November 2016

Pretoria to Cape Town

2 000 km

Supercycling Television Interview

Prior to the 2016 km cycling from Pretoria to Cape Town November 2016

Pretoria to Cape Town. South Africa. 2 - 15 November 2016

2 November 2016

We left from Wonderboom Airport at 05:50, escorted through the city's early morning traffic by the Metro Police reaching the Tshwane Executive Mayor, councillor Solly Msimanga's offices in Centurion after about an hour's cycling. He was to join us for a short distance on the bikes but due to logistical problems time ran out and he could unfortunately not. But we had a good meeting with him and other dignitories at the major's office. He assured us of his support.

ACDP President the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe (MP) prayed for us before we left. And in the spirit of the South African scene he did not pray for our safety on the roads but rather that we would not be thrown with stones and that our bicycles would not be stolen! Though we know that the risk of being hit by a car was far greater but the prayer did put a smile on my heart!

Then escorted again by the Metro Police blocking all traffic so we could cycle at fullspeed through the city and onto the freeway towards Potchefstroom! Nice as all traffic was stopped so we did not have to!

A radio interview on the bike whilst cycling was difficult with the roaring traffic passing us at 120 km per hour but it was done. And then a hot windy day. A very strong wind but blessed with the wind in our backs and we made good time. Despite temperatures reaching 40 degrees celcius (100F) at times we completed the 194 kilometers at about 17:30

The Team with the Mayor of Tswane/Pretoria Metroploe

Escorted by the Metro Police on the Freeway

One car behind us and one car infront of us

ACDP President: Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe

We were welcomed to Potchefstroom by members of the local cycle club who cycled the last 10 kilometers

Day 2 November 3, 2016

After a good night's rest we left towards Reitz for our longest day of the journey which included a 70 km gravel/dirt road stretch. My toughest day. My lack of training whislt on the Africa Mercy and short stops not having enough time to take in food took it's toll by the afternoon. I had to slow down on my speed and made an extra stop to eat properly which gave me new strength. Two of our cyclists's bikes were unsuitable for the gravel road and were put on the trailor. The rest of us could carry on but not without a few punctures!

It was dark as we arrived in Reitz at the guestt house cycling in the lights of our accompaning vehicle  ending the 211 kilometer distance in a strong headwind. A storm broke out with thunder and rain as we stood in reception! Just in time!

The Cycling Team

Jan Botha


Tim Lotz

Vernon and Karin Coomber

Day 3. November 4, 2016

Nothern Freestate; cycling towards Ficksburg close to the Lesotho border.  A much lighter day. 151km ending the day again in strong stormy head winds reaching the guest house as the rain started pouring down.

Beautiful Freestate Scenery

Travelling through real small rural towns!

Day 4. November 5 2016

Leaving at 08:00 after a full breakfast. Amazing that with one's food intake at least double if not trebbling the normal intake we battle not to loose weight which in practice would mean we are behind on energy intake and that would  make the days so much harder.

After 160 kilometers cycling which included 1 468 meters climbs we were higher than Pretoria where we started but also in the back of our minds knew that Cape Town is at the coast and that is at 0 meters above sea level - we had to go down. The other 4 cyclists were all from the Johannesburg/Pretoria area and unlike me are  used to cycling at these elevations and I knew it would take my body a few days to adjust to the less available oxygen at these levels.

Wepener, the smallest towm we stayed in. Dusty streets and African style shops on the sidewalks! But the guest house was great with wonderful food though we all had acute gastro the next morning that made the fisrt few hours of cycling interesting but all recovered as quickly as it came.

Lunch on the way

Day 5. November 6, 2016

183 kilometers from Wepener to Burgersdorp crossing the biggest river in South Africa, the Ornge River, from the Free State into the Eastern Cape and traveling through the town where I was born, Aliwal North (as well as the birth place of my mother) A pleasant day of cycling, hot, dry but the winds not too bad, my fitness returning and could feel the strength in my legs improving. Karen could not cycle for two days as she had a muscle injury in her leg and had to give it some rest. In Burgersdorp we ate at a real old time hotel; Karoo lamb tjops - the best in the world!

