- Title: Forget Japan's bullet train, French rugby fans prefer cycling to stadiums
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: OITA, JAPAN (RECENT - OCTOBER 2, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (French) 31 YEAR-OLD FRENCH RUGBY FAN, ALEXANDRE ROUX, SAYING: "We bought a sailing boat six months ago, we have sailed it on the Mediterranean this summer and it is now out of the water to prepare it for a long journey, before we leave with no return date around the world on the boat. And folding bikes. I think we'll invest in folding bikes to take with us on the boat. That's the idea." VARIOUS OF LEPAGE AND ROUX ARRIVING AT OITA STADIUM TO WATCH NEW ZEALAND/CANADA RUGBY GAME
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 09:25
- Keywords: Rugby World Cup cycling cyclists Japan on bikes France New Zealand
- Location: ROUTE 28, KUSU, BEPPU AND OITA, KYUSHU, JAPAN
- City: ROUTE 28, KUSU, BEPPU AND OITA, KYUSHU, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA009B03K40P
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Planes, trains and automobiles is how most fans are following the Rugby World Cup in Japan, but for Alexandre Roux and Elsa Lepage riding fold-up bicycles around Kyushu is how they are taking in three of their five games at the tournament.
For Roux, 31, an emergency department doctor originally from Nantes in France who started playing rugby at the age of six, it was the perfect chance for him to come to the World Cup. For 32-year-old nurse Lepage, there was only one way of travelling she could think of.
The pair landed in Tokyo to see France's opening match against Argentina before taking the train to Hiroshima.
From there they unfolded their bikes and started pedalling, crossing to Shikoku, Japan's second smallest main island, then catching a ferry to Kyushu, the southern-most major island.
Roux said they had been following the coastline and the terrain had been "mostly" flat and they had cycled up to 85 kilometres on one day, but crossing to the mountainous Kyushu was proving to be more challenging.
The two were also travelling light, with just two changes of clothing each and a tent and sleeping bags for when they stopped at camp grounds.
So far none of the numerous snakes and other animals they have encountered have bothered them, although they got a flat tire shortly after they started their journey and
riding on the left-hand side of the road still takes getting used to.
They said riding bicycles allows them to cover enough ground while taking time to experience Japanese culture and meet people.
While unabashedly supporting the French at the tournament, former scrumhalf Roux and Lepage were also witnesses to a surprise win by Japan's Brave Blossoms against Ireland on September 28.
After they end their tour of Japan with the last France-England Pool C game in Yokohama, Roux and Lepage will fold their bikes and return to France. Next spring, an even bigger journey awaits them as they take to the seas for an open ended round the world trip on their sailing boat.
The folding bikes will be part of that one too.
(Production: Lucien Libert)
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