Anthony Roux has started an initiative to encourage people to pick up litter from the sides of roads, after getting annoyed with seeing the same discarded rubbish while out on his bike rides near his home in south-eastern France.
The Groupama-FDJ rider has turned his Twitter account name into mon parcours propre by Anthony Roux, which means 'my own journey'. He started the initiative last winter as he grew increasingly frustrated with the state of rubbish on the sides of roads, especially after summer when tourists had left.
Speaking in an interview with his team, Roux said: "When I looked at the side of the road, it disgusted me to ride in these unpleasant surroundings. However, riding is my job, it's what I do every day.
"For a long time, like most people, I complained but didn't take action. Many say it is horrible, unacceptable. I said that too, but I didn't stop to pick up a piece of paper and put it in the trash."
Lancement du projet #monparcourspropre. Je vous lance le défis. pic.twitter.com/BOoSrVg1yIAugust 12, 2021
The trigger for Roux was seeing the same glass bottle in the same place for multiple days on end. Instead of walking past it one day though, the French rider decided to put it in his pocket before disposing of it in the nearest bin. He has now started taking a bag with him on rides or walks to collect roadside rubbish.
Roux also approached the Town Hall of Bromes-les-Mimosas, where he lives, to try and forge a partnership in order to clear the litter up. The Town Hall had already started planning for a project though, and both parties have helped each other since.
"The object of the game is that by seeing me put my hand in the dough, people do it too," he said.
"Many complain but do not act. It's to shake things up a bit and use my little image to encourage people to make a gesture."
He doesn't pick up litter every time that he goes out on his bike, or even every week, because sometimes those rides are essential for training. However, Roux estimates that he has picked up between 400 and 500 litres of waste since he first started a little over a year ago.
Roux now has plans to work with the Town Hall and create full days of collection, either by bike or on foot.
The Frenchman has also commended the new littering rules in professional cycling, despite falling foul of them twice during the Vuelta a España, where he was fined twice. Despite claiming that officials could make the zones for litter disposal clearer, Roux seems content with the outcome.
"I think the peloton is playing along, and anyway, we're well watched. I'm not ashamed to say that I got screwed twice in the Vuelta.
"I was happy because it also proves that it is taken seriously. We are on the right path."
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