The World Cup's most extreme fan
Rob Forbes spent more than 200 days on a bicycle saddle along his epic journey to swim, cycle and run all the way to the World Cup.
Although many Brit fans may not agree, being on the edge of his seat as Britain drew with USA last week must have been a comfortable place to be for extreme British fan Rob Forbes.
Forbe’s journey, which has seen him swim 20 km, cycle 20 000 km and run 89 km, has taken him all the way from his home in Gloucestershire, England, through Africa, to the World Cup in South Africa.
“I’m a pretty passionate football fan and I was desperate to watch England in the World Cup”, Forbes told The Times after he finally got some time to put his feet up at OR Tambo Airport.
Forbes was laid off work early last year and saw it as an opportunity to put his passion for triathlons to good use – as a way to get to the World Cup.
“I’m a keen cyclist and triathlete, and travelling around by bicycle is such an easy and sustainable form of transport and you don’t miss a thing from the seat of a bicycle”, Forbes said.
Forbes set off from England in October last year and apart from using a ferry to travel from England to France, used only his willpower, fitness and one bicycle to carry him all the way to South Africa.
Swimming from Spain to Morocco, Forbes then cycled through West and Central Africa all the way to Durban where he ran the Comrades Marathon.
Forbes ended his journey with a brisk cycle up from Pietermaritzburg to Rustenburg to watch his team play USA in their opening match.
Forbes kept his website Tri4Africa updated with videos and pictures as he travelled on his fully loaded bike and slept in a small one man tent.
“Sometimes I’d approach the local village chief and maybe take him a gift of wine or whiskey or cigarettes… I would just ask if I could camp in the village… the rest of the time I would just find a secluded spot on the side of the road to camp”, said an upbeat Forbes.
There were the inevitable challenges along the way as well Forbes says, “in the deserts you’re struggling for water, in the tropical rain forests you’re being attacked by ants pouring into your tent… with the weather condition the roads often became impossible, especially going through the Congo I hit a lot of rain storms”.
Forbes also got infected with the giardia parasite, but his greatest concern was making it to the World Cup in time – “towards the end I was travelling up to 200 km a day”, Forbes said.