If my arse was a TV character, he’d be Dr Frank Burns from the TV sitcom Mash. Frank Burns was always whingeing, whining and threatening to quit but no one listened to him or took him serious.
Bruce, David and I ride in a social group called The Herd. Every Saturday morning we huff and puff on a thirty to forty kilometre Dawn Patrol around the Mazowe Valley. (We actually leave well after dawn because it is still dark and cold then) Bruce and I mostly ride at the back of the group so we can sweep for stragglers and because you get to enjoy the views for longer, apparently, according to Bruce. David is a snake and can normally be found out front.
Anyway on one fateful Saturday morning not too long ago whilst on a ride, Bruce asked me if I would like to ride to Cape Town with him. Unfortunately I am hard of hearing when on my bike, mostly because of a wax build up and the sounds of heavy laboured breathing (mine), and I thought Bruce was asking me if I wanted to join him for coffee after the ride. So I said yes, please. He asked me if I was sure. And I said, of course I'm sure. At which point Bruce started prattling on about bucket lists and Botswana and the Northern Cape, etc etc. I heard the word epic more than once. At which point I fell further and further behind, mostly because of lagging legs and uphill bits, to a point where I couldn't hear Bruce prattle on anymore.
All was good until the end of the ride when the extent of my misunderstanding became apparent over a cup of coffee. Unfortunately by that time I was too knackered to run away. And the coffee was pretty good. And so here I am, riding to Cape Town.
Because I have more reverse gears than an Italian war tank and because Cape Town is a massive three thousand kilometres away, it dawned on me that I'm going to need a Cause to get me pedalling in earnest. And the best cause that comes to mind is the plight of the Zimbabwean pensioners.
ZANE: Zimbabwe A National Emergency is a charity supporting some of the most impoverished and destitute people in Zimbabwe, in particular over 1,800 pensioners. These pensioners lost everything in the economic collapse and subsequent hyper-inflation and have been left dependent on charity to survive. ZANE assists with food aid, with help towards rent and care home fees and essential medication. In addition, ZANE provides comfort, advice and support. ZANE also funds a clubfoot correction programme, successfully treating the clubfoot of over 2,600 children to date. It also works in the high density areas funding education programmes, and funds the provision of prosethic limbs for victims of landmine explosions and treatment for children with hearing impairment.
Our route will take us through Kadoma, Gweru and Bulawayo and into Botswana via the Plumtree border post. Across the border we will head for Palapye and then onto Mahalype. At which point we will hang a right on to a quiet back road down to a place called Moleopole which is some thirty kilos west of Gabarone. By which time we should be a bit stinky. So we will detour into Gabarone for a day off and hopefully some hot water and some cold beer.
Suitably fortified, we will press on regardless to a place called Kanye and then again head west into the bottom bit of Kalahari and then we'll enter SA via a border post called Bray. (I've never heard of Bray but Google assures me that it is there.) Once in SA, we'll head south, hopefully through a town called Hotazel (pronounced Hot As Hell) and then onto Kuruman for another day off, showers and cold beers etc.
Suitably invigorated (apparently Kuruman has that effect on people) we head west again until Upington at which point we'll turn left and head down into the Karoo by way of Brandvlei and Calvinia. We pop out of the Karoo at Ceres. And then we head on down via all manner of pretty places like Rebeek Kasteel and Wellington and hey presto, we're at Cape Point.