Start: 08:30 End: 12:00 Distance 40km Avg: 13 km/hr
Planned short cycling day so late start again. We have some errands to run this afternoon after setting up camp – our last chance before we leave Gauteng for less sparsely populated areas of South Africa. My left crank has picked up an annoying metal on metal grind, similar to the grinding sensation I have developed in my left knee. I literally creak along the road.
We have to push the bikes up a fairly long “mini-pass”. As we go up, we pass a stranded car driver parked in the yellow line. Colin asks him if everything is alright; he says he has broken down but help is on the way. After we have walked on a few metres, he asks us, “What is your problem?” I am not sure if he means at this moment or in general. Colin takes him to mean the former and he says, “Only one gear.” I shall think kindly of the man if he believes that the only reason we are pushing is a mechanical issue, and not due to inadequacy of the thighs.
There’s a second slog up to the Krugersdorp water reservoirs but this we mostly manage to ride.
It’s fairly easy from this point although Colin comments that my creaking is driving him crazy. It’s far more intolerable from my perspective. It makes me think of a conversation we had earlier on this tour regarding cow bells. Do you think the cows ever go insane and bash through the farmer’s fence and shout at him, “For Pete’s sake! Just take the bloody thing off! I can’t stand the infernal ringing anymore!” The mind does wander on these trips.
Krugersdorp Game Reserve greets us with some excellent savannah scenery and the worst head wind we have encountered to date. It’s a nice reserve, apart from the water spoilt by nearby mining. As I type, I can hear the lions roaring in the distant predator camp. At least I hope they are in the distant predator camp. I am not eager to test my self defense skills out on a burly large cat.
We have some maintenance to do before sundown. Colin fixes my noising crank, I do my hand-washing and set up my new cycle computer, Maggie starts getting the dinner ready. On these kind of trips, the work never ends.
Long ride tomorrow and we haven’t managed to get into Suikerbosrand, so sadly Toringkop is out. Management cites “health and safety” concerns despite us assuring them we need only a few hours, for charity, and will carry our own water and not use any of their facilities other than a road. It is a pity, especially as the cycling community is amongst the reserve’s biggest supporters.