A man's epic journey on his bike. (Human Spirit)

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A man's epic journey on his bike.  (Human Spirit) Empty A man's epic journey on his bike. (Human Spirit)

Post by honeybee on Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:10 am

I had a few tears when watching this
Ron's dear friend has cancer her name is Lettie

Dear friends, old and new, sponsors, partners, ambassadors, and all who have been part of my journey in any way,

Firstly, thank you for believing in #LettiesRide! The support I have received, in every form imaginable, since long before the first pedal strokes 121 days ago from outside the Cape Town Stadium until here in Nakonde, far NE Zambia, has been remarkable, humbling, and beyond anything I could have imagined. So thank you again; I will be forever grateful.

I could write a book on the experiences and adventures I've had even just in these first few months of my expedition, and I've tried where possible to convey a taste of these via my website www.fatkidonabike.com (and on Facebook and Twitter - details on the site), but in very brief summary, the following may be of interest;


0 - the number of times I've been refused a place to pitch my tent, or been refused water

0 - punctures

0 - bribes paid

0 - items stolen

1 - new chain

1- Sharks Currie Cup victory

1 - Springbok test matches missed - was in very rural Mozambique at the time

1 - road kill witnessed (poor goat never had a chance)

1 - tent lost in veld fire

2 - $'s given to me by an Angolan policeman to help me on my journey

2 - bouts of very minor illness

6 - hours ridden in the rain (about to change dramatically as the wet season looms large)

8 - approx number of times crossing the Zambezi river

10 - on s scale of 1-10 how good the beers have tasted, and how good water tastes after running out of it

10 - countries crossed - S.A., Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, DRC, and Zambia

10 - approx kg's lost - yup, still far from skinny

14 - border crossings, and about the most number of days between proper showers (or similar)

15 - approx number of falls; almost all sand related fortunately

20 - km's covered on shortest riding day - almost all pushed through thick sand in rural western Mozambique

85 - km/h...highest speed reached - down a wonderful pass in the Golden Gate National Park

121 - days since departure

180 - km's covered on longest riding day - along an almost dead flat section in the Zambian copper belt

6,500 - approx distance covered in km's (estimated 65% tar, the balance ranging from amazing dirt roads to ankle deep sand tracks and everything in between)

45,000 - at R1/km ridden, the rands pledged by a very generous donor in Zambia for the MAD Foundation on me reaching London


* Wild/'free' camping - I.e. pitching my tent in the middle of the bush, next to a river, behind a clump of trees just off the road, etc

* Pitching my tent in, or nearby, a village (always with the local chief or head-man's permission)

* At Schools - either in a classroom or in my tent in the grounds

* In people's homes

* Behind police stations, shops, pubs, hospitals, churches

* Grotty noisy guesthouses/truck stops

* Fancy hotels and lodges - thank you Protea Group, and those privately owned lodges and guest houses that have put me up - these rare treats always seem to come at just the right time!

It's been an incredible journey; it's reinforced my faith in the Human Spirit and the goodness of people (and that these really do transcend all boundaries and apparent differences), made me appreciate more than ever my health, vitality and mobility, and allowed me to experience Africa in a truly unique and meaningful way.

It hasn't all been without it's challenges, and one certainly doesn't take on a expedition like this because it's easy, but as the cliche that goes something like "the tough times make the good times better", so the days of pushing a 45kg bike through thick sand, with an aching back and injured wrist, surrounded by honey flies, and without water, are all memorable parts of the journey, and my goodness are cold water, tail winds, good roads and showers appreciated after that.

I've also learned to be ok with being gawked and stared at, and feeling somewhat like part of a travelling circus at times, but considering I've been through places where more than once I've been told by village elders that I'm the first white person they've ever seen on a bicycle, it probably shouldn't be surprising!

I'm also continually inspired by Nix 'Lettie' Haynes and her brave fight, and it's a constant reminder to me to appreciate how lucky I am to be doing what I am, and also when I find myself struggling and mentally 'complaining', to tell myself to harden up a bit and put my challenges into perspective...it's only a bike ride after all.

As I approach Malawi, it's with a continued sense of excitement that I look ahead to the coming months and all the promise of new people, scenery, and unforseen amazing experiences.

For those interested, the rough plan after Malawi is to head north into Tanzania along lake Tanganyika, up through Burundi, and into Rwanda (where I hope to treat myself to a budget breaking, once in a lifetime, and from what people say, a life changing early Xmas present of visiting the gorillas). From there it's north into Uganda, and crossing the equator for the first time on this trip, where I'm looking forward to cycling through the SW volcanic lakes region, and following the Nile all the way to Juba in South Sudan, which may well be my Xmas destination; and then Kenya and Ethiopia will take me through to late January if all goes roughly according to plan.

Finally, for someone that doesn't feel comfortable on camera and seeing himself on video, I was completley blown away by the wonderful production that ABSA did on #LettiesRide as part of their inspiring #HumanSpirit campaign - so if you haven't seen it, I invite you take 7mins out of your day and do so at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0L8OFA_b3Y&feature=youtube_gdata_player - and please feel free to share it if you like it!

Thank you again, and please remember there's an open invite to join in for a leg or two at any stage of the ride, and if I don't see you somewhere in Africa before, see you in London in just less than 2 years time to watch the Bokke bring the RWC home!


The Fat Kid
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Post by Tan on Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:34 am

Marvellous of Ron to take this upon himself to do, all for the love of his dear friend Lettie.
An admirable man, and all so very touching indeed. hug 

Beautiful scenic views there, all breathtaking. 

Such a shame a few there at the start didn't treat him as well as they could/should have.
*The number of times I've been refused a place to pitch my tent, or been refused water*

A man's epic journey on his bike.  (Human Spirit) Yw6GxoW  bow
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Post by Guest on Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:28 pm

What an experience this gentleman had and what a wonderful tribute to the 'human spirit', as well - thanks ever so much for finding and sharing this with us, Honeybee!

Even in the text, seeing "bribes paid" and "items stolen" made me cringe for him - but what a joy he is to watch (even donned in bright pink - hoot!) - yup, really enjoyed this - thank you again.


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