Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sat 11 August

A day in the life retrospect

Thursday morning dawned - a pearler of a day to start the test ride.  Shortly after 07:30 I set off into a cold morning.  Within minutes my fingers were frozen and my toes numb.  I cycled along in almost traffic free conditions.  The sky was big and deep blue with the rising sun turning the early morning jet trails a beautiful pink.  Life was just marvellous and I made good time for the first 25 kms up Baden Powell Drive.  The sea of False Bay was calm and turquoise  with soft waves frothing gently to the beach.  Early morning fisherman casting their lines and breathing frosty plumes nodded and waved as I rode by.   Other cyclists and runners greeted me cheerily and wished me well.  It's at those moments when I feel such joy and I really love life, the universe and everything!  As I rode past the shacks of Khayelitsha a gang of laughing, pushing, bubbly, energetic little boys came rushing out to greet me, offering high-fives and asking where I was going and where I came from.  I felt like an Olympic Champion! What a delightful portrayal of the human spirit.

At the intersection with the N2 the fittings on my left front pannier rack gave way and I had to stop, pull out the trusty boy scout multi-tool to remove the rack else it would have damaged my spokes.  I  was grateful that I had remembered to pack cable ties to tether the bag to the rear pannier and continue my journey decidedly unbalanced and with some steering difficulty.

After 40 kms I stopped at the "Big Strawberry" for a Ginger Beer and to rest the legs.  The last 25 kms were much tougher than the first 40 but frequent quick stops and internal bribery kept me going - I could have two jelly babies if I made it to the top of the hill  - then when I achieved that milestone I took three jelly babies and hoped I wouldn't notice....such are the games I play to keep the legs going round.

I was delighted when the signs started pointing me to Muldersvlei Estate which was to be my campsite and home-from-home for two nights.  Helen Starke, a regal and delightful lady,  runs a magnificent function venue for weddings and other parties. Helen is a wonderful hostess, her cottages are  warm and comfortable and the food she creates is delicious. Do look her up if you're in need of a good weekend away.

View of Muldersvlei Estate and my camp ground

The bike ready to be unpacked
and the tent to be pitched.
I cannot believe I did not take a picture of my tent - I think I was too eager to crawl in and have a nap before Christine, the publicist for FTH:K, arrived for a photo session.  Christine - please send me one so I can publish it here - thanks.  
So just to show I do actually cycle - here's me and my tent - thanks Christine.

And so the first day's ride came to a close - weary legs but no other ill-effects.

My very good friend,Marie Favard, lives in a cottage on the Muldersvlei estate just to the right of the building in the picture above,  She kindly afforded me a hot shower, bought me dinner, brought me copious cups of hot coffee and even made me breakfast on Friday morning.  For your kindness Marie I am ever so grateful - thank you for making my stay so easy and comfortable.  

Day 2 of the DILO.

After breakfast I prepared to ride on, the objective was to ride to Franschhoek, test my legs to the top of the pass then head back to Franschhoek for lunch and a leisurely ride back to Muldersvlei.  By the time I headed out the weather had turned nasty and a strong wind was blowing dark clouds across the landscape. I reviewed the weather forecast for the next two days and decided to head for home while the going was still fairly good.  Barely 2 kms into the ride my right hand side front pannier rack also collapsed, the weather turned worse and I was freezing cold.  I rode to Ludwig's Roses just down the road, where Marie is the manager, to tell her I had decided to go back to Cape Town a day earlier.  Marie, bless her, offered to give me a lift part way to save me a few hours on the road in the awful weather with the second pannier bag now affixed somewhat precariously to the carrier at the rear.  Beyond the call of duty she finally dropped me at Strandfontein, barely an hour's ride for me to get home.  That was so kind, thanks Marie!  

Lessons Learned
I took too much stuff!  After just one and a part days on the road I was overwhelmed with everything that had to be packed and unpacked and tied and untied.  I absolutely cannot see myself riding for 35 days under those circumstances.  This morning I weighed everything.  Bear in mind that I am flying Turkish airlines because they allow 30kgs in economy class:

Bike:                                            15kgs
Box to transport bike by air:           4 kgs
Everthing I packed:                       25 kgs
Total:                                           44 kgs

Moral of the story - I can only take 11kgs of stuff - now that will make a difference to the ride and the frustration levels.  I think I'll ditch the front panniers anyway so I'll only have space in the rear bag.

           Notes to self:
             1. If you carry suntan lotion - then at least use it! I already have too much sunburn on my face.
             2. Sunglasses - remember them
             3. Test the gadgets - I could not write the blog on the journey 'cos of some technical glitches
             4.  Remember to pack all of the connectors and cables for the above gadgets 
             5,  Spare brake blocks - nice idea!

Oh FTH:K are just testing a new platform and way of making your donations - watch the information box on the top right for details.


  1. As the storm hits hope you have a glass of red in your hand and give yourself a pat on the back for finding these things out BEFORE you leave. Will be following your journey ( and pledging some money ) C

    1. Thanks Carol - a warm fire and a glass of Old Brown Sherry are keeping the winter blues away. You're so right collapsing pannier racks on the real journey would be a disaster - I was so lucky to have a built in support system this time

  2. Hi Elred

    I managed Pick n Pay's radio station, and I would absolutely love to have you on the show! How do you feel about an interview - short and sweet?

    Please contact me on or 011 856 7686 to discuss further.

    Warm regards,

    Marzenna Almendro

    1. Aaah thanks so much Marzenna - I'd be delighted. Will call you tomorrow