South African Cycling

9 friends cycle from Beaufort West to Worcester off the beaten track

2015-11-09 10:34
No stopping now!

Cape Town - What do 9 best mates do when the rat race of Gauteng gets to them? Well, they head to the Northern Cape and cycle 800+ kilometres of course!

On October 17, 2015, close friends Cobus van Wyk, Wynand Steyn, Leon Whitlock, Gerhard du Toit, Gerrit Brink, Herman Pretorius, Hennie Strauss, Retief Rossouw and Ruan van Rooyen, set out for 820km mountain bike journey from Beaufort West to Worcester! It took the fit men 10 days to complete the journey, with a rest day here and there.

The men said that it was tougher than they expected, especially the first couple of days, as they eased into the long distances, big mountains, head winds and heat. They knew it would be challenging because of the remoteness of the route, the lack of infrastructure, the extreme heat and the long distances. They had to start each day with approximately 8 liters of water, which added a great deal of weight to the already fully packed bikes!

They started planning the trip in April this year and all agreed that the Cederberg Mountains were an area they wanted to explore. The friends also wanted to incorporate a train ride, so a part of the Shosholoza train’s route was chosen – they took the train from Johannesburg to Beaufort West where they were dropped off, and then cycled the 820km to Worcester, where the train picked them up and took them back to Johannesburg.

The group prepared for the touch cycle by training together on weekends, and also got together for mid-week rides. They did 2 training rides to Ezemvelo Nature Reserve from Pretoria, with fully loaded bikes that led to crucial adjustments to their luggage systems.

Throughout the trip, the team cycled through several areas with absolutely no cellphone signal, where their Spot Trace satellite-tracking device really came in handy. The device allowed friends, fans and family to track them 24/7 during the trip and put their loved-ones mind’s at ease as they took on the grueling, remote journey.

Cobus says, “Day 4, Tankwa Karoo National Park to Biedouw river was our favourite part! I was amazed by all of the beautiful 'nothingness' we saw, and to think that there are plants and animals that thrive in that harshness is just crazy.”

The guys have all been friends for many, many years - some since primary school and others from their varsity days. It’s this bond that kept their sense of humour’s intact and they plan taking on more adventures just like this one. This is in fact the third “Die Groot Trap” (the Big Peddle) that the friends have embarked on together!

Asked what the highlight of their journey was, all 9 guys agreed that it was the friendly people they met along the way that made the trip so worth it; that experiencing the kindness of others, who will go out of their way to help regardless of their own schedules, was so refreshing.


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