Day 4: Ohrigstad to Lydenburg

17 March

Start: 08:30 End 12:00 Distance: 54km Avg: 15.5km/hr

Last night Colin decided to spring for a 3 star self-catering cottage at Laske Nakke rather than camping in a thunderstorm. We woke up this morning to find that we are camping anyway as there is no electricity and no water. Nobody around either to help solve the problem, so Colin pilfers some buckets and steals water from the swimming pool to fill the cisterns. All this, for the bargain price of R1200 a night.

We plan on getting an early start today but it doesn’t happen due to the water woes. The lovely overcast weather is already clearing by the start and the temperature is heading towards 25. We make decent progress to begin, stopping at a ghost town to take photos. It was probably once a viable stop until the bigger main road bypassed it. We leave before the hillbillies arrive with chainsaws and machetes. I’ve seen that film; I’m not willing to be the star.

Colin and Bianca in the ghost town.

Colin and Bianca in the ghost town.

Obligatory Ruin Porn shot.

Obligatory Ruin Porn shot.

The rest of the road is down severely potholed road which creates some riding dilemmas: do I swerve in front of the truck or do I ride into the potentially 6 foot deep maw in the tarmac? No wonder someone has placed stickers over multiple roadsigns saying, “Fix the F***ing Potholes”. Maybe Mpumalanga tourism is trying to add to Bourke’s Luck.

Old railway bridge. Possibly fewer potholes than the main road.

Old railway bridge. Possibly fewer potholes than the main road.

There is quite a bit of climbing on the route and overall we ascend. We have to get off and push in a couple of places where the road becomes too steep. Hopefully as we get stronger as the tour goes on, these will become less frequent but they will always be necessary at some point on a 25kg single speed.

By any means necessary!

By any means necessary!

I get lots of opportunity today to practice my fruity language. The drivers in this part of the world are generally terrible and oddly get worse the slower they drive, as I find out when we hit Lydenburg. Thanks to the one gentleman in a Hilux that didn’t try to kill us today; driving patiently behind us at some roadworks. I hope your beer is cold tonight, good sir.