Join The Ride

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Inside - by Mike Finch

I WAS CAR­RIED AWAY INTO A WORLD A LONG WAY FROM MY OF­FICE when I read Bruce Hughes’ piece on his tour­ing ad­ven­ture from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg up Sani Pass into Le­sotho and on to Clarens (see ‘Par­adise Groad’, p56). // I READ HOW HE AND HIS RID­ING PART­NER WERE CAUGHT IN ONE OF THOSE

THUN­DER­STORMS IN WHICH YOU LIT­ER­ALLY FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, AND THEN EX­PE­RI­ENCE THE PRI­MAL ELA­TION OF SUR­VIVAL WHEN IT’S ALL OVER. // I READ HOW THEY CLIMBED THE PASS, STRUG­GLING FOR GEARS, but then rev­elled in the joy of long des­cents that shot them out of the moun­tains into a pic­turesque val­ley. AND I JUST WANTED TO BE THEM. //

“THE A1 FROM SANI TOP TO AFRISKI IS – IN MY OPIN­ION –

THE SIN­GLE MOST PANTS-WETTINGLY TER­RI­FY­ING AND MINDBOGGLINGLY AWE­SOME ROAD IN SOUTH­ERN AFRICA.”

// That en­cap­su­lates what it means to go ex­plor­ing on your bike – it’s scary, beau­ti­ful and joy­ous, all at the same time. //

SO I STARTED TO PLAN MY OWN ‘PAR­ADISE GROAD’… and re­alised that there’s such a mul­ti­tude of op­tions, de­cid­ing on just one would be the tough­est part of it. //

TO BE ABLE TO EX­PLORE SUCH VAST STRETCHES ON YOUR OWN POWER IS NOTH­ING SHORT OF A MAR­VEL. WE ARE BLESSED TO

LOVE RID­ING BIKES – TO HAVE THE OP­TION OF AD­VEN­TUR­ING,

IN A WAY SO DIF­FER­ENT TO BE­ING BE­HIND THE WHEEL OF A CAR THAT THE EX­PE­RI­ENCES CAN­NOT BE COM­PARED. // AS THE YEAR ENDS, I RE­FLECT THAT I HAVEN’T EX­PLORED ENOUGH. Hope­fully, next year I will.

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