THE BIG SEND OFF

KFC Old Legs Send Off Advert

CALLING ALL CYCLISTS!
JOIN THE BIG SEND OFF
PROUDLY SPONSORED BY KFC

WHO: ALL MOUNTAIN AND ROAD BIKERS

WHY: TO SUPPORT THE OLD LEGS TOUR WHO ARE CYCLING FROM HARARE TO MOUNT KILIMANJARO TO RAISE FUNDS FOR ZIMBABWE PENSIONERS

HOW: ACCOMPANY THE OLD LEGS TOUR CYCLISTS AT THE START OF THEIR EPIC 3000 KILOMETER CYCLE RIDE TO MOUNT KILIMANJARO.
START AT KFC BELGRAVIA AND TERMINATE APPROXIMATELY 70 KMS ALONG THE MAZOWE ROAD WHERE YOU CAN BE COLLECTED, OR, FOR THE ADVENTUROUS CYCLISTS, RIDE BACK. ASSEMBLE AT KFC BELGRAVIA BY 0600 FOR PRE RIDE REGISTRATION AND BRIEFING.

I had a psychic girlfriend once but she left me before we met

Had we met, she sure would’ve been proud of me for predicting an exchange rate of 5 to 1 and climbing between the noble RTGS dollar and the US.

With retailers now charging like wounded buffalo, shopping in Zimbabwe hurts more than riding a bike to Kilimanjaro. I saw fresh eggs for sale yesterday at two for a dollar. Jenny tells me you could buy the point of lay chicken that laid the egg for just ten dollars 6 months ago.

Shortages are again in plentiful supply. Currently we can’t buy local beers, only imported brands because there isn’t enough forex to import inputs for the local brew. Go figure.

Small wonder President Ed is nervous. Thankfully according to banner headlines last week he knows exactly how to deal with the shortages. Which gives me great hope … for my granddaughter. Aged just 5, Cailyn told me they should just buy more stuff of whatever is short. “If there’s no petrol Eric, then they should just buy more and then it won’t be short.”

And now even the RTGS is in short supply. And all along I thought RTGS dollars were just fictitious numbers made up on a computer screen somewhere, not worth the paper they’re not printed. But apparently the fact that they are short is a good thing because it means the government aren’t just not printing them, if you get my drift. It’s all as clear as mud.

Gordon Kent, a Zim friend now living in Aussie sent me an extra pair of balls. He said I’ll need extra to ride to Mt Kilimanjaro. They now have pride of place on my bike. Someone who doesn’t need any extra in that department is grandson Colton. During an undergarment refresh following a bowel movement, Cailyn asked “What are those big things under his willy?” She only said big because huge isn’t in her vocabulary yet. If Coulton grows into them, he’ll be 7 ft 14 inches tall.

With just 17 days to go to the off, it’s all happening. Graeme Fleming organized a lecture and a slide show for us on the actual ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro. Graeme climbed it 4 years ago but says it warrants a double tick on his bucket list. I’m not sure why because from what I could see, mostly he looked miserable, cold and tired in the photos – as in minus 15 degrees cold. We met Kevin Shadwell and Andrew Lorimer, nutcase golfers who’ve signed up to walk up the mountain for the Old Legs cause. Graeme told us we can now add altitude sickness to our long list of things to worry about. Because very fit people are often more prone to it, Martina Navratilova famously had to be rescued off the mountain and came down on oxygen and a stretcher, I’ve decided to ease off on my training regime.

Very helpfully, Dave told us 10 people a year die on Mt Kilimanjaro. Oh what fun we’re going to have.

Speaking of fun, I’m going to renew my assault on the Mozambique Embassy this week in search of my elusive visa. There is a rumor out there that Zambia was colonized mostly to give people a way around Mozambique but for the record and in case someone from the Moz Embassy reads this, let it be known I don’t believe it. This time round I’ll be armed with a letter of support written by the Mozambique Ambassador asking people in Mozambique to give us every assistance on our Tour.

Jenny and I had our flu jabs which give you the flu so you don’t get the flu. I gave Jenny her jab and she gave me mine. I’m obviously better at giving injections than Jenny because I screamed and she didn’t.

I think the riders will have to watch their weight on Tour. Jenny’s kitchen and Linda’s are flat out busy, cooking possibly delicious meals and snacks including the best ever biltong. I say possibly because I haven’t been allowed to taste any. Jenny sure is cruel that way.

Old Legs riders from all around the world start arriving from next week. They’re excited like school kids the week before summer holidays. Excited and a bit scared. This from Carol Joy on the group chat last night “Just scared myself: I asked my bike-navi app for a route from Rungwe (day 14) to Kipengere (day 16) – as best I could find these locations. The suggested route includes a climb of 1500hm within SEVEN km!! 😱 Gradients of 48%. I don’t think I can walk that 😱😱🙈🧘‍♂”

A big shout out to KFC for hosting our Big Send Off on June the 1st, to make sure we actually leave town. Anyone out there with a bike, please be cordially invited to join us. Big thanks to Oscar Bekker and the Herd for putting the ride together, ditto Round Table 23 for their help on the day.

Also big thanks to all at Mukuru for continuing to show us what corporate responsibility is all about. Thank you also to Robs and Graeme Storrer in Prague for their generous donation, ditto Sput Verwiel in Kenya. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If you want to follow their lead, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149. Monies donated help pensioners country wide.

In closing this week’s Swahili 101-
Nini kubwa mipira baiskeli yako ina!! – What big balls your bicycle has.

Si kilio. Nitakuja kutoa a sindano!! – Don’t cry. I’ll give you an injection.

