How to Build a Solar-Powered Bike (Lots of Photos)

Man on a solar powered bike about to cross a finish line

Courtesy the Sun Trip

Congratulations to Sun Trip 2018 race winner, Belgian Raf van Hulle, who covered the 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles) distance from Lyon, France to Guangzhou, China, in 49 days - via Germany, Ukraine, Russia, then Kazakhstan. He pedal-powered it through a quarter of that distance without solar assist, to be sure not to burn up his battery in temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the Gobi desert.

Specs on his winning cycle are included here with a bunch of photos featuring the range of creative ways solar panels can be installed to power a bicycle.

This is the third Sun Trip international race. The Sun Trip lets participants select their route, provides emergency support and GPS tracking, and highlights the solar powered bikes participants dream up to carry them on their race to the finish line. The news blog tells exciting stories of the participants as they face technical and tourist challenges, including setting a new record of 427 km in a day (Team MND – Douze Cycles – Eric Morel), bouncing back from breakdowns, or succumbing to technical defeat when the fixes no longer hold up, getting stopped by the police, and other adventures.

If the photos here give you ideas, you can learn more about the Sun Trip 2018 race, or sign up for the Sun Trip Tour 2019 (this is the second "Tour" covering a route inside France).

Sun Trip Raf van Hulle technology specs
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Technology behind winner Raf van Hulle's ride

People riding a tandem bike
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike tandem

Tandem bike where riders are facing opposite directions
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike Justin and Anne Sophie

Bike towing a camper
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar camper bike

Man sitting in his recumbant bike
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike Herman Segers

Man showing off his bike
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike 2-wheel recumbent

Man riding a recumbent bike towing a trailer
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike 2-wheel recumbent with trailer

Men riding a tandem tricycle
Courtesy the Sun Trip 

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike Youssef and Mohamed

Two bikes with several solar panels
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike Viguier brothers

Bike with solar panels
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike Danu Jenni

Tandem bike with solar panel roof
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike tandem

Bike towing a trailer
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike classic with trailer

Woman riding a recumbent bike
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 solar bike Cathy Pozzobon

Tandem bike on the road
Courtesy the Sun Trip

Sun Trip 2018 tandem 3