- Title: Forget Japan's bullet train, French rugby fans prefer cycling to stadiums
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: KUSU, JAPAN (RECENT - OCTOBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS) LEPAGE AND ROUX WITH THEIR BICYCLES OITA, JAPAN (RECENT - OCTOBER 2, 2019) (REUTERS) LEPAGE AND ROUX BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (French) 31 YEAR-OLD FRENCH RUGBY FAN, ALEXANDRE ROUX, SAYING: "We have to folding bikes which a friend in France lent us and we carry the strict minimum for clothes, a bit of underwear and a couple of t-shirts, a jersey of the French team, and camping gear." (SOUNDBITE) (French) 31 YEAR-OLD FRENCH RUGBY FAN, ALEXANDRE ROUX, SAYING: "We've already done over 500 kilometres, road climbs have been quite manageable so far but it's going to get tougher soon." (SOUNDBITE) (French) 31 YEAR-OLD FRENCH RUGBY FAN, ALEXANDRE ROUX, SAYING: "But we take our time and we don't have any set objectives other than the rugby games that we will go and see - a total of five - and in between we go at our own pace even if our days are quite challenging, we leave at the crack of dawn and do a maximum of 85 kilometres in a day but on average we do around 70 kilometres every day."
- 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: LVA003B03K40P
- 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)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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