Back in Cape Town and wheel-less

This past weekend Sven (my fellow velovegan) and I rode from Cape Town to Scarborough and back, ostensibly for a vegan braai (google it,) but also as an excuse for me to get back on my bike.

Emirates at Melbourne Airport, in their autocratic way, decided that I would have to pay them Aus$300 (ZAR3,000) for the 3kg I was overweight for my flight to South Africa. I weighed about the same on the flight out from London – but no one seemed to mind. That might be one of the many examples of the tyranny of having to obey the law in Australia (I’m not big on rules.) Although I had cash in my pocket I couldn’t bring myself to pay them… I felt fleeced; so I left my back wheel behind… you know, the one with the gears. It weighs 2.8kg. It was easier than trying to find 3kg worth of clothes I didn’t need! So what about the person who weighs 3kg more than I do, but doesn’t have to pay $300 more for his flight? It’s one of the mysteries of flying.

I did not enjoy cycling in Australia and so cut my trip short. The drivers appear to hate cyclists. Or, at best, pretend you don’t exist. Roads, apparently, are only for cars and huge great trucks. Until I went to Australia I just assumed South Africa was one of the worst countries to travel by bike. NOT SO! I now want to thank all the crazy South African drivers, including taxi drivers, for treating us with such friendliness.

I can’t say the same for the South African postal service. My wheel has been posted to me from Australia, and now sits in customs – probably in amongst a huge pile of mail and packages – and who knows when we will be reunited. So I bought a new wheel. I now have a bike with three wheels. Lucky me.

The ride back was superb. Check it out here. You may have to sign up, but then you can follow all my rides if you do.

We cycled over the amazing Chapman’s Peak Drive which is part of the famous Cape Town Cycle Tour route. It is right up there with the most beautiful rides and drives in the world. I have lost count of the amount of people who took photos of us as they passed; stopped their cars to talk to us; and some even told us about their vegan relatives and how they coped with having such a radical non-conformist in the family. It’s so great to do activism on the bike. The people you meet… the places you see… it’s such fun.

I also had the best vegan carrot cake I’ve ever had at Rodgers Fruiterers in Kommetjie. Don’t miss it.

If you want to cycle in South Africa and your well-meaning (but inexperienced) friends and family ask you, “but is it safe?” tell them to shut up and then get on yer bike.

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