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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.

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Join 100 Million Christians in taking a stand on Corruption and Poverty! Click here for more information.  Follow @EXPOSEDCAMPAIGN on twitter, like EXPOSED on Facebook - visit the EXPOSED website.

Sunday
Apr072013

Facing the facts about failure...

Today I have the wonderful joy of preaching at 3 services at the beautiful Mosaiek Church in Johannesburg.  This is a truly remarkable contemplative, missional, community of Christ followers.  I am so deeply blessed by their desire to fully integrate the contemplative lifestyle with a missional focus.  Encounter God, encounter the world.

I'll be speaking about failure and regret today.  It is not often that one can have an 'adult' talk with a Church.  I say this because so many Churches expect the kind of input that I give to my six year old, motivational, simple and entertaining.  This community, however, has moved largely beyond that point.  I see in them a desire for authentic living which inevitably means that not everything in life will be successful, victorious or filled with acclaim.  The reality is that much of our lives revolve around how we cope with the inevitability of failure and regret.

Two quotes have been living within me as I have prepared a few words to share with them:

O Lord, who else or what else can I desire but you?  You are my Lord, Lord of my heart, mind, and soul.  You know me through and through.  In and through you everything that is finds its origin and goal.  You embrace all that exists and care for it with divine love and compassion.  Why then, do I keep expecting happiness and satisfaction outside of you?  Why do I keep relating to you as one of my many relationships, instead of my only relationship, in which all other ones are grounded?  Why do I keep looking for popularity, respect from others, success, acclaim, and sensual pleasures?  Why, Lord, is it so hard for me to make you the only one?  Why do I keep hesitating to surrender myself totally to you?

Help me, O Lord, to let my old self die, to let die the thousand big and small ways in which I am still building up my false self and trying to cling to my false desires.  Let me be reborn in you and see through you the world in the right way, so that all my actions, words, and thoughts can become a hymn of praise to you.

I need your loving grace to travel on this hard road that leads to the death of my old self and to a new life in and for you.  I know and trust that this is the road to freedom.

Lord, dispel my mistrust and help me become a trusting friend.  Amen

- Henri Nouwen (A Cry for Mercy).

Then there is this remarkable insight from JK Rowling's commencement speech to the graduating class of Harvard University.  

At her Harvard commencement speech, "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling offered some powerful, heartening advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems "worth more than any qualification I ever earned." In her speech, which I would highly recommend you google and read, she tells of how she failed catastrophically in her life –

I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.

However, she went on to say that,  

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than I was and began diverting all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

She had ‘fallen’ into her life’s purpose through an embarrassing, costly and heartbreaking failure.

Here are two further insights that have been a great help to me on this path - and believe me, I am something of an 'expert' at failure (and regret)!

The greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally unsolvable. They can never be solved, but only outgrown. 

- Carl Jung

 First there is the fall, and then we recover from the fall. Both are the mercy of God!

- Lady Julian of Norwich


Monday
Apr012013

30daysofbiking (30 days of biking 2013)

We were away for the Easter weekend in Grabouw. It was wonderful to be with friends and family, and to be riding some of the world's best mountainbiking trails!

Today was special for another reason - it is the start of '30daysofbiking' They have the following to say about this fun, and wortwhile, cause:

30 Days of Biking, whose fourth year begins April 1, has one rule: Bike somewhere every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We advocate daily bicycling because we believe it enriches lives and preserves the Earth. A worldwide, thousands-strong community of joyful cyclists has been forming around that idea since April 2010—and will further amass in 2013! We ride our bikes every day.

I didn't get to ride my Brompton today - but I did start 30daysofbiking by doing a GREAT Moutnainbike ride on my Mongoose out in some of the most remarkable mountains and singletrack in the world - Lebanon trails in Grabouw.  Here is a picture, and here’s the Endomondo trail.

Sunday
Mar312013

Resurrection

A blessed Easter to all. May Christ raise you and the whole of creation to newness of life.

