Two French fans traveled from France to Qatar to watch their team’s World Cup match.
Mehdi Balamissa and Gabriel Martin cycled nearly 7,000 kilometers in three months to reach Doha and watch the France national football team play in the 2022 World Cup.
The two friends, both self-employed, took three months off to go to Qatar. They started their tour at the Stade de France in Paris, home of the French national team, and finished at the Lusail Stadium, which will host the Qatar 2022 final. They traveled about 115 km a day.
Speaking to CNN Sport, Balamissa admitted it was a “crazy idea” and added that they are “people with big ideas and no regrets”.
This wasn’t the first time the two friends had traveled by bike to see team games. Last year, they cycled from France to Italy to watch their country play in the UEFA Nations League. This time, however, they wanted to test themselves with a much longer journey.
While in Qatar, they plan to enjoy the World Cup and explore the country. They have already been invited by the French Football Federation (FFF) to meet their team and have been given tickets for all three group matches.
During the journey, they passed a total of 13 countries and encountered various problems along the way, such as flat tires. Martin explains that they have to be very flexible and adapt to any situation they encounter while traveling.
“You have to be really flexible on this kind of trip. Actually, the main part of the trip is being flexible and adapting to every situation as best you can. I actually think we did a good job.” gabriel martin
They stopped by campsites, hostels and hotels to stay during the journey. They spent most of the trip alone. From time to time, he would spend time with the local people and eat with them.
As they approached Doha, around 20 French and Qatari cyclists joined the two friends in the final stage.
“When we arrived in Qatar it was very special because it meant the end of this crazy journey and this lifestyle that we actually enjoyed so much.” Mehdi Balamissa
Now they plan to stay in Qatar as long as France remains competitive. They hope their trip will shed light on the importance of sustainable travel and have said they plan to offer bike workshops to children from disadvantaged backgrounds when they finally return home.