Monthly Archives: April 2015
Well, this is a perfect definition of a bitter sweet situation I found myself in on the last night ride we did….I unceremoniously dismounted my bike first and hence the report. That was the bitter side of it, but what makes it even worst is that we had not even started riding yet when I fell of, right in the parking lot in front of everyone including my son that joined us for the first time. How embarrassing. But in my defence, I was riding with cleats for the very first time in my life, and being 55 years old now, that is a long time with normal peddles. Worst still I chose my introduction to cleats on a night after a huge rain storm that turned our ride into an absolute mud bath. At a stage we were negotiating a huge mud puddle when I realised I wasn’t going to make it all the way through so I nonchalantly unhooked my pedals and stepped into 6 inches of soft mud. I walked the whole way through. It was hell trying to get my new shoes and pedals to work together as they should for the rest of the night.
But now onto the sweet part of writing this report. It was the 10th anniversary ride and what a special ride it was. I haven’t been riding with the group for a long time, but on that night I saw what a fantastic group of people they all are and how special these rides are.
At the start of the ride we were introduced to a very pleasant guy called Hardy. He as we all now know was the guy who started this whole ride thing 10 years ago. He came through from Joburg to join us for this special occasion, thanks Hardy. After my embarrassing fall the ride proceeded without too many hitches. It seemed like any other ride on a beautiful Thursday evening. Little did we know about an absolute wonderful surprise that awaited us later the evening, even though we had to climb a mother of a "mountain" first.
But before we get there, a little hold up barely 20 minutes into our ride by our friend Chris. Just like last week (see his report) he somehow managed to get another puncture. But unfortunately after attempts by numerous guys it was decided that this time the wheel was irreparable and both Chris and his dad had to call it a night. Sorry Chris, we missed you and your dad. Unfortunately you guys also missed out on our huge surprise later on.
As I mentioned the ride was slow due to all the mud. Hardy and Oupa Gert also took us through a part called wash and go…..we missed the wash part, it was just mud. But what fun.
Then we got to the climb. After negotiating the steep incline, mud and rocks we reached the top, what a view. And then the surprise…..the guys had slogged up that hill carrying, will you believe, cupcakes, muffins, biltong, beers and bottles of Champagne to celebrate 10 years of fun, friends and the most amazing tracks and views across Centurion. Why more people don’t join us is a mystery. We spent about a half an hour chatting, eating, drinking and listening to stories from guys that have been riding for a lot longer than some of the rest.
The rest of the ride back to our cars went without a hitch and when we arrived we all greeted and went our own way but as usual a small group of us met at Whisk for a beer. We chatted for a while before going home. The first thing I did when I got home was wake my wife and tell her about the fantastic night we had just had….thanks to everyone that was involved in making this a very memorable ride.
It’s getting colder at nights now and I don’t know how long I will still be joining during the winter months, but one thing is for sure, come spring I will be at every ride.
Best wishes to all,
It goes without saying that last Thursday night’s ride was an eventful one. A night ride always throws a few curve balls into the unknown, and what it spat out this time was vast amount of fun, laughter and comradery.
My Dad and I decided to join this group night ride for the first time, and not knowing what to expect, we ventured into a dark corner of Irene Village Mall to meet all the unfamiliar faces that would take on the gravel roads and single track in and around the Rietvlei area.
Our ride started off around the boundary wall of Cornwall Hill Estate, and towards the bridge under the R21 onto Goede Hoop Road and up the hill towards St. Georges Hotel. As we turned off the road and hit the dirt, we were informed of our first ‘Speed Zone’, essentially, a ‘let’s-see-how-quick-we-can-ride-this-up-hill’ zone! We were quite out of breath when we reached the top. At this point, my light’s battery had given up, luckily, my dad had a spare that was charging his phone’s battery, so I could then power on.
Once we had gone a few kilos further into the night, we stopped to regroup and were informed of our second ‘Speed Zone’. Here we were told that the zone ended at the lamp post on the left hand side of the road, and at this point someone interjected and said “Or the one on the right?” This cleared things up… “No, only the one on the left…” As a first timer, this caught me quite unawares, the lamp post on the left felt like it was attached to a moving vehicle and was moving further and further away, while the road was getting steeper and steeper as I attempted nearing it. Eventually it came, and my sense of humour was tested as everyone laughed. It was good exercise though!
The ride then continued casually along the winding dirt road where eventually, for some or other reason, we split up, this I only figured out when most of us arrived at the bottom of a massive hill where five riders were missing. Here we stood around chatting to one another, sharing stories and getting to know the one foreigner in the group, who said she was from Florida, the state in America, not the area in Roodepoort (Glad she cleared that up). This gave us a good chuckle and by the time the rest of the group caught up, spirits were high. Just before we got going again, I discovered that my rear wheel was completely flat, and that the white sauce in my tyre wasn’t sealing the hole. So, with loads of help and lights shining on the wheel, it was plugged, pumped and we were ready to go again. Thanks to Johan for his handy pump!
We carried on onto some extremely fun single track under the stars before; again, I got a puncture. With sealant spraying everywhere, we quickly stopped, whipped out the tyre repair kit and plugged the tyre, this time the front. Pumped up (physically and emotionally) we got going again, for another, very scary, Speed Zone, in the dark and unknown. I had to keep my wits about me as I was the first one to attempt this fast and winding single track, with very over grown grass on each side of the track. When we were done, everyone thanked me for clearing the cob webs and we got going again behind our fearless leader Gerrit.
Nearing the end of our ride, we were heading around the Nellmapius Hill towards Irene Village Mall, when my pedal caught a rock on the right of the trail, stopped my bike in its tracks and sent me over the handlebars in spectacular fashion! Apparently this was quite comical, because not only did I fall, but I was then tasked with this ride report for the first ‘unceremonious’ departure from my bike. Unfortunately on my way over the bars, my knee caught my light and sheered it right off of its bracket. Luckily, some duct tape was applied and the light was pointing in the right direction again.
By this time it was late, after 10pm in fact, and a beer and burger at Spur was now very unlikely, so we headed back to the Mall in speedy fashion. My dad and I said cheers, as our significant others were waiting in Spur and had managed to order the last two burgers for the night.
This was a memorable ride, and we will definitely be joining for every Thursday night ride that we can. Thanks to everyone who came and made it special. See you guys on the next one.