The bikes, which are particularly popular in Scandinavia, feature a normal bike wheel at the front, with a scooter-style foot platform and a smaller back wheel.
According to the team’s leader, actor Vaclav Liska, says that because footbiking is slower than cycling, the team will ride for around 10 – 18 hours a day, in contrast to the five or six taken by pro cyclists.
He says the main concerns are a lack of sleep and a lack of time to recover.
The team is made up of the following:
ALPO KUUSISTO, Finnish, Multiple Footbike World Champion
VACLAV LISKA, Czech, actor, avid footbiker
JAN VLASEK, Czech, lawyer, Footbike World Champion
JAROMIR ODVARKA, Czech, youth trainer, multiple World Championship medal winner
MICHAL KULKA, Czech, running coach, avid footbiker
RENE KOENING, Dutch, sailor, avid footbiker
Speaking to Supersport, Jan Vlasek said: “We are not afraid of any stage, but there are definitely some that command more respect.”
But if it goes well, there might just be a repeat performance.
“It would be interesting also to cover the routes of the other two great cycling races when they turn 100,” he said.
“The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia will take place in 2017, but we can see a slight problem with the Vuelta which has had 67 editions to date. We will be in our sixties when the moment comes.”
It’s not the first left-field idea to come out of the Tour de France – this year a number of heavily guarded Corsican prisoners will be riding a stage, three weeks ahead of the peloton. They will replicate the hilly Bastia-Ajaccio stage, and have already been riding on roads and in the gym to prepare.
In 2009, we reported another prisoner outing for the Tour – in which the French Prison Service released almost 200 criminals to cycle around the country on various stages of what is officially called the Penitentiary Tour de France 2009. For the full story, and the thinking behind it, here’s a link to a longer feature in The Times (£).