Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 33 Day 16
I rode my mountain bike into Hotazel today and it was cool. It was also about 33 deg C. I have been dying to write that sentence for months.
You will remember that we changed our route out of Botswana adding on about 40 km to avoid riding on the dirt road we rode on today. There was 113 kms of mostly good dirt but with plenty enough soft sand to allow you to hone your falling off your bicycle skills. Skinny road tyres don’t do sand. And then there were the long stretches of harsh corrugations. Suffice to say if I was planning on having more children, they would be very mixed up kids. Our average speed over the whole ride was just 16.1 km.
In terms of physical effort, scenery and end destination, today’s ride was epic, our first properly epic leg of the Tour, a ride that I will remember for ever.
I have never ridden on a road with less traffic. We rode three hours to breakfast and in that time exactly 2 cars passed us, 1 of which was the support vehicle. The road to Hotazel is very wide with no shade trees. So there was no point in pulling off the road for the breakfast stop and we enjoyed our picnic parked in the middle of the road. Whilst we were breakfasting, the rancher whose land we were riding through stopped to greet us. His ranch had 41 kilometers of road frontage.
Today was our longest in terms of hours spent in the saddle - 7 hours 46 minutes. With another 2 hours of stop time. In the first 5 hours maybe as few as 7 cars passed us in all. It got a busier closer to town. We were on the dirt road for over 9 hours and did not see a single pedestrian.
The bush we rode through was glorious. I almost saw many meerkats but didn’t. We were kept company throughout by raucous Black Korhaans displaying in flight. We stopped to marvel at the size of some buffalo weaver colonies. They looked about as neat and tidy as the inside of my kit bag.
Mostly we spoke of weighty matters on our ride. We’ve decided against opening a KFC drive thru, a Car Wash or a multi story car park on the Hotazel road.
Dave One Ply rode with a wobbly tummy today after enjoying a bag of dried apricots. In a Dick of the Day winning performance, he forgot his one ply and had to beg and borrow from the rest of us. I was happy to assist but Dave now wants to pay me back the 44 squares used back in one ply but I am insisting on two ply back and have started charging him interest. Overnight the 44 squares owed has grown to 66
On today’s ride I invented a cure for hot foot. After a 100 kms the balls of my feet start burning through constant pressure and inflammation. Soaking my feet in cold water worked a treat, reversing the inflammation. I’ve patented the treatment process and hope to make a lot of money from the other riders.
The traffic got busy the closer we got to town. I think I saw a dead meerkat on the road, but couldn’t be certain as it had been run over so many times. Bruce said he couldn’t fix it. But it must have been an incredible specimen because it was as big as a dog.
So far I am disappointed in the down hill bits of the ride. Terry Dawson clearly told me that Cape Town is at zero meters above sea level and that it would be downhill the whole way. As we rode into Hotazel my GPS told me we are at 1054 m. Which means just 400 meters of drop so far spread out over 1800 kms. I think Terry Dawson is a false prophet.
Tomorrow’s ride is just 78 km through to Kuruman. We are treating it as a badly needed half rest day. On the way we will stop to look at Robert Moffat’s mission station where David Livingstone met and married his wife before pressing on to discover a continent.
So far the Tour has been more challenging that I imagined. It is a huge undertaking. I am having the time of my life but would like to refocus on why we are doing this. We’re riding to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwean pensioners, a generation that built a country but lost pensions, assets and everything they own because of 30 plus years of stupid. So far we’ve raised $16000. Our target is $55000. Please, please help us smash it. Be generous. Donate
Bank: Ecobank Zimbabwe Ltd
Branch: Bradfield Bulawayo | Branch Code: 004
Account Name: Bulawayo Help Network
Account Number: 0041087600345101
To donate using PayNow visit
Donate through Ecocash
Donate through Just Giving
I would like to acknowledge some our sponsors who wrote the book on generous. My shout out today goes to Willy Ranby and his team at Prime Seeds and also to Stuart Sprake and co at FX Logistics - thank you, thank you, thank you.
In closing loves and hugs to Jocelyn and Cailyn. And also to Aurora and Sarah from Dave. Miss you guys lots.
Until next time, enjoy and pedal if you can.
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong