Wednesday, 12 June 2019

WORKING ON TOUR

In my previous post I did mention that I was off on another expedition tour (as crew). Now I have just returned from the Victoria Falls to Cape Town bicycle adventure tour. This tour involved camping and providing meals to the guests, as well as lots of cycling through Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and SA.
I was able to get a different perspective on Victoria Falls - from the Zambian side this time. We were also fortunate to visit Chobe Nat Park and Moremi GR in Botswana.
Cycling (and camping) in the Namib Desert was a rough ride and a highlight. Cycling 45 km in the dark at Sossusvlei to catch sunrise on top of Dune 45 was something different.
And after 3 weeks we cycled into Cape Town. It turned out to be an enjoyable adventure tour. (And did I mention "hard work"!).
This tour was a good experience. Now I have some off-time for fishing and so forth. Before I know it I will be on the next Victoria Falls to CT tour.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

RECOVER AND REBUILD

No, don't panic! I have not been involved in another accident. The title of this post refers to some sort of financial recovery and a mission to get back on the road again. I arrived back hare in South Africa in January, just about penniless and without a bike and serviceable touring equipment. Fortunately I was able to stay at my sisters place in Sedgefield, where I have been living a type of beach-bum existence for a couple of months.
I was (and I still am) trying to raise some sponsorship during this time that I have been back in SA, but to no avail. However, I did fortunately get involved with an Expedition Touring company. I have recently returned from my first tour, which was a 2-week tour of the Western Cape in South Africa. I was the vehicle driver, bike guy, and also filled in wherever else I was needed in this hectic environment. The Guests were all Germans (fortunately my 2 colleagues are guides who are fluent in German).
The tour involved hiking, as well as bike rides (Bainskloof pass, Chapmans Peak, etc). The pictures here in this post were taken in the Cederberg, and on Lions Head at sunrise.
Soon I will be on my next expedition tour, primarily a bicycle tour from Victoria Falls to Cape Town. (Will let you know in about a month's time how that one went).
So now, for the moment, I am back relaxing in Sedgefield. I have found a good bicycle, have made an offer, and hope to get my grubby paws on that one. The bike needs some parts and TLC, but I look forward to taking the necessary care as and when I can afford it. I still need a lot of new equipment, starting with bike racks and panniers. There is some way to go before I am free on the road again.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

THE BEACH BUM

[NOTE:- I add something to this post every now and then, so please scroll down all the way to the end of this post - and there may be a surprise addition.]
OK, I'm not quite a "Beach Bum" yet, but perhaps not too far off. I have migrated along the coast East from Cape Town (South Africa). I am staying with my sister Olga, and her 3 pampered dogs, in Sedgefield town.
For the last few months on the road I'd been without an operational phone (used for GPS, Wi-Fi, and pics), but I now have the use of a fancy hand-set. Also, thanks to friends Martie & Piet, I have the use of a bicycle to get around, and for a bit of cycle training. I am trying to start a running programme, but after 12 years of hardly even walking, my body has gone into shock in response to this "new" activity.
In addition I am still acclimatising to the weather, which is somewhat cooler than what I have become accustomed to in the past couple of years.
So, for now, I am trying (hoping!) to find sponsorship for a new touring bike, equipment such as racks and panniers, and funds with which to sustain myself on the road. My existing bike and equipment was all in such an advanced state of wear, that I left it behind when I flew out of Malaysia in January.
[ADDITION 1 April] (No, this is not an "April Fool's" joke). I LONG TO GET BACK ON THE ROAD! Yes, I am living a very comfortable temporary life here in South Africa, thanks to my sister. However, my efforts to obtain travel/equipment sponsorship have turned up nothing yet. I have had discussions with people regarding work in the local cycle touring industry. Otherwise, perhaps I will try a bicycle delivery service here in Sedgefield (plenty of retired elderly folks have settled here!). But, I am not yet dead and gone. I will rise up and cycle on again - with or without assistance!
[ADDITION 3 April] It was great to meet up with my friend Mark Spengler! Thanks Mark, for driving down from Jeffreys Bay for the visit. We had run many a marathon together, and so we did plenty of reminiscing about the "Glory Days". He is in SA on holiday, and not looking forward to returning to work next week in the cold UK. I had last seen Mark 12 years ago on 10 April 2007 (see blog post of that time). Rumour has it that we also shared a beer or 2.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON

Well, I feel that the proverbial "Fattened Calf" has been slaughtered (and braai'd). Firstly, before I set foot on a single airplane, the guys at Pontian Cycling Club in Malaysia spoilt me rotten (and then they drove me hundreds of km to KL airport).
Dave fetched me at the airport in Cape Town, and I am currently staying with him and Kathy (gourmet food, the use of a bicycle, and more - very thankful).
It was also good to meet up with many old friends at the West Coast AC. I expect to stay around Cape Town for a short while, and wander off to my sister Olga in Sedgefield (South Coast village). I dumped my bike (number 2), and worn-out panniers, and a bunch of other things, in Malaysia. So now I dream of getting some sponsorship, a good new bike and equipment, and setting off into the sunset again. But that is just a dream at this stage.

Monday, 14 January 2019

END OF THE ROAD?

Yes, I am now at Pontian, in the SW of Malaysia, and close to the Southern most tip of Mainland Asia. There is a possibility that I may fly to Cape Town next week. That would signal a substantial break in my bike travels, and hopefully I can re-group and return to this nomadic life again.
For the moment I am again staying with the guys of the Pontian Cycling Club (PCC), where I also stayed last year. They are taking extremely good care of me (as before). They have also made some improvements to their "Club House", which now resembles something between a pub and a hostel (bunk beds and shower, etc.). These people know how to entertain, and I seldom get to bed before 3 AM. At the PCC there have been 2 other cyclists staying there during my current visit (Malaysian Matphi, and English Rowan). Of course, they were also dragged out for meals and drinks!
On my way South from the Thai border, I camped mainly at mosques, parks, and petrol stations (as long as there was water, toilet, and rain shelter). A few times people had gone and bought a T/A dinner which they brought to me (they must have really felt pity for this poor homeless sod).
Distances which I have cycled since crossing into Malaysia from Thailand are:- Alor Setar 82 km; Butterworth 92 km; Taiping 89 km; Lekir 92 km; Sabak Bernam 79 km; Jeram 77 km; Banting 67 km; Port Dixon 91 km; Mashid Tana 63 km; Jalan Muar 81 km; Bentun 95 km; and Pontian 42 km. The total distance which I have cycled on tour since 27 March 2007 is 170 716 km. (I hope to be back on the road in the not-too-distant future).

Monday, 17 December 2018

BACK IN THAILAND

Since my previous post (see below) I have returned to Thailand. I was denied a new Thai tourist visa, but at the border I was allowed a 30-day entry to Thailand. Now I am in Bangkok trying to get my bike back on the "GO" (that "Poor Animal" is suffering with each crank of the pedals, and roll of the wheels). And so, for now, I am probably heading towards Malaysia - OR WHEREVER?
Daily distances which I have cycled from Laos South until Bangkok are:- Ban Ta Ka 65 km; Udon Province 77 km; Nam Pong 95 km; Ban Phai 80 km; Nakhon Town 96 km; Nong Phi 47 km; Sikhio 84 km; Muak Lek 71 km; Ayuttaya 93 km; and Bangkok 101 km. Total distance cycled up to this point is 168 399 km.