Day 23 Avontuur to Knysna via Prince Alfred’s Pass
After a great afternoon and evening in the company of Jimmy Zondagh,
it was back on the bike for the final ride of the Cycling for Sight – Border to Coast ride. With mixed feelings I started the ride towards Knysna, as I realised that it was all over and for the first time it dawned on me, that I have cycled a long distance from the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe in the North, to the coast at Knysna. Met wonderful South Africans, seen and lived the beautiful, the ugly, the good and the bad, of modern South Africa. If I bring my March tour into the equation, from the most Northern part of South Africa
to the most Southern tip of Africa and South Africa, Cape Agulhas and Cape Point.
Went through the sleepy village of Avontuur and headed up and towards the pass, with flashbacks of the Karoo to Coast Challenge and the intimidating climbs ahead. Doing it solo and not as a race is a complete different ride, stopping to take photos, looking at the awesome scenery, talking to the people living there, makes it so much easier and not slower as I thought. Unfortunately the mentality of give me has set so deep into the South African culture that as you go up and through the pass, comments like “Give me chocolates, give me money” from children and adults are heard. One of the children looked at me direct and said “Where’s my chocolate”. I stopped and asked how old are you, and was told 10. I asked her name and it was Kleintjie. I looked at her and said, “Kleintjie, I will not give you anything, you need to go to school, get an education and be able to go anywhere and be able to buy what you want, you cannot live in the mountain and expect that everything must be given to you”. It is a sad state of affairs currently in SA. On the ride from start to finish, everyone wants, and stand with an outstretched hand, but not prepared to work for anything. The ride continued through the magnificent pass, built by Thomas Baines and it is one of the passes that need to be travelled to really appreciate the wonderful scenery and workmanship of the pass. At some point, the Karoo was left behind and the coast started, different trees, plants and smells and more down than up and with emotions running high at one of the highest points, there was the Knysna heads in all their splendour and the reality sank in, it is done, now it is downhill home. George took me on some final climbs to a certain spot where I noticed a traffic police car move off at speed as I approached, stopped next to George, who told me to follow them as it is my escort into Knysna. The last part of the ride into Knysna, also part of the Karoo to Coast Challenge route and with the assistance of the Police escort, managed to better my time to the finish, as traffic was stopped for me all the way to the end at the Lions of Knysna place.
Stopped after 1,634km’s, 303,449 pedal strokes, 77 hours and 36 minutes of riding the bike and burning 63,713 calories, the ride was done and dusted. Today’s ride, 87,74km, time 04h13m and avg speed of 20,1kph and climbing 1,129 meters. What an awesome, life changing adventure and experience it has been. Life is Good. Now the mind start asking, What Next?