Miracles do happen. Graaff Reinet is by no means a big town but it has character and a garage with a bike shop inside. My front tyre was now sporting two rather large holes and was strapped up with duct tape. Not good. I was ready to pay for a wrong size wheel or just some rubber to put inside but to my surprise a diminutive worker named Christopher found a size 28 tyre. I was elated and neatly hugged him. It was a small miracle but there was just no reason for them to have that tyre, as nobody rides bikes like mine here. It had rained all morning and the wind was awful but the afternoon gave me enough time to cycle to Aberdeen, a town which was built by the British and named Aberdeen as most of the soldiers at this particular location were Scottish. Well, it was a miserable, cold, wet and lonely evening. I could have been in Scotland, except I was completely sober.
There was an almighty wind blowing all day, the kind that makes you think a storm is brewing. And it was blowing directly into my face. The road was long and there were no towns or services for 120km. But there were the regular picnic spots with concrete tables and chairs. I was invited for coffee by a nice couple named Jeff and Judy, who were on their way to the Southern tip of Africa at Aghulas. I was also given a kit kat which I demolished in seconds. Later a newly married couple (it said Just Married on their car) stopped to talk to me and gave me snacks and sun tan lotion! They were a very likeable pair, and I hope they get in touch.
The straight road continued with little of interest except the monkeys that sat on the barbed wire fences and ran as soon as they spotted me. It was one of those unglamorous days until I saw the dam which sat just before a range of hills just to the north of Willowmore. The dam was impressive and the hills appeared green on either sode but the ridged one in front of me was brick red. These hills loomed ominously ahead of me, taunting my tired legs and shouting “If the headwind hasn’t finished you off then we will!”
I took a deep breath, put on the theme tune to gladiator, as well as a determined grimace like a demented pitbull and fought the wind and the slope. Going up was horrible, but coming down as the sun disappeared behind me was exhilerating. I could see the lights of Willowmore sparkling in the darkness ahead. I stayed at Rika’s B&B in a room the size of a village hall. I wish I’d had some friends with me. We could gave held quite a party in that room!
Almost to George 150km
Staying on the N9, via Uniondale. I managed 3 decent sized climbs snd spotted a few baboons. As sun set, I could have sworn I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in Switzerland. Green fields with cows grazing below mountains which were covered in cloud as if someone had laid a blanket of cotton wool on top of them added to the cold air was very Alpine indeed. Only an Ostrich in one field reminded me that I was still in Africa. Despite the beauty of the countryside, I was finding it hard and didn’t reach George before the sun set. I realized that heading down a 500m descent in the dark wasn’t the smartest idea so I stopped and camped 25km before George.
Mossel Bay 73km
In the morning I climbed that hill and flew down towards George. On the way I met a crew of guys filming a video called HappySouthAfrica and they asked me to be in it! So I danced on a wall clapping my hands to the music. They told me the video will be on YouTube in about a month!
At Mossel Bay I stood in the sea. It was a special moment made better by the afternoon sun. I had cycled the length of Africa and it felt like a real achievement. I felt I deserved to rest in this beautiful place. I stayed in the Santos Express Train lodge, a dorm in a real train, right in front of the beach. Spectacular.
398km in the last 4 days.
21,183km so far