If you want to follow my progress towards this year's Cape Argus cycle tour on my Brompton then please see my Brompton tumblr blog for more pictures and details about my training and my gear at http://capetownbrompton.tumblr.com
I planned to join some friends for a long road ride this morning on my 'full size' steel frame bike (we planned to do 75km). I put the new slicks onto the bike yesterday evening and got my gear ready last night.
This morning I woke at 5.30 as planned and went out to my garage to get the Diamondback only to find that I must have pinched the tube on the front wheel when I put the new tires on! So, the front wheel was flat.
So, even though I had not intended to ride Doris my Brompton folding bike on this ride I quickly popped back inside and fetched her!
It was a beautiful ride this morning. I only did 60 km because I needed to be home by 8.45am so that I could take care of my kids while my wife went out to run a course with some young folks from our Church.
I rode from my home near Beaumont Primary school in Somerset West up Old Stellenbosch road (it is not quite as steep as Irene, and only have 3 gears is a bit of a handicap on the Cape Town hills!) I met the other guys, Graham Power and Graham Vermooten, at the Steynsrust bridge. Both of them have beautiful full carbon road bikes. We then went on to the R44. It quickly became clear that my gearing and little wheels simply would not match their gears and super light bikes! I couldn't get low enough gears on the hills to climb comfortably, and ran out of gears on the downhills.
Along the way to Stellenbosch the Wannabees road group caught us. You should have heard the comments from the seriously kitted out, and seriously fit riders! "Hey, you've lost half your bike", "Is that a toy?", "Did you loose a bet or something?"
Still, I managed to stick with the group up to the Stellenbosch airfield. When we got to De Kleine Zalze I said to Graham P and Graham V that they should go ahead and not hang about for me. I think they went out to Klapmuts. I would have loved to stay with them but knew I couldn't keep up!
So, I turned at Dorp Street and headed out towards Polkadraai, and then turned towards Spier Wine Estate (this photo was taken at that turn). From there I rode to Zetler road past the Strawberry farm, back onto the R44, over the top of Steynsrust to the beach and back home to Somerset West. The climb up towards Bredell road on the R44 was not too bad at all. I dropped to my lowest gear and just turned the pedals. It did mean that I passed quite a few less fit riders (I'm sure seeing a Brompton pass you is not all that much fun!) But, I have to keep my cadence up to keep moving forward! The ride past the beach was beautiful, but very windy!
The Southeaster pumps in Strand at this time of the year - good training for the Argus. A few years ago I rode in the 'Cape of Storms' Argus (that was the year I met Matt Damon (him on the right and me on the left of this picture - he was in South Africa for the filming of the movie Invictus and rode the Cape Argus Cycle tour for the MAD (Make A Difference) charity). The wind was so strong that many people never completed the ride that year. So a bit of headwind training is always welcome!
I am constantly amazed at how well this little bike handles the long distances and the steep climbs!
But, if the truth be told, I will probably ride my mountainbike or my old steel frame Diamondback with slicks if I am going to ride in a group. No matter how fit you are you will struggle to keep up with other strong riders on their full carbon, super light, 20 plus speed road bikes!
An early morning ride. Such beauty! Such fun! #brompton #brooks #cows #Stellenbosch - (at Vredenheim Wine Farm)