Cycle tour September 2017

San Francisco to San Diego

Another opportunity to spread the message of the global surgical need of the poor and to help doing something about it


The need is overwhelming; 2/3 of the world's population does not have access to safe affordable surgical care.In the words of mother Theresa after she received the Nobel Prize and was asked about the hundreds of millions she could not reach with her work, if was it not discouraging,  she answered; ‘No, it's not discouraging, we don’t count  like the world, we count like God; one at a time’ We can make a difference, one at a time and the next and the next.

The 6th Global tour was planned for September 2017 from San Francisco to San Diego.

Day to day account of the tour and pictures below

Help us to generate funds to serve the needy with free surgeries;

donations will be through registred foundations and tax deductable in the USA, Canada and The Netherlands

or write to me;

Interview August 2016

Supercycling DSTV Channel

Day 1-12

September 8 -19, 2017

Thursday night, September 7, a CMF (Christian Medical Fellowship) talk in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. So thankful to speak to young health professionals about the global surgical need of the poor and God's plan in one's life - unique for each of us.

Home at 24:00, in bed 01:30 and up at 05:00, bike in bag and bike bags packed, then Uber to Schiphol. Take off at 10:00

I slept a good 6 -7 hours on the flight to San Francisco just to eliminate possible jet lag after arrival on the west coast of the US - 9 hour difference.  Arrived at 12:00.

Welcomed by Dr Paul Linquest, an orthopaedic surgeon I met many years ago on Mercy Ships. He took me for lunch, then drove me into the city centre of San Francisco where I was staying with YWAM. I unpacked my bag and handed it to him. He shipped the bike bag the same day to San Diego where I will get it at the end of my tour September 19. An Angel. What a blessing he has been. It was such a head ache for me not knowing how I would  get the bag organised in my limited time I had available. So thankful.

That evening I cycled to Mariner's Warf and walked around... deep thoughts about my call, my future. Back to YWAM, so upset by seeing so many street people everywhere, some obviously stoned, others just sad, cold, hungry. Broken people and I know breaks God's heart. Such an opportunity to reach out and relieve the pain in the heart of our God.

Saturday morning, September 9, up at 04:00 and off to Golden Gate Bridge for my start down to San Diego.

I set my GPS on the coastal road, twice, I think three times. Still had the feeling I was not being led to the coastal road. I felt so uncertain and though I trust God's voice in my life  much more than the GPS! He is much clearer and certain!

When  I realised I was going through San Bruno, San Mateo, I knew the GPS has failed me. I was on my way to San Jose. But too late to turn back ... I'll just do the inland road, so many town, so many traffic lights, so many stops and the day became longer than planned.

Thought I would reach San Jose, look for something to eat and then down toward Aptos. Mistake, after San Jose, no food to buy, into a reserve, hot, steep climbs that never seem to end. Sometimes 12 % inclines (cyclists would know what this means, I could stiil do 8% but the load too heavy for steeper inclines) and I was forced to walk them out. (a friend and cyclist from Arizona wrote to me; The climb from San Jose over the Santa Cruz mountains toward the coast can be more than brutal.) Indeed, I thought. Now I know!

Many cyclists in both directions through out the day though late afternoon I was the only lonely soul.

After a long weary climb I reached Old Santa Cruz road and thought I should be going down towards the coast now. I paused a while to rest and a car stopped next to me 'I always dreamed of touring like this, where are you going? Well, you're at the top now, just downhill to Santa Cruz!' I was so happy to hear that, but in a car he had no idea what uphill and downhill meant. And like in one's spiritual life one so often think you have reached the end of the trial, the top of a steep climb and even sees 'signs' that it is the end, the road only gets steeper. But you trust your God, you know the trial will not be forever ... the truning point will come. Another 45 minutes steep climb waited for me and then at long last, the peak. The turning point, now 45 km/h all the way down for 20-25 minutes into 41st ave, Santa Cruz  and the turn to Aptos!

I so badly wanted to make it to church. Arrived, threw my bags down, in the shower, Uber and in church, a bit late but made it. So happy with so much deep peace in my heart.

178 km

Day 2.  September 10

Towards King City. The coastal road closed because of a mudslide at Big Sur that will take close to a year to clear. So the inland road, much, much hotter and isolated.

Hitting temperatures of 40 degrees celcius (>100 degrees F) somewhere between somewhere and nowhere :-)  feeling the toll of the > 15+  kg extra weight I'm carrying on the bike but overall an easier day.

Still feeling strong. Tired, tough day ... but OK

121 km

Day 3 September 11

To San Luis Obispo. 145 km.

You never know what the day might hold.

