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.