Thursday, 25 November 2010

Taking Old Faithful

I have decided to take Luna, my 'old' bike on this expedition.
At first I thought it almost 'unfair' to put her through having to carry myself and all my gear right around Africa. Seeing as I've already put her through having to carry myself and all my gear through and around South Africa.

And in all honesty, I wasn't sure whether she'd be up to going around the second largest continent on this planet.

But, after much consideration, (and a lack of finding a bike sponsor) I have now decided to take my 'Old Faithful' with me on this trip.
I will be taking her to my favorite cycling shop, Linden Cycles, to have them take her apart, clean and replace whatever needs cleaning and replacing. I might have to make a few adjustments and change something here and there...but overall I am very happy to take her.

I love this bike. We've been through so much together. And it only seems fitting that we tackle this, my biggest undertaking yet, together. I've never had any problems with this bike. She's a very hard worker and always willing to go wherever I want her to. No complaints, no hesitation. :)

So my dear friends...I give you Luna, my sole companion on this trip!

(She is a Corratec, Superbow Race Mountainbike)

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Elephant

The other day I had a fabulous chat with Sarah Outen, all the way over in London in the UK.

She asked me a question.
She asked me about my background on my blog. The Elephant.
I then realized that it is something I haven't actually explained. Because there is a reason for that particular background.

Elephants actually play a rather significant role in my life. I don't even know if I've ever told my friends about it.
To me the elephant symbolizes - Strength, Wisdom, and power of the it that the females are the leaders in the herd. (Matriarchal)

I have always loved elephants. Growing up, we had an elephant's foot in our house. (Maybe a bit disgusting I know)
But as a child, I was absolutely fascinated with that foot. (Ok so I've never claimed to be all that 'normal') :D

When my 'adventure-self' had the opportunity to 'come out of the closet' the first time...six years ago, it was the elephant that got me through some really tough times. I can recall one particularly tough moment (like one of those moments where you think...this is it...I'm not gonna make's over) where we were busy cycling through Israel. We'd been cycling all day in semi-desert terrains in 47deg Celsius heat...and we had ONE more mountain to climb. We'd run out of water, food, money, smokes, light...and even enthusiasm.

My partner turned to me and said: "How do you eat an elephant"?
I thought the dehydration had got to him!
And he answered: "Piece by piece".
And that little piece of wisdom got me through to the end and is still a source of motivation to me to this day!

Since then, my journey...on the road and off, has been filled with the symbol of the elephant.

Interesting fact: In just about EVERY home, hotel, guest-house, lodge that I've stayed in on my trips through and around South Africa...there's been an elephant. Either a statue or a painting or a fountain etc. And that has always made me It's a very reassuring symbol to me.

The bike I rode on from Johannesburg to Cape Town on my trip around South Africa was named "Gaja"...which is Indonesian for 'elephant'.

I definitely hope that I will come across one of these majestic creatures on my journey around Africa!!
In a way, I do see the spirit of the elephant in me...

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Saturday, 13 November 2010


So 'Stuck on the Bike' has come and gone. Hanret, Hvir and I are back home safe and sound.

There are a few things I took from the experience.

1. Not many people put their money where their mouths are
2. I need to step up my game and be more committed
3. I want to live in Cape Town (it is just such a beautiful city!)
4. I need to rethink my strategy
5. Hvir is a great swimmer...but don't push it!

How I came to these conclusions:

1. Based on how many people indicated their 'attendance' for the event, we should have raised at least R14 000. I raised less than R1 000. And that wasn't even from the individuals that said they'd donate.
Somehow I can't help but blame myself. I have been doing this for quite a while now and know by now just how things work. If 100 people say they will attend, you can count on maybe 10% actually doing so. But somehow, I always want to believe that 'this time it will be different'.

2. I was deeply disappointed with a number of things surrounding the event. But that is no excuse to lay slack! Shit happens...and it happens for a reason. I need to step up my game and not allow minor set backs to let me lay slack. It is in these instances, especially, that I need to step it up and push even harder. I am disappointed in myself as well. But have built a bridge and got over it.

3. When I arrived in Cape Town for the very first time in 2008, it was on a bicycle. I didn't get to see much of the city then. I saw some of it. But I wasn't too fond of Cape Town. This time, I had a brilliant guide, seeing as Hanret lived in Cape Town for a long time. And this was the very first time I was in Cape Town with a car, and not on my bicycle! :D Walking on the beach with Hvir playing in the sand, the glorious Table Mountain standing tall, majestically hugging her surroundings. It is just so unbelievably beautiful. I seriously get butterflies in my tummy when I look at the mountain. There's something magical about this city. And I will live there when I get back from Africa. It is where I will start and finish this journey...and it is where I plan on carrying on with the next...

4. Since we arrived back home, I've had to seriously rethink my strategy. I have been receiving a number of messages and lots of input from friends and fans alike, expressing opinions on my 'failed' fundraiser.
It's been very taxing, emotionally. But a great learning experience.
I have to make quite a few decisions, and I have to do so soon. Time is running out, February is right around the corner. I have taken some time-out...come next week it's all systems go again. I am not backing down in any way, shape or form. But I am taking the necessary time to make an informed decision.

5. Hvir, my sweetest 'little' mascot...loves swimming. She is also just crazy about the beach. Watching her play in the sand and run into the ocean after her a thing of beauty. Though I also need to sometimes assess the currents!!! LoL :D
The day before we drove back to Johannesburg, we went for one last walk on the beach late afternoon. With one last throw, I threw the ball in quite deep. The specific point where I threw the ball in for Hvir to where the lagoon and the ocean come together. I didn't realize there'd be such a strong current. Needless to say, poor little Hvir got the fright of her life...and so did I. She went in after her ball...but simply wasn't coming back. It was when she seemed to get smaller and started drifting away that I went in after her, with Hanret short on my heels. I didn't doesn't think in these situations. I just wanted to get her back.

Long story short...Hvir is fine. Though my phone is not. My phone was in my pocket! It is now sleeping with the fishes! LoL
Well not quite. I still have the phone...but it is completely dead.

Hanret gave me her old phone to use in the meantime. :)

So...tomorrow is Sunday. Come Monday, I will have made up my mind on a number of issues.
There's no holding back, no time for slacking. This is it. It's now or never.

I would just like to thank Tyger Valley Shopping Centre for sponsoring the venue for Stuck on the Bike. And Virgin Active Gym in Tyger Valley for lending me one of their stationary bikes for 48 hours.

To all the people who did, in fact, come through. Thank you so much! I really really appreciate your support!

To Verity! You are an absolute superstar! Thank you for your amazing support and for being there! You rock.

And to Hanret and little Hvir, for driving me down, spending such a long time in a mall and driving back up...A HUGE, HUGE thank you!!!!

"Follow your dreams and always believe in yourself. Keep your eyes on the stars and hope in your heart." ~Anon

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