chamber ensemble and chamber choir (1993)
[no data about the musicians and singers of this particular recording]

Soundscape: Xena, the electric Zero DS motorcycle

Recorded during a ride in Bulgaria on the return leg of my journey.

‘Traveling is all about unwinding.’ – the first publications

Here is a journey on a motorcycle that offers, or maybe I should say obliges just that: to unwind.
And isn’t that what we all look for on our journeys and holidays?

On top op that, Xena, ‘my’ Zero DS, and I proved one of the main prejudices of electric riding to be wrong, even that of the manufacturer: YES you can ride long distances on a stock standard electric motorcycle. Though this is of course not what most people will do with it, the Zero is a powerful, maintenance free and silent motorcycle, for any journey, SHORT or LONG. It’s all about an open mind, an appetite for adventure, and curiosity. Though power supply will be tricky in these regions, I can’t wait to take an electric motorbike to Pakistan and Tajikistan. Really.

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You thought #elektrogirl had fallen asleep, off her motorbike, or just plainly off the globe?
Nothing further from the truth.
I arrived home safely —by total surprise welcomed by a good bunch of friends and family (banners and drums included!)— and plunged into writing articles, giving interviews and meeting some extremely interesting people at the heart of the electric motorbike development.

Here are two of the results; more to come.
[these are in Dutch only, but I’m preparing articles in English, en Français, und auf Deutsch as well. Published in spring 2016]

I can write forever and a day, but my advice is: just go and TESTRIDE these bikes. And get back to me afterwards. I’d be happy to learn from you too and to talk.

Entering Albania via the back door, the valley of Han i Hotit

Entering Albania via the back door, the valley of Han i Hotit


Buzludzha / Бузлуджа, the most mesmerizing building I ever experienced, period.

In 2014, writer Gaea Schoeters, my über-ex and still travel buddy par excellence, set one specific goal on our Balkan journey: seeing and climbing into Buzludzha. And thus it happened. The images I had found on the internet were mesmerizing enough already, but this place must be experienced, for words and images don’t come near to this fascinating, dilapidated communist monument.

On this journey, I revisited it with friend Paul Webble living nearby, and I will revisit time and again whenever I pass. Riding my electric motorcycle up to its front entrance (welded shut of course) was a bit of a challenge and I’m no brave heart for steep off-road, let alone rutted, hill climbing or descending, but I made it. There she was, Xena ‘my’ truly beloved Zero DS, a tiny dot in front of the concrete UFO.

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Witnessing the very sad condition it’s in, I give it another 5-10 years to fall to bits. The roof being perforated, weather has a free play destroying the entire structure below, including its stunning mosaics which are being stolen and vandalized to make matters worse. Truly heartbreaking.

Extract from the former http://www.buzludzha.com-website (now offline) :
State of the monument
‘Ever since the superseding of Bulgarian president Todor Givkovand and the political changes that occurred in Bulgaria from 1989, the state of the monument has been worsening. Portraits of Ludmila and Todor Givkov have been voluntarily destroyed. The copper adornments have been stolen. The building is slowly disintegrating; marauders are consistently breaking windows and stealing mosaics and ornaments. Nowadays, the monument is abandoned and no public institution seems to be concerned by the conservation of renovation of the building. The Bulgarian socialist party itself is not taking any action towards the maintenance of its most important symbol.’

BUT hope for the future is here : The Buzludzha Monument 
Funding has been found, at least for a solid start of the preservation. Restoration of the mosaics are being done and protection from the harsh winter elements have been installed for them. I’m thrilled to see this happen for many reasons.
A glimpse of the works in progress on RFE : Saving Buzludzha​, Bulgaria’s Mountaintop Communist Monument

Older links, still good for insight :
Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria : great images and text by Valentin Rüst, February 2014
fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouzloudja : the French wiki about the site is the most elaborate.
Inside Buzludja, Bulgaria
: this video gives a pretty good idea about the whole site. Made by a certain Andrew, July 2012. He added: ‘video is shaky as fuck because i was shaking too damn much from excitement’.

de niet-aanval en de niet-foto

We zouden nog even gaan wandelen. Dat was tenminste wat Nurgül en Mariana, mijn vriendinnen in Istanbul, me zeiden. Halfweg de namiddag was er ook ineens een bericht uit de lucht gevallen: een vrouwen-voor-vrede-actiegroep zou een sit-in houden in het midden van de belangrijkste winkelstraat, İstiklal.
Ik had eerder die week al riot police in full force een kleine machtsontplooiing zien ontwikkelen, precies daar. Geen betoger of anderssoortige groep te zien toen maar wel een volledig bataljon met traangasgeweren, schilden, helmen en maskers in de aanslag zoals ik ze had gezien tijdens de opstand in Gezi Park twee jaar geleden. Zelfs zo’n imposant waterkanon torende bovende shoppende menigte uit. Ja, er waren die aanslagen geweest. Zelfs aan de grens hadden de douaniers zich bijzonder pesterig gedragen. Maar die dag zag ik geen enkele aanleiding en ik heb er ook niet op gewacht. Mijn naïeve ervaring met Turks traangas stond me nog bijzonder helder voor de geest. Nee dank u.

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‘Le temps de l’auto-gestion’

Dat is hoe Eric Postiaux, de Belgische cameraman die al meer dan 20 jaar voor ERT3 werkt, en zijn collega’s, de twee jaar benoemen die ze haast bij toeval als activisten doorbrachten. ‘Mais je ne suis pas un révolutionnaire; je me considère comme un résistant.’

ERT was en is sinds kort opnieuw de Griekse staatstelevisie en -radio, vergelijkbaar met de VRT. Twee jaar geleden, op 11 juni 2013, trok de toenmalige rechtse regering van Samaras letterlijk en figuurlijk de stekker uit de nationale omroep. Officieel heette het omdat ze veel teveel geld kostten aan de belastingbetaler, omdat een groot deel van het personeel geen zak uitvoerde en een te hoog salaris kreeg voor dat nietsdoen. De ‘luie ambtenaren’ én een groot deel van de Grieken wist wel beter. ERT bracht ook ‘links’ nieuws, sociaal relevante onderwerpen, toonde de crisis en waar de schoen duwde.

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