Vaalwater trip

Took a training ride to Vaalwater this past weekend. The aim was to ride hills on tar roads to get fit for the Momentum 94.7 cycle challenge. On top of it was to do a two stage ride. To make sure I am getting fit enough for my December adventure to East London. I covered a distance of 209 km for the weekend.

Left at 09H45 on Saturday and stopped for lunch at Nylstroom (Modimolle). From my house to Nylstroom there are no hills.

From Nylstroom to Vaalwater is in the Waterburg hills. Must admit they are big for me but will be small for those of you that are riding in Europe or in Natal. Must be getting fit as the hills did not seem as big as I remember from the previous time I did this route.

The road climbs up out of Nylstroom in steps leaving the Springbok flats behind in the distance. The hills are fenced with game fencing. From time to time you can catch a glimpse of Impala, Kudu, Nyala, Vervet monkey, Baboon,Wildebeest or a cow. The scenery then opens out to grasslands and crop lands. As you start to descend again into the next valley the peach orchards begin. Peaches are now in season and can be bought along the road at small stalls. Not to mention all the Sekelbos wood been sold for camp fires or braai (barbecue). After this there is a goat farm that has a restaurant and makes goat cheese. This would be a nice little outing for the family.


To climb out of this valley is the steepest part of the ride. After passing some game farms comes the monster climb. On the way back home I had to make some noises to chase the Baboons off the road, as I was freewheeling and reached a speed of 65 km/h. It would have caused a terrible accident if I had hit one of them. My heart rate monitor started to beep as I was not peddling down the hill. To the mother baboons in the trees this was terrifying. They just dropped out of the trees baby and all. Their feet were running in the air, so when they hit the ground they hit it running.  Fortunately the up hill is not to long in the direction of Vaalwater and then you are rewarded with a nice long down hill to Vaalwater.

First time I went to Vaalwater I had all these romantic ideas of a town surrounded by game farms and pumping with tourists. Well it has some game farms around it. It has a grain silo and a rundown town centre. This town centre could have come out of some middle African town. The buildings are in need of paint the roads are very fill of potholes. There are street vendors selling vegetables. Must say some of the nicest tomatoes I have seen in a long time. Signs everywhere to sell biltong (beef jerky). There are any type of biltong, starting at beef all the way to Eland.


I camped at a small lodge come camp site tucked away behind the sports bar. The sports bar is a nice neat restaurant come bar that serves very nice pizzas or steaks. Their salads are nice and crisp. They say there are two other places to eat in town. I have not tried them. The local farmers sometime come with their wives and children to eat out. Open people if you start to talk to them. They will enjoy a chat with you. Note big topics are the weather, rugby, crop farming and game farming.

Word of warning there is a night club where the local blacks like to hang out. This place has the music up loud and goes all night. Almost until the sun comes up on Sunday. Then there is the busy road that runs through the centre of town. This is one of the main routes to the mining and game farming towns to the west of Vaalwater. So any place you choose to stay at in town will have the back ground noise of the road and night club. The town’s name is also Vaalwater which means unclear water. This means the water source is caring a high particle load and the local municipality can not clean it up so good. Do not think it will harm you but bottled water tastes much better.

Left Sunday at 7H00 and was home by 11H30. Much more down hills on the way back. Early riding is best as it is cooler. For example on Saturday it went to 35 degrees on my cycle computer just before getting into Vaalwater.

Date to start Joberg to East London

Having done some organizing of my December holiday. I plan to set off from my house on 12 December 2014. Will be able to link up with anybody who wishes to join me along the road. I must be home by 28 December 2014. I am planning to catch the train back on the night of 26 December to be in Johannesburg by 27 December.

This gives 14 days to complete the trip. We will have to put some good kilometers in on the good roads to give us some time on the gravel roads and hilly sections.

20140914_165501See Life is coming back into the bush as Spring comes. This means it will be more pleasurable to do some training rides in the evening. Not much time left to get into shape. Remember if you are doing a long extended ride you do not have to do training before as you have time to strengthen up on the ride. However if you have to do 1200 km in two weeks there needs to be a level of fitness before starting. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the ride. It will also give you more time to explore.

So leave a comment to this post if you can join me. On the other hand tweet me @kennyfagan.

Feel the adventure of tour cycling

I made a short video to let you feel some of the adventures that I have had. Well I see it would be far better to write a book or sit and have short videos of some of the best stories. I am currently editing my first book. Looks like it should be finished by the end of the year. Take a look at this video. Hope you feel some of the excitement I felt when tour cycling.

You could join me along the road and make your own stories.

Joberg 2 East London Follow up

Have added more information to trip plan. Go Check out Joberg 2 East London page. Scroll down to bottom where new planning is added. Note no accommodation costs entered in table yet. I am working on places to stay on route. If we do land up camping wild then it is always nice to stop and have a nice shower and bed to sleep in every now and then.

Repair time

Repair time

Remember a good ride always needs a good service before starting.

Joburg 2 East London

Have started a new page on my blog for next trip in December 2014. I am looking for companions to ride with me from Johannesburg to East London (Settlers country). I will be adding more details of the tour from time to time. So keep an eye on this page and send me comments if you are interested in joining me.

Sondela cycle race weekend

This weekend I rode the Sondela Bela Bela challenge which is a road race. Did 102 km in 4 hour 10 min on my mountain bike. This is my personal best for a tar road surface. This was my second race that I have ever done. To busy riding to take photos on the road. Here is a after photo.


Then did the Sondela Bela Bella mountain bike experience of 40 km. This was my first mountain bike race. The course was flat snaking around in the African bush of the Nature reserve. Passing many wild animals on the way but was to busy negotiating the turns and sandy sections that I did not see any. This is a very well known reserve where you are allowed to do walking trails and cycling on your own. So I would recommend to come back and do the cycle routes at a much slower pace. They only have lions in a rehabilitation center.Well here is a photo of people gearing up and getting bikes ready outside the venue.


Note the save the rhino shirt. Here is a photo of the start.


Again was to busy negotiating the trail to take photos but here are some after photos. Must say the mountain bike riders are more friendly and laid back than the road riders.

20140518_110206 20140518_110150


Finished the race in 2 hours and 10 minute time.This is unofficial at this time but is close enough for me. Here are the two medals to prove it.



Is there anybody that has done this race and what do you think of it?


I see the correct spelling is Nylsvey. Looking back at my last post, I see that there was not much of an explanation on what Nylsvley is. It is a 40 km square nature reserve that is considered to be one of the worlds birding hot spots. There are also some antelope species, zebra and giraffe not to mention all the small little creatures. I have been told to be careful, as there might be crocodile that washed down stream from a crocodile farm. I do not know how true that is. Lucky for me it is in my bicycle training area. It is only 40 km from my house. One vet that visits my farm says he normally sees 160 plus bird species for a day. Well I am not such a birder as he is. You can find out more about Nylsvley at

Thought to add a few photos of back at work on the farm after weekend.


Bonsmara cows and calves on the farm


Good old faithful tractor that keeps farm going.