Robens interviews Neil Alvaro – alias the BiciClown – who travels the world bringing a smile to all he meets. He spends his nights in a Robens tent.
Who are you?
I am Alvaro Neil, although my nickname is Biciclown. I have lived ‘in’ my bike since 2001 and in 2004 I left my town of birth Oviedo (Asturias, Spain) and have never returned.
What have you set out to do?
I have no plans of going back, at least not before I have finished my project Miles of smiles around the world. Potentially, I may have finished by 2014, but plans are being delayed. I will be 50 by the time I go back home, a difficult age to enter the labour market. But I will not go back to my former job as assistant at a Notary's office in Madrid.
What do you want to achieve?
Biciclown comes from the fact that I travel by bike and I am a clown. I offer my clown shows to the most humble and for free.
I have performed at refugee camps, prisons, hospitals... You can see some of my performances on YouTube or follow me on my website. I’ve played more than 50 shows for more than 20,000 people. I do it for free because that is my will. Sixty per cent of the money I need to live comes from my own savings, 20 per cent from my sponsors, and the other 20 per cent from people I come across and believe in my project. For example, a stranger stopped paying the membership fee to Canal Plus (a private television in Spain) to help me.
How many countries have you visited so fare?
How many kilometres have you travelled on your bike?
Up to today – 114,023 kilometres.
How many nights have you slept in a tent?
Almost every day for the last eight years. Let’s say about 250 nights a year.
What is important when you choose a tent?
There is not one tent for a ten year world tour as I will face different weathers. I like a tent with a big porch in which to cook if it is raining. I do not care about one extra kilo but more about comfort. And I like a tent that has a colour similar to the landscape – so nobody can see me if I do free camping.
What do you like and what do you dislike about the Robens tent?
Nights are long and cold and I will have to spend many hours inside my new home, a four-season Roens Osprey 2EX, a great house with a porch. I call it my Fortress and I just miss a Princess. Candidates can send a mail attaching their CV with a full body picture (updated).
I really like this new tent, especially because I can pitch it with only four pegs and the space is big and it has a nice porch area. And I consider a footprint very important to keep a tent many years – I use mine almost every day. But the tent could have been 5cm higher.
And what I like about Robens is the service. You know that Robens is a company that listen to you. They take care of details and they want to hear feedbacks. Other companies do not even reply emails.
A good advice to people that set out to do something similar?
Do not do it. Life is easier raising a family and going to the office. Finding your way around the world with a bike is not an easy job. And at the end of the month you do not get paid.
Interview with Neil Alvaro in Salt Lake City, USA – 66 countries, 112,033 kms and almost eight years of non-stop adventure.
Follow Biciclown’s daily adventures on Twitter @biciclown.com
Check out Biciclown’s latest documentary video, The Nomad’s smile, at biciclowneldocumental.com
Check out Biciclown on YouTube: biciclown