They say part of a holiday is the planning . The next is getting there which in our case will be the holiday. The destination will be the smallest part. Last the way back is also part of the adventure.
I have been keeping touch with my dad regularly. He sure is living out the planning and training for his cycle holiday. He is working hard and has been on a exercise schedule. He is now on to the cycling every day stage. His exercise has effected his blood pressure. He is normally on blood pressure tables. He monitors his blood pressure and has had to stop taking tables as his blood pressure has come right. As with age there are lots of other things you have to look out for with your health.
He is concerned that his health will hold out for the whole trip. I just keep on telling him we are going to go at his pace and if he has any problems we can rest or if worse comes to worse we can find a bus home.
As with all first time tour cyclist, he has a long list of questions.
Gear is one question:
I just keep saying that you do not have to have the most expensive gear.
Take time to find the things you need and do not buy the first thing you see.
Normally we buy too much gear and cannot pack all. Land up having to leave some behind.
Find what you have around the house and modify it if you need to.
Should he get a more comfortable saddle or riding pants. Well I say that if you going slow and doing sight seeing. It is up to you. Which ever you feel comfortable in.
Should he put slicks on. Well he is not going to go heavy off-road. It will probably help to get a more easy roll.
Clothing to take with:
Hard to say to a person that is used to been set in their ways to leave most things at home. Time to rank needs and wants. Summer tour will always have rain in this area. Then there are the night time mosquitoes to keep off. Wind chill when it rains. The scorching heat at mid day and afternoon. Then something to swim in. Light backpacking towel.
Well back to me. I have stopped training and now resting for the Momentum 94.7 this weekend. Will let you know next week how it went.
Time is running out to get ready for the next trip from Johannesburg to East London in December. Get your gear and ride together.
Leave a comment if you interested in joining me. Or drop a tweet on @kennyfagan.
Put bicycle in for major repairs. Put new cassettes,Bottom bracket, bearings on wheels and back disc brake pads. They went through the bike and tuned it. Did this because there has been all sorts of sounds coming from the bike. Every time I ride it feels like the bike is not going to make it.
Got it home and did a ride to see how it is going. First put my panniers on and put 3 litre water in it to get some weight training again. Bike went like a dream. By the end of the first 10 km dirt road it started to creek again. By the time I got home 77 km later it was not sounding so good. I am sure it must be the bottom bracket again. Looks like I will have to get an expensive bottom bracket. Need to be able to clean them and lube the bearings. Looks like these sealed bearings just cannot take dust. I did not even go in the water or rain, it was a dry ride.
Is there some advice from one of you followers? @mtbdiyshed says I should look at some stainless steel or titanium or platinum bearings.
Thought to do a few long day rides this long weekend. So off I cycled to Nylstroom and purchased some slime, knowing my back wheel was dry. Using some insulation tap strapped it to my carrier. Next stop was the biltong shop (beef jerky shop) to make sure the stomach had something to work on. Planning to ride for a full day with no stop for lunch. Then a little extra water just to fill up the water used to ride to Nylstroom.
I love the signs I find along the road. Take a look at this. Every winter there is run away fires that are very difficult to stop in these mountains. They sometimes burn for days. Normally fanned by a strong wind. They often burn down game lodges and farm houses. Not easy to get into the hills with fire fighting vehicles so they have to fight on foot. Due to the trees and wind these types of fires are best put out by fire fighting vehicles and helicopters. However cost of helicopters is prohibitive.
There were some nice climbs with some good solid gravel. I can see in the rainy season the road gets washed away in places. May get a little slippery. So if you want to try the Nyl zen oog road winter would probably be better.
Interesting to watch the farms and lodges along this road. Most farms were small and can be seen that their economic viability has been pushed to the limit. Most turning to a mix of guest farms and agricultural practices. Others going all the way over to game farming. These tending to be up on the hills where irrigation water is limiting.
Coming near the top of the mountains my water started to get low. I thought to get some water from the streams. As water is seeping straight from the mountains. At every stream I thought no let’s get at the next. To bad as at the top of the hill there was no nice clean streams to drink from. The top of the hills opened up to open cattle country. The road became very sandy with big corrugations making going very slow. Just had to ration water and eat some biltong to get the mouth wet.
Came across the main water supply dam for the town of Nylstroom. What a nice deep body of water between the hills. Having steep cliffs coming up to wall it in.
Name of dam is Donkerpoort.
Round about here the bicycle wheel bearing started to give the same feeling as two weeks back. That time one ball bearing had worn flat on one side and had to be replaced. Put wheels back together after greasing them and all looked good until now. Estimated to be about 60 km from home so had a look and decided that I could not do much. Wind had come up and fortunately turning to ward home it helped. Knowing the condition of the bearing I set out on the tar road home from Nylstroom. Making it 132 km for the day with average speed 19.6 km/h.
