Pedal Pusha – Day Two

by Vata Ngobeni

Forget the statues and any other offensive relics from the past.

If there is anything that the EFF must remove that is detrimental to all South Africans, it is the countless hills that flow between Frankfort and Reitz.

The distance between the two hamlets is just a mere 67kilometres but on a bicycle, it feels like an eternity.

Having cycled for more than double that distance the day before on this annual pilgrimage of the 1965 Ride “Cycling for education”, I saw myself hoping that the EFF would catch wind of these rolling hills on these ancient roads which were designed and built during the apartheid era and do more than just deface them.

For the five hours or so that we spent on that road, I chose it as the one and only thing or relic of the past that should go and must go now.

The trauma and pain that I went through yesterday took away the initial pleasure of savouring the early morning breeze and fresh smell of the eastern Free State as we rode out of a chilly Frankfort.

It wasn’t long after our departure that the first surprise on this treacherous road sprung up upon us, a pride of Lions basking in the first rays of sunlight that were making their way into the crisp Free State air.

It was then that the words of a farmer pouring diesel outside the car dealership we took off from began to replay in my mind.

“I’m a cyclist as well and I do the road to Reitz quite often. It is a hilly but beautiful road,” the farmer said.

The beauty of the Free State is boundless from the endless rows of mielies to the varying smells of cosmos flowers and the stench of death from the road kill.

The appreciation for the beauty didn’t last long as the shammy cream applied in dollops in the morning lost its effect with every stroke on the pedals.

Then the first rider called it a day struggling from the after effects of what I suspect was a dodgy lunch the day before as I had experienced plenty of backfire on the hills towards Frankfort on day one.

Poor Shelley, her suffering found its way out through any exit the body could allow in the same manner that Tony and Dini had suffered through the night making countless runs to the toilet.

On the final stretch before Reitz another comrade Lwandile waved his white flag and called it a day, a victim of these badly surveyed hills and gatvol of the pounding his behind had taken from the pothole laden road.

The problem here is not the ride but the bad state of the roads in the eastern Free State and it left me wondering how much the bad roads on this part of the world contributed to the accident that robbed South Africa of former Bafana Bafana and Free State Stars striker Richard Henyekane who passed away on Monday evening.

These roads aren’t just hilly, they are in a horrible condition and just like some relics from the past should be done away with.

If I was to send the EFF anywhere, it would be to this far flung part of the world to get rid of these apartheid era hills and save our bums and the lives of many who use these roads.

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