2019, here we go: cycling all the way from Brussels to Tokyo (and I’m not kidding)

Dries Van Ransbeeck
Road to the Rising Sun
3 min readJan 4, 2019


This February, Manon and I will embark on a journey that we’ve been thinking and dreaming of for quite a while: cycling all the way from Brussels to Tokyo, through the Middle East and along the Pamir Highway.

Our bike tour Brussels-Tokyo

A long ride which will take us 8 to 10 months. So yeah, it’s fair to say that we’ll spend most of 2019 on the bike. Nevertheless, this whole journey from the West to the East — or as we call it our Road to the Rising Sun — is about much more than pedaling day after day.

It’s about much more than cycling

The idea to undertake this journey comes from the fascination for the Silk Road, the historic trade route which connects the East and West, and our conviction that slowly but steadily moving forward by bicycle allows us to experience different cultures and habits, connect with nature, meet locals and absorb landscapes in a more genuine, authentic way.

While traveling through different countries, Manon will be working on her first documentary showing the potential of cycling as a tool for the emancipation of women. Besides being her production assistant to the best of my abilities and reading books, I want to take the time to meet, discover and learn from the many people we’ll meet along the road in general and, more specifically, from fellow enthusiasts working on digital social innovation/civic tech/open data projects which make this world a better place.

And what about my job?

Even though I’ll be out of the office and country for 8 to 10 months, I’ll remain part of the Open Knowledge Belgium team. It is true that it’s impossible to manage different projects and cycle around the world at the same time, but my story at Open Knowledge Belgium is not over yet.

I’m very excited about the way we have been to able to sustainably grown our team and projects in recent years and believe there’s much more societal impact to be achieved from within Open Knowledge Belgium as mission-driven organization. While being out of office, I’m sure my awesome colleagues Michiel, Astrid and Maïté will be doing a great job in managing projects such as Open Belgium, Open Summer of Code, HackYourFuture Belgium and Open Planner Team.

Follow our journey and help us find hosts

I’ve published our planned itinerary on an OpenStreetMap-based map with the name Road of the Rising Sun. You can find out more about our journey on https://roadtotherisingsun.be/.

Once on the road, I’ll be using the trip recording plugin of OsmAnd to record our tracks and will also add those files to our website.

Not to forget, do you have any family or friends living along our itinerary? Please don’t hesitate to put us in touch with them via this form! We’d be glad to meet them, and stay at their place if possible.

Last but not least, all the best for the New Year. May 2019 bring you a lot of fulfillment, happiness and crazy rides!



Dries Van Ransbeeck
Road to the Rising Sun

Making slow travel the new normal · Co-founder Welcome To My Garden · Former coordinator @OpenKnowledgeBE