Past the halfway mark
The M&G‘s Kevin Davie was about 2 000km into his cycle through South Africa on Tuesday—which means he still has about 1 600km to cover in 12 days.
Davie—the paper’s business editor—set off on April 1 from the Beitbridge border post with Zimbabwe, and is aiming for Cape Point, riding off-road and following the country’s longest mountain ranges.
By April 19, 18 days into his journey, he was close to Barkley East and heading for Dordrecht, where he plans to have his bike serviced.
The gears were a “complete mess”, and the left crank had fallen off. He also has had no “big [chain] ring for three or four days”.
“You’re asking your bike to do extraordinary things—after 2 000km you need to work out where to service it.”
Davie is now heading into the flat Karoo, where he hopes the ground will be harder and the going a little easier. This could change, however, if there are headwinds.
He has also stripped down to the bare essentials, and ditched his pots and pans, a cooker, and a camera.
“You have to simplify stuff and focus on the main thing, which is the cycling.”
He will however probably be carrying more water every day—about three litres - as he makes his way through the Karoo.
Davie said his trail—the ganna—takes the traveller from one linguistic group to the next and highlights cultural influences and differences. He said the landscape—and mountains—defined where people live, largely determined by the amount of rainfall.
Davie has been staying at bed and breakfasts about once every four days—where he usually receives a packed lunch.
The rest of the time he has stayed with farmers, or “people along the way”.
“You often don’t have to ask to stay the night. People will say ‘Good to meet you, come and sit down’. It’s fantastic, and almost the best part of the experience.”