The day became hotter and hotter. Passed through the Chevron oil fields of California. All still good, down the side road of the 101  and suddenly the road stopped - dead end!!! I had to turn back for a few kilometers and entered the 101 - illegally ... I did not know but as patrol cars passed me and did not blink at the sight of the cyclist on this very busy dual road I thought it should be OK.

I needed something cool to drink and to eat but on the 101??? Then a rest sign and I pulled of. Only vending machines but I could get what I needed. A cold drink was sooo good! An elderly man approached  me. 'I have done a a few bicycle road trip in my days. Where are you from ... your accent ... South African, Netherlands?' And I responded 'yes, yes indeed'

Back on the 101 but not long aferwards a clear sign 'No Cyclists'

and I had to get off

And off to a dry and weary land.  Soon my cellphone, charging from my sun panel charger, read 'too hot to charge' And I realised my body also needed to cool down. Or we both might just pack up and get nowhere!

I found a small store in the middle of nowhere; airconditioned, sitting at a table, eating ice, chatting to the locals, keeping an eye on my bike outside. Time to go. I was losing fluid so fast, my energy tapped by the heat and forever uphills. Feeling somewhat refreshed, I left always optimistic that the road will be easier from here on. Hour and a half later I thought I was losing it; I was thinking about my days in the army, the symptoms of heat exhaustion. At some point I realised my thoughts weren't so clear anymore and decided to stop. Took a while and found a tree next to the road. Lied down flat on my back, opened my clothes, helmet off, gloves off staring at the sky thankful for the breeze. Forty five minutes maybe more before I felt better. One out of ten cars passing would stop. 'Are you OK?' 'I'm good thank you, just resting (and trying very hard not to die! and I wondered if it would be heart arrest or heat exhaustion)'

Got up, one more hour and I came into a town (who knows where) still hot and tapped by the heat, saw a Wendy's! Sat there for 45 minutes in the airconditioned area, large ice drink, ice cream and a chicken sandwich ... I think.

Outside it was cooling down as the sun was setting having lost so much time.

Back on the bike for the last 40 kilometers.

And the bike route took me back on the 101. Smooth sailing now to San Luis Obispo .... I thought and the climb started, the most brutlal but I tried to stick it out. It became pitch dark with traffic wooshing passed me, trucks and cars and lorries at high speed. I have good lights on the bike for which I was thankful. The climb became even steeper and steeper. I started feeling light-headed and realsed I was running out of calories on board. Tried to eat an energy bar but when you that tired you lose your appetite like totally. I had one bite and spit it out. Just could not swallow it. Stood next to the highway trying to catch my breath and catch up on reserve energy that must be lingering somewhere in my body. Then started pushing, dragging, pulling the bike uphill. About 1 1/2 miles.

When I saw the sign 'Brake check ahead' I realised I was getting close to the end of the climb. Later saw I reached a height of 1 200 vt. Then the steep downhill in the dark, my hands on the brakes, thankful for my disk brakes, and into San Luis Obispo. Fell down on the bed at 21:00! Tired, I thought! The toughest 3 days on a bike ever!

Day 4 September 12

Day of rest on Amtrak

Day 5 September 13

Santa Barbara to Santa Monica

150 km. Achilles tendon not too happy (partial tear a few years ago with hockey and probaly did not like the extra weight to paddle up the mountains)

But a beautiful morning. Much cooler. All along the Pacific Coast. Light breeze from behind. All hard times come to an end. God's blessings new every morning.

Enjoyed the day, the freshness of the sea next to me.

Two cyclists caught up with me. Had a few minutes chatting and they cycled with me for some distance and off I went. Just enjoying the day.

Halfway into the morning I stopped for a drink, not getting off the bike. Then someone else stopped and started talking to me (I just love this about the American people). Not long and he asked me why and where to. He was 70, a retired pastor but with a complete new ministry with young people. 'Jim Atkins' he said, was his name. Then he asked if he could pray for me; prayed for my bike tour and my life and walk with God. A truly Divine stop. Blessed. Refreshed.

Later I passed a group of about 7 touring cyclists from Spain and had a chat.

This was just a relaxing day after my 'near death experience' the first 3 days and particularly the 3rd day!

Then Malibu, Santa Monica and I was home for the night.

Day 6 September 14

Santa Monica to Fontana

105 km

Cycled mostly through an industrial area first half of the day. Grossly disturbing to see so many people living on the streets, even living in tents on the side walks - just heart breaking. In Los Angeles?

Along canals, mostly dry and overgrown with weeds. Not a pretty sight.

The odd cyclist on his way to somewhere.

My achilles started playing up. I did not care so much about the pain but was scared of a rupture. So I saved it as much as possible using my opposite leg.