Resurrection

Long, long, long ago; Way before this winter’s snow First fell upon these weathered fields; I used to sit and watch and feel And dream of how the spring would be, When through the winter’s stormy sea She’d raise her green and growing head, Her warmth would resurrect the dead. Long before this winter’s snow I dreamt of this day’s sunny glow And thought somehow my pain would pass With winter’s pain, and peace like grass Would simply grow. (But) The pain’s not gone. It’s still as cold and hard and long As lonely pain has ever been, It cuts so deep and fear within. Long before this winter’s snow I ran from pain, looked high and low For some fast way to get around Its hurt and cold. I’d have found, If I had looked at what was there, That things don’t follow fast or fair. That life goes on, and times do change, And grass does grow despite life’s pains. Long before this winter’s snow I thought that this day’s sunny glow, The smiling children and growing things And flowers bright were brought by spring. Now, I know the sun does shine, That children smile, and from the dark, cold, grime A flower comes. It groans, yet sings, And through its pain, its peace begins.
Resurrection - Mary Ann Bernard. From Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, eds., A Guide To Prayer (Nashville: The Upper Room, p. 144)
Thursday
Mar212013

A beautiful day in Cape Town!

Today is Human Rights day in South Africa - a bank holiday! After the pressure, long days, early mornings, late nights, back to back flights, and many meetings, we took the day to do some sight seeing around our city. It is awesome to live here! I feel so blessed!

The day started by taking a friend to the airport, then a lovely Mountainbike ride (I did a radio interview for EXPOSED from up in the mountains), and then around to Cape Point, Camps Bay, Hout Bay and finally home.

Tuesday
Mar122013

EXPOSED - Toolkits to mobilize Christians and the Church against corruption.

Last night we had a wonderful event to mark the second phase of the EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption campaign in Cape Town.  150 guests from every continent were present to participate in the launch of:

- A toolkit to equip and mobilize individual Christians and Churches to take a positive stand against corruption.

- A toolkit to equip and mobilize individual Christians in business to take a positive stand against corruption.

- The Global Call sign up tool to gather signatures with which to petition the leaders of the G20 nations.

Here are a few photographs and the official press release for the event.

Corruption is not just greed, the abuse of public influence, bribery, or secret and dishonest deals and money lost through tax evasion. Corruption kills!

Graham Power, the founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical, reminded a gathering in Cape Town on Monday March 11 2013 that ‘We will never rid the world of systemic poverty until we rid it of systemic corruption’.

‘Over US$1 TRILLION goes missing every year from the global economy as a result of corruption (1) and it’s predicted that illegal tax evasion alone will be responsible for 5.6 million children dying in developing countries between 2000 and 2015 (2). That’s 1,000 children every day. We think it is time for us to take action,’ said Rev Joel Edwards, International Coordinator of EXPOSED, the global Christian campaign aimed at exposing corruption, one of the major causes of poverty.

Speaking at the event in Cape Town, South Africa, to mark the beginning of public action as part of the EXPOSED 2013 campaign, Joel Edwards and Mr Power were among leading international figures from the world of church, business and government who challenged millions of Christians worldwide to make a stand against practices which ultimately keeps the poor in dire poverty.

The event, attended by 150 members of the press, church, business and government also saw the launch of some vital resources and tools to help people across the globe take a stand against corruption. This includes online resources to help churches and businesses to sign the EXPOSED campaign’s Global Call for Integrity, and toolkits to help people challenge corruption wherever they find it – in their communities, in their business and financial dealings and in the government.

‘We want a million people to sign our Global Call for Integrity, a call for financial transparency and honesty, which will be presented to leaders of the most powerful economies across the world. But that’s just the start of it,’ said Rev Dr Dion Forster, Chairman of EXPOSED. He went on to say: ‘Each one of us must realise that we have a critical part to play in tackling corruption in our own lives and communities.’

South African businesswoman Michelle Harding spoke to the Cape Town audience, saying:   ‘My stand against corruption was worthwhile because I was being obedient to God.  I believe that leaders have to accept responsibility for change.’ She spoke of how, as the Managing Director of a plastic pipe company in South Africa which was part of a crooked cartel that had been fixing prices and rigging bids for decades, she woke up to corruption and has since helped to clean up her industry. 

Dr. Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise and honorary lifetime President of Lausanne, added; ‘If a country decays it is the failure of the Church to be salt. If is the country is dark, it is the failure of the Church to be light. EXPOSED allows Christians to shine a light on corruption.’

