Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 23 - Day 5
Today was our first rest day spent at the Cresta Churchill Arms, our Bulawayo home from home. Mostly we cleaned bikes and practiced packing, unpacking and repacking the trailer. By the time we get to Cape Town I think we will have it taped.
A big shout out to the management and staff of the Cresta Churchill Arms for looking after us, above and beyond.
In between packing practice, we blobbed in our rooms. Whilst blobbing, I was struck by the enormity of our task when on the E TV weather report Upington and Calvinia cropped up in the forecast. Three months ago they were just names on the map that I’d never heard of and paid zero attention to. Now they’re towns far, far away that we will be riding towards and through.
My 4th favorite distinctive black and grey ride shorts almost never made it back from the laundry. Thankfully, and after extensive sleuthing, I found them, in Bruce’s suitcase. I think I’m going to change my colour theme to pink. Thanks to Helen Barlow for doing our laundry.
Bruce’s daughters Angela and Nikki are betting that Bruce gets to Cape Town quicker on his bike that he would driving his Isuzu.
We rode out of Bulawayo this morning four up, having been joined by the final pair of Old Legs, belonging to 70 year old Neal Leach, a.k.a. Leachie. A large contingent of well wishers including volunteers from our nominated charity Bulawayo Help Network were there to wave goodbye. All the Harare riders want to come and live in Bulawayo. We were escorted as far as the 30 km peg by Brendan Mitchell who was given the job of making sure we actually left town.
I am now the Old Legs Tour flag flyer. When we left Cresta Lodge in Harare a well wisher called Sassy walked up to Al Watermeyer and gave him a small Zimbabwe flag and asked him to take it Cape Town. It was a November 18 flag she told him, referencing that amazing day when Zimbabweans learnt the power of the people. Because Al can’t join us all the way through to Cape Town, I’m now flying the flag proudly from my camel back. The extra drag coefficient from the flag will be the main reason why I do not win the sprint finish into Cape Town.
The 90 km ride from Bulawayo to Plumtree was absolutely beautiful. Stunning country side, a kind tail wind and a shiny new highway with a generous yellow line. There is a wonderful new invention in Matabeleland called the Grass Mower. They use it to keep the road verges neat and tidy. They also have an organization called Zinara which uses toll revenues to pay for road markings plus a double fence line erected the length of the highway to keep animals off the road. And they’ve also got this thing called employment creation where they pay people to pick up litter along the roads. All too very clever stuff. I am going to invite officials from the Ministry of Roads etc back home in Harare to travel to Bulawayo to look and learn.
Best part of the ride was the road side support in the tiny village of Marula from Janine Garod , Neville, Jody, Jock and Max Rosenfels. We were happy to give the young Rosenfels an Old Legs trophy to thank their Dad for hosting us to breakfast at Banf Lodge. And incredibly, in the same roadside support group was Alan York from Dumile Beef who flew / drove all the way from Harare to tell us to pedal faster.
Bruce Fivas won his second Dick of the Day award today when he photo bombed me with his willy. I was being interviewed on camera at the time whilst repairing, very ineptly, my second puncture of the Tour. Thankfully the potential to scar young and vulnerable viewers has been mitigated by distance and the size of the photo bombing appendage.
We have been looked after in Plumtree by AJ and Debbie Bradnick. Best hosts, best food, best company and best sundowners ever on a granite mountain overlooking God’s own country. Ryan entertained with lessons on how to land a drone in a tree.
On the way to Plumtree we roared through the $15000 raised mark. Another $40,000 to go. Please help us get there.
We also stopped for a photo next to 499 kilometer peg. Incredibly, already one sixth of our Tour is done, dusted and in the bag. Which is a bummer. I don’t want this Old Legs Tour to end.
Tomorrow’s blog will be from Botswana.
Cheers and pedal if you can
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong