Cycling event pushes Japan-South Korea ties

Kyodo

A cycling event aimed at promoting friendship between Japan and South Korea will take place in the city of Fukuoka in November, with about 300 riders from Busan expected to participate.

The Tour de Fukuoka 2010 on Nov. 28 will be the first event of its kind. The organizers are calling on more people to participate and enjoy late fall in Fukuoka.

“Fukuoka is a very pretty city. I’m looking forward to it,” said Kang Sung Min, a South Korean who heads a women’s cycling club in Busan, which shares a high-speed ferry link with Fukuoka.

The organizers say they hope the event will help bring “Asian vitality” to the city.

The event will be divided into two categories. The first is the “cityride,” which lets cyclists hit various sightseeing spots and checkpoints leading to an artificial island in Higashi Ward. The second is the more competitive “criterium,” in which cyclists race on a loop-shaped course winding about 1.5 km around the island.

The criterium will have six divisions ranging from professionals to kids and even people who ride “mamachari,” the heavy steel bicycles commonly used by housewives for such common chores as grocery shopping or picking up the kids.

In the professional category, organizers expect 12 teams of 48 riders to participate. Companies meanwhile can send teams to compete in the corporate division race.

Applications can be made online through the end of the month at tourdefukuoka.com. For more information, call the committee at 090-9477-4852.