Day 12: De Deur to Villiers

25 March

Start: 08:00 End: 15:00 Distance 117km Avg: 19.4 km/hr

Colin made the statement last night, “The weather has not been that bad so far” in conversation. Cue constant rain the whole night and waking up to drizzle. We don our bright yellow jackets and set off down the road through Vereeniging.

Rainy start, Colin fiddles with his red light.

Rainy start, Colin fiddles with his red light.

It rains persistently but not too heavily, however we are still drenched by the time we get to Deneysville. Maggie has found a lovely coffee shop where the proprietors, Leani and Micky, show great hospitality and give us both free coffee. It was a great unexpected surprise which warmed the stomachs and hearts. Thanks to Coffee Bar @ Leani’s – stop there if you’re ever in the area for friendly company and good coffee.

Next stop is Oranjeville and the road is potholed once again. It does play in our favour at times as the cars tend to move to the middle of the road to avoid hitting the potholes, thus giving us a wider berth than they usually would have. This does seem to indicate that the average South African driver values their car tyres more than the lives of cyclists. Maybe I should dress myself up as a pothole rather than a Hollywood serial killer (as we must appear in our yellow plastic coats).

The Hollywood serial killer raincoats.

The Hollywood serial killer raincoats.

It occasionally doesn’t work in our favour as the oncoming traffic sometimes swerves into the wrong lane to avoid potholes in their lane. Sometimes there is a Mexican standoff between cars heading in opposite directions over who gets the smooth middle road. It’s the ultimate game of chicken over who values their suspension more over their lives.

Crossing the Vaal from Oranjeville.

Crossing the Vaal from Oranjeville.

Colin testing the bridge.

Colin testing the bridge.

It is intriguing how the scenery in SA changes – it must be gradual but it seems almost instantaneous, even at the speed of the bicycle. This trip we have gone from forests, to grassland, to bushveld, to rolling green hills and now to farmland (mostly MEEEAAAAALIIIEESSS). You start your ride in one place, pedal a few kilometres and next time you look around, everything is different. OK, maybe more than a few kilometres. Anyone who has done a roadtrip will have experienced this phenomenon. More people should do roadtrips through South Africa; I will even give you a bye and say you can use something with an engine to get about.

We spot these white bokkies on the side of the road, anyone know what they are?  Yet another random spotting that would have been missed from a car.

Can anyone identify these?

Can anyone identify these?

Colin felt very strong today. I clung to his back wheel most of the day (increased rolling resistance on my bike, people!). The roads were the best for Qhubeka Buffalo bike riding so far – relatively smooth, few cars, decent hills but not so steep that we have to get off and push. In fact, I think it’s the first day we have not had to get off and push. I fear there will be few of these days as we head towards Lesotho. Unlike a lot of epic cycles in South Africa, which mostly head from the inland to the coast and are therefore “downhill”, we are constantly cycling towards mountains. Whose bright idea was this?

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