Riding 7,000km seemed to be a crazy idea for Mehdi Balamissa and Gabriel Martin when they set off on August 20 on their journey to Doha from Stade de France in Saint-Denis in Saint Denis, in the northern suburbs of Paris.
“The journey was never easy, and we faced many challenges as amateur cyclists,” Martin told Gulf Times at Lusail Metro station premises, where the duo were given a reception while marking the culmination of the three-month long trip. “Yet we could reach Doha on time.”
They departed Paris with 20kg of luggage each, and carrying the French flag, the French national team shirt, and some necessary supplies.
“The biggest challenge was that we had to cover 100-120km a day while keeping mentally and physically fit,” Martin said.
The duo covered Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkiye, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Their story goes back to a year ago, when they met in Italy while the French national team was competing in the European Nations League.
Driven by the passion and love for adventure, Martin and Balamissa made the initial plans from Italy.
Balamissa said that they are proud to achieve their goal and will cheer for The Blues while exploring Qatar on their bicycles.
He said that their journey has been recorded through video and photos on Instagram to inspire others to follow their dreams and embark on new adventures.
Martin said that their journey was aimed at carrying the message of environmental protection and sustainability.
“We are planning big in Doha. We will ride on our bicycles while covering the tourism destinations. We will also support our national team in stadiums,” he said, adding that the French team has great chances in the World Cup.
The reception was attended by France’s ambassador to Qatar Jean-Baptiste Faivre.
Members of the Qatar Cycling Federation accompanied the duo to the function.
The French cyclist duo Gabriel Martin and Mehdi Balamissa are all smiles at the reception in Lusail yesterday, accompanied by French ambassador Jean-Baptiste Faivre and members of Qatar Cycling Federation. PICTURE: Thajudheen