Day 21 Hermanus to Stellenbosch
Distance 83 km; average speed 17.5 km/hr
Good idea: Joburg to Cape Town – on average, all downhill. Less good idea: Joburg to Cape Town via George – hills, hills, hills at the end of the trip. Not one but two mountain passes mean it is our hilliest day of the tour. Houwhoek is the first of the day, we see it rising up in the far distance and anticipate some walking. Somehow, we manage to creep up to the top without pushing.
Just past the pass are lots of people on the side of the road, selling apples out of generic plastic shopping bags. Apples, apples, buy my dubiously sourced apples on a random roadside.
The next pass I feel some trepidation about – Sir Lowry’s Pass. It’s bigger in my head. We get to the summit and I think to myself, “Is that it?”. It’s a doddle compared to Houwhoek, although I wouldn’t like to attempt it in the reverse direction on a Buffalo. We make our way down at a steady controlled pace to avoid burning out our brakes. The crosswind also presents a challenge, despite being laden with a 25 kg bicycle, I almost get blown out of the yellow lane a few times.
There is a bit of traffic dodging when we get to the bottom, and we are relieved to find one of SA’s few separated bicycle paths. It ends abruptly, as they always do. There is a heck of a climb out of the city into the winelands. I’ve still got my cold weather gear on and I’m sweating buckets at the top – probably harder than either of the passes.
Somehow we miss our customary 60 km lunch stop and we are famished by the time we hit the campsite. Time for some face stuffing and then on to Triggerfish Brewery. What a place; I think their stout is probably the best beer I’ve had on the trip. It’s definitely in the running for the best craft beer I’ve had in South Africa. Devastated but not surprised to find that their stock of bottles is out. Next time!
Day 22 Stellenbosch to Subaru Cape Town
Distance 58 km; avg spd 20.1 km/hr
We are me in the morning by Tienie Bester, manager of Subaru Cape Town and two other riders, Katja Steenkamp and Megan. Qhubeka utilises this saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (paraphrased). Well, today is the opposite. With some fresh(er) legs on geared bikes, we have our fastest day of the tour.
It’s frigid in the winelands, my fingers are inadequately prepared for the weather. It soon warms up however. Despite the short distance, we both manage to get punctures and we have to stop twice for repairs.
Some great bicycle paths in Cape Town which we would never have found on our own, except by luck – glad to have some local expertise (also glad to have some back wheel to cling to in the Cape Town head wind).
Despite the devil thorns and the wind, we make it to Subaru Cape Town after 1579 km of cycling. We celebrate over a cup of coffee at the branch. Thanks very much to Subaru Joburg and Cape Town for their support!
Distance 36km; avg spd 17.2 km/hr
Relaxing ride to visit a friend and her horse in Stellenbosch with the whole Heavy Metal Bikes team, and to finish off the tour at 1615 km distance and 10501 m of ascent.
And thus our trip was at an end. What next, folks?