I thought I would stop at 14:00 and look for a Starbucks but not seen one the whole day. Unspoken prayer answered; 5 minutes to 14:00 and I saw one in the corner of my eye. A coffee, a frapachino and  a tomato mozerella panini!

A long ride on the San Gabriel Cycle route and I thought of my call and the long road God had walked with me; the impact on my life the  book  'Is that Really You God?' written by Lauren Cunningham had. The book describing the roots  of YWAM, overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains,  Mercy Ships .... (a book I've given to so many dear people in my life)

Arrived at the house of my good friends, Lisa and Ken Haas in Fontana, Mercy Ships nurse and her husband, 2006 I think. I first visited them here at their home in February 2013 ... filled with so much pain, now filled with so much hope in God.

And now two days of rest and my talk Friday evening September 15, Loma Linda University.

God is good.

Friday September 15

A blessed evening at Loma Linda University taliking to well over 80 mainly health science students; medical, OT's, PT's, nurses etc. Really felt I connected to the group sharing my life's journey, my call and God's plan in each of our lives through total surrender. A call unique for each of us, our destiny determined by God before the foudations of the earth was laid. As we we seek Him, we will find Him and our destiny that we were born for. Many questions and one to one talks followed.

My heart was full as we drove back to the home of Ken and Lisa. 

Saturday, a day of rest and catching up. So thankful that I could go with Ken and Lisa to their church at 5 pm. Water of Life Community Church that I first attended in February 2013 and meant so much to me at that time and over the years. I watch their services online every week since. So two Saturdays in a row I could vist two churches in California that are so important in my life.

Sunday September 17

Fontana to Lake Forrest. My plan was to do Fonatna to San Diego in one day but then another unspoken prayer answered. I knew it would have been a hard day to do the more than 200 in one stretch, but I've done it before, with the extra weight but was worried about my achilles tendon.

A friend, Tim Lotz, that did the Pretoria Cape Town trip last year with me, put me in contact with his brothther living in Southern California and Andre invited me to stay over with him and his family who happens to live on my route and halfway betrween Fontana and San Diego! I had the time available and was happy to do exactly that.

Andre and a friend Ted  drove up with Andre's daughter, Natalie and met up with me not far from Fontana and cycled about 80 km's with me. I could also put my luggage in the vehicele and what a pleassure to cycle weight free - flying, it felt!!!

That evening a 'braai' that I really appreciated after 105 km cycling at a very comfortable pace.

But I was to lead the way - Google maps - cycle. No problem. I've done it now for close to 15 000 km in total since 2014, and all over the world! And then we got lost. Ted; 'You are in danger of losing your instrument rating!'he said in his loud American voice! Love them!

And then we got lost again. I felt a bit stupid. And Ted said; 'We have now crahed into the see, your certificate is gone!!'

But from there it went better!

Monday September 18

Left early and an hour from Andre's house and I reached the coast at Dana Point. I had the whole day to do the 122 km and what a relaxing day all along the coast.

Again, cyclists catching up with me making small conversations as we cycle along.

Last day of cycling San Francisco to San Diego

Sun in my face Wind in my back Ocean on my side Blessed in my heart Song in my soul to the One I love.

Last 10 km and I could look up on the right and knew from 2 years ago where the house of my hosts were .... way above me on the top of the hill. Another circle and I started the ascend ... steeper and steepr but determinned not to get off the bike. Left turn, right turn, up and up the road winded and then the last 350 meters - 9% ascend. Lowest gear and maximum input into my legs and I reached the final turn.

The end of another cycle tour. A blessed and thankful heart.

And a perfect meal with Mary overlooking the Pacific ocean with Opah fish from Hawai. Just wonderful caring hosts.

Program and Route – 7 cycling days

Depart Amsterdam Friday 8 September       

Arrive San Francisco 8 September Friday

Day 1. 151 km (SF/AP) 151 km                 

To Aptos 9 September Saturday

Day 2. 140 km (AP/SHS) 291 km

To King City 10 September Sunday

Day 3. 152 km (SHS/SLO) 443 km

To San Luis Obispo 11 September Monday

Day 4. 180 km (SLO/SB) 623 km

To Santa Barbara 12 September Tuesday

Day 5. 140 km (SB/SM) 763 km

To Santa Monica 13 September Wednesday

Day 6. 119 km (SM/F) 882 km                   

To Fontana – Loma Linda 14 September Thursday

Day 7.                                                       

Fontana – Loma Linda 15 September Friday

Day 8.                                                     

Fontana –16 September Saturday


Day 9.  227 km (F/SD) 1109 km               

To San Diego 17 September Sunday

Day 10. San Diego 18 September Monday   

Day 11. San Diego 19 September Tuesday 

Day 12. Depart Amsterdam 20 September Wednesday