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Man rides bicycle 6,500 miles from Argentina to World Cup in Qatar

Making long trips on my bicycle began for me in 2014. I crossed the Argentine border for the first time in my life. Nervousness consumed me. I felt anxious to see what destiny had in store.

Lucas Ledezma
Interview Subject
Lucas Ledezma, 34, is a physical education teacher. Born in the Province of Córdoba, Buenos Aires, Argentina, he became an avid cyclist with a passion for traveling. His dream is to travel the world on a bicycle. He currently cycles to various destinations to attend sporting events such as World Cups or Olympics.
Background Information
In Argentina, the use of bicycles has increased by 27 percent since the 2020 Pandemic. Bicycling grew because needed to move from place to place with less access to public transport. Cycling also grew more useful for recreation. Today, more people are encouraged to make longer journeys by bicycle.

 According to statistics, 47 percent of citizens who ride a bicycle are between 18 and 35 years old, and they use this means for different activities, leisure, and as a means of transportation.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina ꟷ A group of friends and I started bicycling from Argentina to Qatar, South Africa to attend the World Cup. Each day we travel 50 to 60 miles (80 to 100 kilometers), stopping to rest at people’s homes, at hostels, or to camp. We have a goal to arrive in Qatar by November 15, 2022. We will have traveled over 6,500 miles (10,500 kilometers).

Cyclists enjoy the people, sites, and wildlife in Namibia

After a long journey through the semi-desert of Namibia, at the time of this writing, we arrived at the capital city of Windhoek where we booked a hotel for three days. Our ride through Namibia proved challenging. The arid environment and direct sunlight left our bodies hot and sweaty. Regardless of the time of day, the high heat made us feel heavy and tired.

Staying hydrated and focused, we made it to the capitol city, despite the heat. We arrived exhausted, but in good condition – empowered by our success.

While we enjoyed South Africa, it seemed difficult to connect deeply with the people. We aren’t sure why, but a spark was missing. Namibia is different.

The people quickly received us with warmth and kindness. We could feel their embrace as they helped us. They offered small things like water and food, while others made us feel at home, even though we were thousands of miles away from our own.

We saw many wild animals and interacted with some of them. One day, a rodent approached us. It looked like a rat, but friendly. It appeared to be in search of food. We tried chasing her away, and she returned, trusting and unafraid.

Cyclists discovers his passion, dream to travel the world

Making long trips on my bicycle began for me in 2014. I crossed the Argentine border for the first time in my life. Nervousness consumed me. I felt anxious to see what destiny had in store. The experience proved incredible. It motivated me to plan more trips

Up until then, I only traveled through Córdoba, my home province. I believe I inherited my love of cycling from my father. He enjoyed it and riding united us. I take that bond with me everywhere I ride.

When I planned my first trip abroad to Peru, I planned to go by foot, but I changed my mind. The group did not want to go by bicycle and the trip fell through. I saw the date of the World Cup in Brazil and it gave me a reason to plan another trip – this time from Córdoba to our neighboring country.

The cyclists on one of their stops in South Africa | Photo courtesy of Lucas Ledezma

That first trip kicked off my dream to travel the world by bicycle, to enjoy thousands of experiences, and to learn along the way. For me, traveling by bicycle became my way of connecting with the world. The wheels take me on the road. I can feel the bumps and changes in terrain. It opens my mind to new possibilities. I gain a feeling of freedom and happiness.

Making sacrifices to fulfill a dream

When I make trips, I consider destinations where I can enjoy events like the World Cup or Olympics. I once rode my bicycle from Córdoba to Mexico, took a plane to Spain, then cycled to Moscow for the World Cup in Russia. To date, I have cycled in a total of 21 countries.

I rely on my enthusiasm and when I set a goal, I fulfill it first in my mind. Inside, I feel an irresistible force pushing me forward. After completing the trip to Russia, I determined I would go to Qatar whether anyone came with me or not. Eventually, the boys joined in, and we planned the trip.

Traveling with a group has benefits and disadvantages. You must manage your money well. It can be difficult. I am a physical education teacher. When I take a trip, I go on unpaid leave. In 2019, I traveled with a man named Eduardo who had interviewed me for a television station in the province. We went to Salvador de Bahía for the Olympics. Eduardo introduced me to the group I am traveling with now.

Leandro, 31, works as a writer. He creates travel chronicles and publishes books. Sebastian, 42, works as a freelancer audiovisual creator and Silvio, 32, has a degree in tourism. He left an agency in Barcelona to join the us.

Group bonds as the trip goes on

We managed to obtain sponsors through the networks and as we travel, we record everything through photos and videos. This, along with support through our followers, helps us fund this amazing adventure.

Lucas during a ride through remote areas of South Africa | Photo courtesy of Lucas Ledezma

Our day begins as soon as we wake up. We enjoy breakfast while listening to music, then we organize everything and resume. We discuss the route and any possible modifications, then leave as early as possible.

Each day on our bicycles, we grow as a group, organizing ourselves better and spending only what is fair and necessary. We appreciate the support of our families and our followers, day after day.

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Eva is currently studying anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. She is part of the Guide Service at the Museo de La Plata and a member of the Body Studies Group (GEC).

In her free time, she dedicates herself to taking photos and developing different performing arts such as dance, theater, and circus.