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  Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Kenyans enjoy Tour de Bolton
So you think those boys straining every sinew on the Tour de France have got it tough?

Nonsense. Compared to George and Arthur - two intrepid members of the Kenyan Commonwealth Games cycling team - the Tour riders are mere tricycle-loving toddlers.

For while the Tour weaves its way through some tranquil country lanes in rural France, the danger-loving duo decided they wanted to ride on rather more hazardous terrain.

The M61, yesterday. Possibly.

Namely the M61.

The pair are based at the Manchester athletes' village, but are due to compete in a road race at Rivington, near Bolton.

The Kenyan team arrived in England without their bikes, because they were in such bad shape, but were helped out by a generous cycle shop owner who lent them some wheels.

Ever enthusiastic, George and Arthur grabbed a map which revealed a nice blue road leading almost directly to their destination.

And so they braved the incessant honking of long-haul truckers, the erratic driving of stressed caravanners and even the danger of our speeding royals to check out the venue.

Amazingly, they reached their destination safely, and luxuriated in their Lancastrian surroundings before heading back to base.

Unaware that cycling on Britain's motorways is illegal, the duo repeated their voyage the very next day - but this time they were spotted and stopped by the police.

An apologetic George and Arthur - who are known as the "speed kings" in their native Kenya - told the bemused officers that bike riding upon the motorways of Kenya is perfectly legal.

But they were more than happy to take the advice of the police who redirected them on to the slightly less intense surroundings of the A6.

Kenyan cycling team outside shop that lent them bikes
The Kenyans get their bikes - finally

Inspector Chris Burrows of Greater Manchester Police said: "I couldn't quite believe my eyes. They reached speeds of 40mph.

"They were dressed in full training kit and did not seem to have a care in the world. Both spoke good English and were very surprised they could not cycle along the motorway."

The duo are hoping to use their knowledge to good effect when they compete in the Games at the weekend.

But, despite the excitement of their adventure, the chances of the Tour de M61 taking over from the annual French marathon remain slim.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Jonathan Pearce
"The Kenyans got themselves into trouble twice"
See also:

24 Jul 02 | Cycling
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