Super Rugby fan’s round-the-world epic

2014-06-14 00:00

KROONSTAD — Durbanite Garth Lezard is combining his two great passions, world travel and endurance sport, for a good cause.

Lezard (40) began a worldwide cycle tour in December 2010 with one goal: to become the first Super Rugby fan to travel by bike to all three countries that play in the southern hemisphere series.

While he pedals on the long road, he’s raising money for United Kingdom charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. And with his background in photography and writing, he’s taking pictures that he hopes to turn into a book.

“My basic route is from stadium to stadium.”

Along the way, he finds out where the Super Rugby teams are training and makes arrangements to meet the players.

“I ask them light-hearted questions and take their pictures,” said Lezard, who was in Kroonstad in the Free State yesterday.

So far, he’s been able to meet players from eight teams, including the Highlanders, Reds, Waratahs and the Rebels in New Zealand and Australia, and the Bulls and Lions locally.

But it’s not all rugby, as a glance at his itinerary reveals.

Having started his tour in Durban, he’s already ridden from there to Harare. Then it was on to Europe where he rode from Athens to Barcelona. Next came Asia and the road from Hong Kong to Bangkok.

After that, it was onwards to South America, North America and Oceania.

Finally, in January, he was back in South Africa on his stadium-to-stadium journey and is now headed to Bloemfontein to meet the Cheetahs.

Then he’ll try the Stormers and include the Southern Kings, although they are no longer part of Super Rugby.

He’s planning to be back in Durban on August 3, meeting his home team, the Sharks, “in time for the final”, he says.

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