First Ride in South Africa

Yesterday after landing in Cape Town we had made the drive up the coast to Port Elizabeth. There were a number of stops along the way including Hermaneus for breakie, Knysna for lunch and Jeffreys Bay (home of Billabong surfing) on route.

After checking out the beach, getting some last bits and pieces and a bit of sight seeing, Tyrrell and I set out on our first ride tonight. We did a loop known as The Marine – a stunning coastal blast with the setting sun at our backs, but against an evil headwind. It was only as we approached the bend that took us onto the Sea Front after the University of Port Elizabeth that the wind swung around and pushed us home.

The whole ride on tarmac was big ring stuff that didn’t let is drop below 20mph and as we wound up coming into town our legs told is we were doing over 30mph. It was a good chance to practice some through and off work and share the tow, but as the sun quickly dropped below the horizon we still had a high speed 20 minute run through the streets of town and past the townships.

Stories over the last few days of riders being mugged for their bikes (or shot) along the roads which we were now making a lightless dash provided an added incentive to keep heavy legs loaded with lactic acid turning. As we pulled back into the drive of Tyrrell’s brother in law, it was pitch black. The sun sets quickly here, so there was no time for a leisurely cruise home.

Tomorrow we drive over to Knysna and on Friday preregister for the race. South Africa has a certain appeal, not just because some of us have just escaped from a northern part of England where there was still snow on the hills, but because there is a real sense of open wilderness here.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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