With the World Cup making Qatar a melting pot of different cultures and different nationalities, the country and its people experience different stories as told by different people. And each story is just as good as the other.
Fans from all over the world have been enjoying the celebrations of the World Cup in Qatar as they show their immense support for their teams. Many fans show different and creative ways to express their support and love for their favourite teams; among these fans is the "Todo a Pedal" cyclist group from Argentina.
Todo a Pedal received great admiration when they arrived in Doha on 7 November 2022 after travelling by bike from Argentina. The bikers were welcomed by several local and international media, where they showed their excitement for reaching Qatar just in time for the World Cup.
Telling more about their story and their experience in Qatar, the ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team gives you this exclusive interview with Todo a Pedal!
Todo a Pedal is a group of four cyclists from Argentina that share the same passion for biking, travelling, and football. Lucas Ledezma, the pioneer of the group, came up with the idea of biking to see the Argentina national football team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Since that moment, Lucas has never missed the important tournaments of his team.
In 2019, Lucas met Leandro Blanco Pighi, one of the four bikers of Todo a Pedal, and together they decided to take the challenge of biking to Qatar along with Silvio Gatti. Matías Villaruel Vercesi only joined the team when they were already in Egypt. For the fourth cyclist of the group, it was still an amazing feeling despite having no experience with such an exhibition.
As avid fans of the Argentina football team, Todo a Pedal has since made it a point to attend most of the team's matches. From the Copa América or CONMEBOL Copa América to even friendly games that Argentina is participating in, these fans are dedicated to showing their support.
Todo a Pedal took 6 months to complete their expedition, travelling from Argentina to Qatar. The group flew from Argentina to Cape Town, South Africa, where they began their pedalling journey on 1 May 2022.
The group travelled through 13 countries before finally arriving in Qatar. During this expedition, the group covered over 10,000 kilometres and 2 continents. When asked why they decided to travel by bike for the World Cup, the group said:
"Because we love [to] travel, we love the bike; we love football. We can mix all our passions. For us, [it] was a big deal and a big challenge to cross Africa and the Middle East. It was really really amazing, every day was a new surprise for us because we met a lot of people."
During their biking journey from South Africa to Qatar, the group expressed their amazement and the challenges they had encountered along the way, specifically the heat from the desert sun as they crossed the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region during the summer. But the group quickly gave a positive outlook and commended the people they met along the way.
"The sun was very hot but the people [along] the way helped us a lot. They gave us water and food and they spoke with us. When someone asked us where we were from and we say we are from Argentina, they say “Hey Messi, Maradona!” [And] they invited us to their house and it was amazing."
"One day we [travelled] 198 km in one day and after a while we had to look for some place to sleep and eat and people helped us a lot."
Todo a Pedal arrived in Qatar on 7 November 2022 after a long and fulfilling journey. And for the group, much like the trip, the destination is just as amazing. When asked about their arrival in Qatar, the group showed their gratitude to the country and its people:
"When we arrived in Qatar [it] was like a dream. A lot of social media from Qatar and from Argentina was waiting for us. Right now we are very grateful to Qatar because they received us very well." says Matías.
"From the day we arrived people helped us a lot. For example, we arrived here without tickets to see Argentina matches at the stadium and at first QNB bank supported us with tickets. And then, another person helped us with the other tickets. Now we don't have tickets for the semi-finals so we are hoping for some magic to happen. We say this because all the time magic happens on our trip. We feel so glad to stay here and we want to share more time with the people because Qatari people and the people of Arab world, are amazing!" exclaims Leandro.
The group also said they have a big dream of meeting H.H. The Amir to offer him a big hug and thank him for organizing the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Apart from that Todo a Pedal also gushes about the hospitality in Qatar, saying that this is something they want to share with everyone in the world:
"The hospitality was really amazing; they invite us, the food, the karak, Arabic coffee, it was a great experience for us. I want to speak with my friends, with my family in Argentina, and tell them about the warm hospitality here."
"We feel like every Qatari person or every Arabic person wants to show us everything in the country, so for us this is amazing because we are travellers, we love to know the culture."
Todo a Pedal also highlights the security in Qatar, saying that they feel very safe in the country.
Having watched all the Argentina matches, apart from the upcoming semi-finals, Todo a Pedal said that it was a great experience as they were able to cheer for their team from the stadiums. The group's favourite match of Argentina so far was its match against Mexico:
"I was so nervous before the match because we lost the first one against Saudi Arabia, so we really needed to win. We suffered a lot during the first half time, but it was amazing in the end because we got to celebrate [the win]."
Todo a Pedal's leader Lucas Ledezma was also able to step close to the pitch, where he witnessed Enzo Fernandez score the winning goal for the team!
After being asked about what they think of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the group said:
"Qatar is not a famous football team, but this was important too because we arrived in a country that doesn't play football like Brazil or France or England but all the people here were waiting for the FIFA World Cup.
So there is a big window [of opportunity] for us to know a lot of things, not just football. For us, this is amazing since we get to learn a lot every day."
Todo a Pedal also mentioned that they were able to watch the matches at the FIFA Fan Zones, where they loved being able to watch the matches on the big screens!
And, of course, the group travelled all the way from Argentina in hopes that their team would win the trophy. Todo a Pedal didn't skip a beat when asked to name their favourite player so far, as they answered a resounding "Messi!" in unison.
And when asked who they think will win, the team answered:
"In one way it's an easy question because we crossed a lot of Middle East by bike to stay here until December 18 to see Messi win the cup. In another way, I think that it's football, so anything can happen. Nobody thought Morocco could be in the semi-finals and Morocco is there. So we don't know, it's just a game, anything can happen. But we are praying to god to see Messi lift the cup."
Do you support team Argentina just like Todo a Pedal? Will you also take on the challenge of biking across countries and continents to cheer for your favourite team? Let us know in the comments! Do share this article- it keeps us going!
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