After ending Day Two rather inauspiciously, with annoying the Bethlehem traffic authorities by not obtaining the relevant permission to cycle on their roads, we were extremely grateful to the head of traffic, Joseph Nontsitsi who pulled out all the stops to get us authorisation within eight hours. We were also very grateful for all the warnings that we were given about the road. It was very busy and there was no shoulder so we had to ride in single file the whole way.
We were on the way by 9am and now should have no more trouble for the rest of the tour.
We must thank Philip Sterley, old Queenian, and head of the GM dealership in Bethlehem, who did so much for us. He tried to help with the traffic authorities, he had tea, coffee and cold drinks waiting for us on arrival at his dealership; he loaned us cars so that we could transport everyone to Spur for dinner; he had us escorted out of town by his colleague Andre (maybe he wanted to make sure we left!!). Andre also collected the traffic permit for us on his way back into town and then emailed it to us en route.
About 7km out of Bethlehem, Rob Fleming decide cycling was boring and opted for a gymnastic move after connecting his front wheel with Owen’s back wheel and falling. Thanks to Toni’s skilled avoidance technique, he was spared the indignity of also being ridden over by her.
Julie, who was doubtful about coming on the ride, has learnt to pedal so furiously that she actually broke a pedal. Twice. We think it was to pull a “Brendan” and ride in the bakkie. But thanks to Owen Dicks’ cycle engineering skills it was quickly repaired and she was good to go.
We had fast cycling into Fouriesburg where we had our mandatory 1965Ride lunch stop at Die Plaasstoep Pub and Grill. The macaroni cheese and fruit salad and ice cream was just the right thing for a bunch of hungry cyclists. After the requisite photo opp in front of the pub’s Case tractor, we were on our merry way, thanks a sweeping 11km downhill swoosh into the beautiful valleys and mountains of the Malutis.
At lunchtime, we came across a lone cyclist who wheezed and puffed the distinctive odour of good eastern Cape ganja and mumbled a few barely comprehensible words to us. We met up with him again just before Ficksburg but he decided that we were not his cup of tea, and he rode off in a huff.
Our day finished almost as dramatically as it started with a fantastic thunder rainstorm on the way into Ficksburg. (“fantastic” is Tony’s word. I thought getting rained on was horrible). Everyone was delighted to see the Woodpecker Lodge – a haven for a hot shower and a warm meal.
Brendan clearly isn’t used to riding at this speed because he kept getting cramp. But there is no shortage of advice and guidance in this group.
Tomorrow it’s on to Ladybrand, after a quick stop at the GM dealership in town for our fantastic sponsors Chevrolet UTE Force.
*** Rodger started the day in the senatorial bathtub in Jen and Tony’s plush suite, where he awarded Ryan Crosley the Pfizer “Cap of the Day” for sorting out his medical condition on day one. Tomorrow it will be Ryan’s turn to award the cap to the today’s cyclist of the day.