South Africa is caught in a severe drought

The Orange River as we crossed it at Aliwal North

Day 6. November 7, 2016

Dry hot windy and dusty cycling. I never drink frizzy cold drinks but the tins of ice cold Coca Cola in our support vehicle's coolboxes saved many a day - I called it black gas as the sugar and caffeine boosted one for the hours to the next stop.  156 km for the day to reach Middelburg late afternoon.

Thanks Pierre for the comment on WhatsApp on this one;

'Where did all the people go'

Day 7. November 8 2016

161 kilometers to Aberdeen and again a 1031 meter climb to reach our highest point today before we would start our final descent to the coast, 1 781 meters above sea level. Travelled through the picturesque and historic town of Graaff Reinette to Aberdeen.

Happy to reach the guest house. But a fright as we encountered the ghost in the hallway - we were all a bit weary that night. Non of us saw her moving from the hallway and we were thankful.

Many punctures we certainly had

Day 8. November 9, 2016

155 kilometers, extremely hot and strong headwinds on this day and an overnight in De Rust, a most beautiful town. Vernon got sick with a combination of heat exhaustion and gastro. He needed  two days of  rest and joined Trudi in the support vehicle that has been patiently travelling following behind us all the time at an average speed of about 23 km/h protecting us from the other traffic on the road. A wonderful thing she did for us.

Lunch in the heat of the day

Not a tree in sight!

Day 9. November 10, 2016

A mild 107 km to Oudtshoorn and an early arrival. I have a cyclocross bike meaning bigger wheels and stronger frame but not the ease and speed of the other bikes and Jan decided that that  was enough; he bought me thinner smooth tyres to make my journey easier. Thanks Jan!! It made a big difference. I did not have to paddle downhil while all the other were freeing, to keep up with them!

Jan fitting new tyres to my bike!

I also had the oppertunity to address pupils at a high school about the need of the poor and what can and should be done about it

Day 10. November 11, 2016

Another easy 100 km for an early arrival at Ladysmith. Time to reflect about the purpose of the cycle tour and what we were achieving. We stayed in a guest house owned and run by a Scotsman that left Scotland for South Africa in 1974. Again enjoyed good food and good comeraderie. Though few of us knew each other before the tour we were blending into a team of niceness! Enjoying each other's company and sharing our suffering though this type of suffering is always healthy building memories that will last a life time.

Day 11. November 12, 2016

On our way to Swellendam and some mountain passes to negotiate, the Tredouw pass. Again we climbed 1 220 meters. But what goes up must come down. And a long descent into Swellendam, the third oldest town in South Africa, established 1746. Strong head winds - 123 kilometers yet again.

But before we reached this pass near Motagu an impatient motorist fist gave Tim and I a rude sign as he passed us and then tried to run Karen and Jan over with his vehicle. Vernon was still with Trudi in the Prado and they started chasing after him, got a picture of his number plate and reported him to the police. Soon enough the police caught up with him and he was warned by the police. A formal charge was not laid as it would have meant Vernon would have had to go back to that town for a court hearing.

Day 12. November 13, 2016

The toughest day I think for us all. Vernon was back in the saddle. Very strong headwinds for the first 70 kilometers to the town of Bredasdorp and a sharp turn from a southernly to a westerly direction eased the wind, now from the side until we turned south again into the wind to reach Stanforrd. A nice cofffee and the last of the 174 km to Hermanus/Vermont, now thankfully with the wind. Though it was mainly down to the coast it was rolling hills all day long and a total of 1 813 meter climbs. We were tired as we arrived and so thankful for a beautiful place to stay and one day of rest before our final cycle to Cape Town.

Day 13. November 15, 2016

The final day of cycling to Cape Town International Airport. And what a perfect day. The winds from behind, cool wheather, beautiful open skies and all along the most beautiful coastline in the world!

141 km and again escorted by the Metro Police from Strand to the Airport on the N2 national highway.

2016 kilometers in total. Done. To put smiles on hearts and faces - the surgical need of the poor.