Stripping wheel down at home found the axil cone has developed some rough spots. Will have to make a trip to town, to get some spares. Looks like Jimmy cycles is seen a lot of me lately.
I took a ride up to Nylstroom (There and back 82 km) last Saturday. Stopped at Jimmy Cycles to get Shammy cream. I said to Jimmy that I would like to get a heart rate monitor however have not got my head around the price yet. He went behind the counter and started scratching. He pulled out a heart rate monitor and said take it. I asked how much he said no, some customer did not want it any more.
Bion BN-A350 watch and a Cateye belt
Well I must really say thanks. I am planning on doing some training so that when I do hit the long roads. I will have enough in me to do the distance planned without injury or pain. The idea is to get pleasure out of adventure touring.
Well as with all things in cycling you need to make life comfortable for the way you like to ride. Some people ask me about gadgets they should get. I have come to realise you can be swindled into buying all sorts of expensive unnecessary gadgets that just make the ride heavier. There was a blog I read that the husband and wife have resorted to making their own panniers and bicycle bags as it is cheap and does what they want it to do. I like Velcro straps. I use them to hold things on to my bicycle, they are like ropes that never come undone.
At the Cape Argus tour they had an expo. It is plain to see there are all sorts of gadgets. Trying to keep my head I did purchase a few gadgets.
1) Shimano saddle bag for the extra standby tube, if my tubules tyre gives in and to put in a small tool kit.
2) Cycling shirt so can put my cell phone in the pocket at the back when doing small rides. Now that feels real good. They look so uncomfortable but really they are not.
Well it was not a long list but that is how it should be. You need to grow your gear carefully and slowly. Then discontinue the less effective gear to make sure your ride does not get to heavy. It is easy to build up a lot of unnecessary items.
I was once told the most important areas are: Hands, butt and feet. All the places the body comes in contact with the bicycle. When first started ridding I refused to wear those cycling shorts. Well now I know they are the most important item. Then I discovered cleats, what an improvement. Gloves a must have on a long trip. Water bottles no question, now I have upgraded to two. One for water and other for energy drink. Cycle computer helps to get directions, can tell when the next turning is coming up and if you are going to make the destination before sunset.
Well the more I think the list can grow but that is enough for now.
Saturday 30/11/2013 I went to collect my new bicycle. A new Titan sport 29er size XL. Had my cleats moved over from my old Mongoose. Put some bar ends on. Moved cycle computer over. Mounted two bottle holders and my pump. By this time it was dusk and was fixed on taking it for its maiden voyage. Got geared up and took the photo.
Think I will have to call it the Titanic. It was 14 km into the planed 35 km round trip when it started to get dark. So I was putting on my head lamp just as I hit a big rock at the start of the road works. I took a good roll, surprising just a few scratches on the back. I was going about 25km/h. The Titanic however got a puncture, saddle came loose and the chain came off. In the light once I got home it looks like it did not get any further damage. Will have to check the wheel alignment, to see there is no dent in the rim.
In the dark, patched two holes and knowing that they did not look like they were going to hold I turned back the way I had come, as it was the shortest route home. I had to stop three times to pump the wheel in the 14 km back home. Then there was the snake I nearly rode over and a porcupine that crossed the road in front of me.
When I was looking at the bicycle in the shop, I had said to Jimmy the owner, that I will have to change the tyres. I did not think they would hold out in Africa. Well, there you have it, on the maiden voyage they gave in. I would like to put Maxxis crossmark on. This is what I have on my Mongoose. They did Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Not even a puncture on that trip and back home the thorns have given them a good go (I live in the African Savanah, lots of thorn trees).
Anybody got some comments on the best tyre they have used?
When at bicycle shop last week Jimmy the owner made some suggestions.
1. Change bolts to Allen keys. So that I only need to carry a multi tool and not extra spanners.
2. Get a pump that can take co2 canisters and do manual pumping. So that if I need to seat tubeless tyres again I can.
3. I should come in for training in his workshop to fix some of the major breakage’s.
4. There is a local trucking company that does trips north of South Africa. I should go speak to the owner to see if could get a lift up to Malawi.
Last Saturday got a 1.5 kg tent. This will save 3 kg of luggage. To be quite honest this tent will not stand up to a good storm like my other tent. I am taking the lead from http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.com/. He says” so what you get a little wet”. On the other hand traveling lighter makes trip much more enjoyable. I found it gave me extra space in my panniers, this will free up space for other much needed items.This is my old tent.