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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Bicyclists from France riding across Canada venture south, stop into Crookston

  • They’re heading to Duluth to experience Lake Superior before venturing back north
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  •     If you were hired to start a new job but you had a couple months before your first day, you'd probably do what most people would do: Pack a ton and tie up countless loose ends.   
        But Alice Mazoyer and Charles Lerée aren't like most people. Instead, since they don't start their jobs in Montreal, Quebec until September, the couple from Toulouse in the southwest of France is riding bikes across Canada, the country they're going to soon call home.   
        So how in the world did they end up at Crookston's Wal-Mart Wednesday afternoon? Well, Alice said, they really want to experience Lake Superior and figure seeing it from Duluth is the best way to share that experience. So they dipped south across the border into Minnesota and the U.S. Highway 2 corridor, and, while in Crookston, they figured Wal-Mart was as good a place as any to stock up on some needed supplies.   
        With working visas, Charles will start a job in September as a bike mechanic. Alice is an interior designer.   
        They packed up their bicycles for the flight from France to Montreal and, once they settled in Montreal about a month later, they put their bikes on a plane again, for a flight west to Vancouver, British Columbia, and they've been riding east since June 13.   
        "We wanted to discover the whole country and meet people," Alice said in the Wal-Mart parking lot Wednesday. "We wanted to meet interesting people."   
        Despite Charles' profession, Alice said they're not typically long-distance bicyclists. "This is our first trip like this," she said. In all, she said they’ll travel around 4,500 kilometers.   
        While it's too early to say if this trip will be their last, Alice said the aches and pains early on were pretty intense. "The first 10 days were pretty bad with our legs," she said. A visitor's quick gesture toward her bike seat indicated the obvious as well. "Oh, yes...our butts, too" she added, before explaining to Charles, in French, what she was referring to.   
        But the discomfort has been worth it so far. "It's been amazing," Alice said. "Lots of people are so curious to see two people on bicycles, especially bicycles that look like ours."   
        Indeed, their bikes don't look like what most would consider typical long-distance bicycles. They're less aerodynamic and more...retro-cool?   
    Page 2 of 2 -     "And everyone thinks we're French-Canadian," Alice added. "We like to tell them, no, we're French, as in France."   
        Along the way, they utilize the website warmshowers.org, described on the site as “a community for touring cyclists and hosts,” to guide them. The site alerts them to hazards on their route and helps them find places to spend the night, whether it's a bedroom in a host's house, a campground, someone's backyard or a farmyard to pitch a tent, etc.   
        If you'd like to keep track of the couple's adventures along the way, they try to update their blog, "Yes We Can...ada" as often as possible. Thursday afternoon they were making their way to Bemidji. Visit http://lescompotesaucanada.travelmap.fr

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