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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

South Africa, February 2001

South Africa 2001

Lisa and I visited South Africa in 2001, starting in Cape Town by visiting a Jana, Radek's sister. Her family kindly put us up, and we were off on our very first tandem touring adventure. I got the route by writing to a CTC tour leader, and he was kind enough to provide not just routing and long stay information, but contacts on the ground as well while we were touring.

While flying to South Africa is not cheap, touring there is still incredibly cheap. For $20 a night you get a B&B for two, and frequently the hostess will do laundry for you. Tandems are rarely seen in South Africa, so every where you go you get treated like a celebrity --- kids would chase you as you ride down the street, farm workers would wave at you while they were in the fields. When we rolled into a B&B, the hosts, the dog, and the kids would run out to greet us. It was definitely an adventure to remember.

What was bad was that the roads were not frequently cleaned, and there was a lot of glass. We got so many flats that I ran out of patches and spare tubes! Finally, we got to do the Cape Argus Cycle tour in Cape Town at the end, which was a lot of fun, as they closed down the freeways so we could ride on them for this 100km tour. With 35,000 riders, it was the biggest timed cycling event in the world. It was so big that the tandems get let off in two waves: one wave for the competitive ones and a second one for the social tandems. When we were let off, the speakers blared, "Daisy Daisy".

I never did do a full on write-up for this trip because of a personal tragedy. Soon after I got back from the trip, I was hit by a car on the way home from work. That put me in hospital for 3 days and out of commission for months. By the time I was fully operational again, I had other things on my mind.

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