Run away to Africa – Pre-trip

Please note there will be photos in the blogs after this.

Pre-trip

Back in 1992 I met a Swedish man riding at Kokstad South Africa. He had travelled from his home country on a thick wheel bicycle that had one gear. In the late 1990’s I found a Chines man at Kaserne Botswana who had rented a bicycle in Bloemfontein South Africa. Last time I saw a traveller on a bicycle was in December 2011 cycling on the EN1 in Mozambique.

In October 2012 I decided to follow my dreams to take a trip.

The holiday begins when you start planning.

So the planning started. Night after night surfing the web. Downloading the latest Lonely planet guide. Looking at Google maps and then zooming in and out to see road conditions. Looking at routes and plotting distances. Only things that were not so clear from all the maps were the elevations of roads. Then there was a problem finding out if the Mukumbura border post was open and I would be able to cross. As I had read that the bridge had been washed away.

Next I phoned Bokkie (Casper Badenhorst) my brother in law. He is a mountain bike racer from his youth. He gave me some good tips. Things like all body parts that touch the bicycle should be thought of.  For example: Hands – gloves, feet – cleats fitted and chamois cream for the tender parts. He then put me on to his bicycle shop and gave them a call, to let them know I was coming in.

I arrived at Cycle house before opening time. The owner Anton gave me some help. However things started to heat up in the shop as client’s started to roll in. So his assistants had to go on to help me. I finally left the shop at closing time. I had to return two weeks later too pick up a pannier and tyres. They fitted the tubeless Maxis cross marks tyres and pumped them very hard. They said I should deflate them a little. However I found it made ridding easier, so I left them just like that. Well I never had to pump them again until a month after I arrived home from my trip.

I then had to make sure the trip could be done in three weeks. So planned each days distance as best I could. Once this was done I went ahead and purchased a bus ticket on the Greyhound bus over the internet. Then an air ticket from Biera to Johannesburg on the internet. Actually it is amazing I sat in my house on my laptop. I was not even connected by a wire to anything. Planned and purchased tickets without even leaving my house. My house is 140 km from Pretoria, South Africa.

My mother and father agreed to take me to Park station Johannesburg and pick me up from the OR Tambo airport when I came back.

I had to purchase a few odds and ends at camping shops. Things like: Solar panel to charge cell phone for communication, air mat to sleep well and compass for direction.