Cycle touring is an adventure, combined with a worthy cause it changes lives. “I learned this through experience”.
I was a young boy, maybe 7 or 8 when Billy Saayman came to our school with a slide show of his adventures, “a man that cycled the globe”.
Like most childhood dreams I placed mine on the back burner for 56 Years.
I left on my first adventure at age 63.
1500 km with my son Hannes, from Vryheid in Kwazulu Natal to Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape. Looking back, we were ill prepared! We overcame our inexperience, the pain of the saddle, the fact that it wasn’t a race and that walking was not a disgrace. It was an adventure filled with strangers of all kinds, the helpful and the not so helpful. We were mostly met by curious, kind and open hearted South Africans.
One thing stood out far above rest; the question everybody asked us “why are you doing this?”
I knew that this was the beginning of something extra ordinary.
Arriving back home in Kleine Monde, a small village on the coast of the Eastern Cape, planning the next adventure started almost immediately and “Cycle Cross Country” was born.
A few months later I embarked on a 2800 km unsupported, Solo tour to raise funds for a School in our local community. The forty-day tour took me from Port Alfred to Uppington, over Springbok, Van Rhynsdorp and back east to Port Alfred.
We managed to raise R22000.00 for the school with very little social media coverage and the exception of a small article in our local paper. Though my Son didn’t join me, he was my wingman. Hannes, set me up with a handy APP that allowed people to track my progress in real-time and made sure I had a place to rest my head, sometimes in towns where the horse was buried a long time ago.
This tour changed my life
Chain breaks, punctures and other mishaps was all part of the joy that I experienced on an epic journey. Fortunately, I had a better saddle this time around.
The rest as they say is history.
Recently Isabel, my wife went with me to view the flowers in the Northern Cape region, from Calvinia to Kammies Kroon along the scenic roads back via Van Rhynsdorp a 9-day tour of 600 odd km. She’s hooked!!!
This was followed by an 800-km tour via Gariep Dam with my brother “Boet Deon”, a much more accomplished cyclist. “Ruffing it” we camped wherever we stopped, sometimes on the side of the road, adding a new dimension to our experiences.