Until next week, enjoy and pedal if you can.

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

Oh to be one those lucky fish bastards out there with just galloping inflation!

Champagne corks are not popping all over Zimbabwe as we find ourselves officially back on the hyperinflation roller coaster – for the second time in ten years. Google defines hyperinflation as when the prices of goods and services rise by more than 50% in a month. I define it as really, really crap. The next worst, galloping inflation, is where prices increase by 10% in a year. Oh to be one those lucky fish bastards out there with just galloping inflation.

Admirably conquering his fear of Rrrr’s, our Veep blamed financial terrorists for hyperinflation, pointing his finger fair square at businessmen who put their prices up when the cost of fuel and other basics doubled. Despicable bastards.

I think the fact that Zimbabweans are arithmetically challenged is more to blame. When the US to the noble RTGS rate slides out inexplicably , rather than get to grips with either the 3.6 or 4.8 times tables, people just jump up to 4 or 5 because what the hell, we know we’re going to get to 5 just now anyway, followed by 6, etcetera, etcetera, etceteras too numerous to mention. Alas.

Jenny’s hairdresser who is really crap at long multiplication and division, took a short cut and kept her numbers the same but just changed the denomination from the noble RTGS to US. Jenny is horrified that her hairdresser is terrorist. Alas.

From what I can make out, hyperinflation normally precedes political change. I certainly hope so. The government’s Plan Z to get us out of the economic pooh would appear to center on borrowing another 5 billion, on top of the 17 billion debt already out there, which by the way excludes the 7 to 10 billion owed to the ex- farmers. Having studied O Level Tuckshop Economics at Allan Wilson, I’m not sure that borrowing heavily to pay back debt is too clever.

Whilst on the subject of political change, thank God Nelson Chamisa won through. Let’s hope Biti and Ncube follow suit. And fingers crossed that Dave Coltart gets voted in as MDC Treasurer General. You can tell Coltart is a good guy ‘cos he rides a mountain bike.

Adam, Dave and I rode out to Marondera this last weekend to meet some of the pensioners we support. We visited the Ida home for the aged in Dombo Tombo township where the only thing the residents have to be grateful for is that there are people out there who know what Ida Wokwako means. It means Love Thy Neighbour. Last year we donated them a second hand generator. It has to be the most loved second hand gen set in the world. It was so humbling to sit and chat with old guys who looked like they were more than a hundred and who have absolutely nothing but still know how to smile. There but for the Grace of God go we. For sure we’re going to look after them much more this year.

We also visited Borradaile Trust which has a huge amount of feel good going on. We had a beer in the Borradaile pub which is called the Departure Lounge, named by the residents. We were shown around by Ian the Warden and his warmth and enthusiasm shone through big time. Ian’s mission in life is to help the old folk in Borradaile enjoy their twilight years. And for sure the Old Legs Tour will carry on pedaling to help.

Harare to Marondera via Arcturus and Goromonzi is beautiful ride but plenty tough with 125 km of big climbs and rough roads. We were joined for the day by Jude Eastwood who already has his eye on a spot in the 2020 Old Legs peloton. Jude and his legs did real good.

To help settle the tubes vs tubeless debate Dave was kind enough to have a puncture on his very bald tubeless tyres outside the Arcturus Post Office and fixed it with a plug in just 5 seconds flat. Adam didn’t even have time to video the repairs. The Post Master came out to greet us. Adam said he’d send him a letter. The Post Master said that would be great because he hasn’t seen a letter in months. Times are tough out there. Small wonder given the number of derelict farms we rode past. A lot of those farmers now live in the Borradaile Trust where green fingers that once fed a nation now fuss over rose bushes and petunias. Alas.

And whilst on the subject of riding, you are all cordially invited to ride out of Harare with the Old Legs team on Sat June the 1st when we set off for Mt Kilimanjaro- just to make sure we don’t park off on Mt Hampden and photo shop the Tour. We leave from KFC 2nd Street at 07.00.

To prepare for the ride we were given a lecture last week by Dave Gardener on how to stretch. Adam looked like a jelly fish trying to do star jumps. Mostly I stretched my funny bone laughing – until it was my turn.

Gayle is recovering from her breaks and fractures and will join us, but only in Tanzania. A big welcome to Renier Pronk who’ll fly into Harare from Holland to take Gayle’s place in the support team.

It takes me an hour plus of hard riding on a bike to get my heart rate up over 150. It took me just 5 minutes in the Visa section of the Mozambique Embassy. Despite my winning smile and innate charm, my efforts to get a visa failed, why I’m not sure. I think the English word bewildered was first invented in a Mozambique Embassy. Wish me luck on the 18th when I go back for Round Two.

In other matters Jenny and I were blessed with the arrival of our first Grandson. Welcome Colton.

And last but not least at Anfield last night, Liverpool beat Barcelona 4 nil. Whoop whoop.
In closing check out Ryan Moss’s incredible video of last year’s Old Legs Tour. It will give you goosebumps and feel good. Big thank you to the folk at Mukuru in Joburg and the Stichting Bergverzet in Holland for following the donate prompts so generously. If you want to follow their lead go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149. Monies donated help pensioners country wide.

This weeks Swahili 101:

  • Azima mimi 5 billioni? Kulipa wewe nyuma ijayo wiki, ahadi, labda!! Borrow me 5 billion. Pay you back next week, promise, maybe.
  • Utasika kamwe tembea peke yake!! – You’ll never walk alone.

Until next week, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can…

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

Photos below – Hanging with the old guys at Ida Wokwako, the ride to Marondera and please be introduced to Colton.