Interview: Manu Bustelo
First man to ride a bike downhill from 6800m….
Pro scuba diver…
Environmental & electric vehicles advocate…
Q: Hi Manu! Tell us a little bit about yourself as an adventurer, professional diver, ambassador, and environmental and electric vehicle advocate?
I have spent the last 20 years of my life exploring the world by climbing high mountains, riding a bike in lots of different countries and scuba-diving in our world’s oceans.
I feel blessed to have had this opportunity, since it has provided me with a deep first-hand understanding of the impact humans are having on our planet. I could see wonderful glaciers in mountains I’ve climbed repeatedly over years, melting and receding. I witnessed the loss of habitat of magnificent species in Central American forest, whilst riding my bike on them. I have seen astonishing coral reef systems full of life, as I have encountered coral bleaching and what looks like, to my eyes, coral reef cemeteries.
We now know for certain that our planet has encountered several natural cycles and deep variations through millions of years, all of them by natural causes. We now know as well that for the first time, those cycles and variations are being produced and impacted upon by us, humans. Since the industrial revolution, we have gone from being 1 billion humans on the planet to currently almost 7 billion.
Our needs for transportation have been fed by petroleum. The extraction of this liquid has created a lot of environmental disasters, most of them untold by the news. Burning gasoline by our combustion engine cars, planes, ships, etc is greatly contributing to CO2 increase in our atmosphere, cooperating with global warming, acid rain and acidification of our oceans.
We need to change the way we live. We need to think in sustainable terms. The mass adoption of electric mobility paired with renewable energy production will help us and our planet to become more sustainable.
Q: You recently completed a tour of Spain in electric motorbikes with Albert Bosch. What was the motivation behind undertaking this trip and what did you achieve?
Our main goal was to promote the use of electric vehicles and communicate all those aspects related to sustainable mobility. As you can see in our website www.andaluciaeventure.com, on a daily basis we wrote about our adventure and aspects related to the revolution EVs are creating.
Albert and I have been exploring almost all corners of the world, were we have seen beautiful landscapes, as well as others polluted and destroyed (check this funny video about it here). The extraction of crude oil has been creating havoc for decades. We believe that the mass adoption of electric vehicles will decrease crude oil extraction. We achieved a successful first time tour of breathtaking Andalucia using electric motorbikes.
Q: What were your experiences of the tour and what were the biggest challenges you faced on the trip?
We estimated to travel 2500 km spending about €35 per bike in total. You know what? We ended up spending €0, since in 99% of the places where we stopped to recharge we were offered free electricity.
Instead, our budget was spent on beers during all the hours we made new friends at the bars, restaurants and hotels where we replenished our batteries (and the motorbikes’ ones)!
Perhaps the biggest challenge we faced was to find a way to answer all the questions people asked about the bikes. Every time we stopped, citizens marveled and were surprised to see that such big motorbikes were electric. We noticed that people are getting used to the concept of electric vehicles, but not so much of big motorbikes being electric.
Q: What would be your tips for young people who want to be proactive environmental advocates?
To feel the world in three dimensions, in order to think and understand in three dimensions.
What I mean by that is that today’s lifestyle keeps the majority of us in the city; growing, studying and working behind computers. Before the industrial revolution moved our society to live in cities, people had a much closer relationship with nature. We need again to understand the three-dimensional world we live in and technology has made that easier for us.
You can now scuba-dive and explore the world oceans with relative ease. Diving equipment is comfortable and safe. You can climb mountains and get close to glaciers with relative ease. Mountaineering equipment is vast and state of the art clothes keep you warm at high altitude. You can explore forest, deserts, and remote corners of the world by riding in a comfortable bike. Experiencing the world first hand gives us much better understanding of the beauty of our planet and the ecosystems in peril.
Last but not least, the scale of what you do is secondary to your willingness and commitment to do something consistently, for the things you love and those that you feel need to be protected.
Q: What is your advice for aspiring adventurers?
To remember that sentiments without action are the ruination of the soul. A fascinating world is ahead of us. Technology is allowing us to push our endurance further, our limits further. It is even allowing us to reach world corners not reached before and soon… to be walking in other planets such as Mars.
An adventure is around the corner for each one of us. Thus, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground, moving step by step and building up knowledge with first hand experience.
Q: Do you have any more plans to tour or adventure with electric vehicles?
Yes, of course. Our Tour around Andalucía has only been the first step of much larger projects we have with electric vehicles. Albert and I feel that promoting sustainable mobility is just one element of our story. While creating conciseness about the need of electric vehicles fast adoption, we can also talk about the production of renewable energy, access to that energy in different corners of the planet, and the environmental havoc created by crude oil extraction, among other things related.
As a result, we have an important adventure in the pipeline which we are working on as I write.
Q: How can people stay in touch with your activities and what you are up to?
People can either visit my website www.manubustelo.com
Or join my conversations in social media:
I would be delighted to be contacted.
Thank you to Manu Bustelo
Author: Beth Lily Georgiou