The Cape Town meeting heard from Joyce Thong from Malaysia how, over the first six months of the campaign since the official launch of EXPOSED in October 2012, advocates across the world have been creating interest in the campaign and have started to challenge business, church and individuals on the issue of corruption. Ms. Thong challenged Church members to commit themselves and to take responsibility in their nations by making a personal commitment, and then extending that commitment into their community.

Activity now steps up, with people being encouraged to sign the Global Call for Integrity and get involved in the culmination of the campaign - a week of action and prayer including 2000 Vigils across the world from 14-20 October 2013 when it is expected many hundreds of thousands of Christian will gather for special church services, public gatherings and initiatives and activities designed to ‘shine a light on corruption.’

The Global Call for Integrity is an appeal from Christians around the world, who represent ordinary citizens, to encourage and challenge the leaders of the most economically powerful nations in the world (the G20) to press for more open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance, urging them to ensure that financial dealings in business and government are open and honest.  The 1 million signatures will be handed to the G20 leaders before their meeting in 2014.

Amanda Jackson, from the EXPOSED team in London said, ‘The resources launched at the Cape Town event aim to highlight the issue of corruption in the next six months and help individuals, churches and organisations across the globe break the barriers of corruption in their own communities and sign the Call for Integrity.’

The Global Call Action Tool allows people to sign the Call for Integrity petition online and also gives access to online resources and widgets which may be embedded in other websites as the message spreads. The Toolkits for Church and Business provide clear, succinct and helpful information to mobilise individuals and Christian communities to take a strong, concrete and constructive stand against corruption.

EXPOSED aims to engage 100 million people across the globe – including Christians and people of other faiths or no faith - to consider practical and positive ways to resist corruption:

  • Light in my heart
  • Light in my community
  • Light in my world

The speakers at the Cape Town EXPOSED event were leading figures from the global church and business community who have direct experience of tackling or exposing corruption:

  • Dr Michael Cassidy – Founder of African Enterprise, Lifetime honorary president of the Lausanne Movement, South African theologian.
  • Rev Moss Ntlha – head of TEASA (The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa), respected Church leader, anti-apartheid activist and theologian.
  • Rev Joel Edwards – Director Micah Challenge International, International Coordinator EXPOSED.
  • Mr Graham Power – Chairman and Founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical movements, leading South African businessman.
  • Mrs Michelle Harding – Leading South African businesswoman and champion for ethics.   

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

(1) Interview with Daniel Kaufman, Global Governance Director, The World Bank Institute, “Six Questions about the cost of corruption” April 8 2004

(2) www.christianaid.org.uk/images/deathandtaxes.pdf

EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor. The EXPOSED coalition partners include Micah Challenge International, British and Foreign Bible Society, American Bible Society, World Evangelical Alliance, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical, Tearfund,

Tearfund Nigeria, Global Day of Prayer, Global Prayer Resource Network, Asian Access, 24/7 Prayer, Jericho Walls Prayer International, Business Action Group, Network of Christian Forums,

Langham Partnership/Langham Preachers, Advocates International, Empower21, Malaysian Care/CANOPI, International Federation of Transformation Partners(IFTP), AJS (Associates for a more Just Society Asociación parauna Sociedad más Justa), Tax Justice Network, UNDP or UN Millennium Campaign, Global Poverty Project, Mosaiek Church, CONECAR, Europartners, 

Monday
Mar112013

EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption! Sign the Global Call 

EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption has launched their 'Global Call Action tool'.
If you follow me on this blog PLEASE add your name to the Global Call!
What is the Global Call?

The Global Call is an appeal from Christians around the world who represent ordinary citizens to leaders of the most economically powerful nations in the world (the G20). You can find out more about the G20 nations at www.g20.org

Signing the Call is easy but we need millions of names to make a powerful impact, so once you’ve signed, personally ask 5 more people to sign as well and spread the word at school or work or college. 

You can do it online or sign a hardcopy version, or use the mobile phone text option if it is available in your country. 

What does the Global Call Say?

It asks decision makers from the G20 to take definite steps towards openness in financial transactions. This will help to stop bribery and tax avoidance. 

We call on you, as leaders of the world’s largest economies, to take practical steps that promote greater transparency in the financial affairs of business, government and individuals.

We are concerned that the tax evasion activities of some multinational companies and individuals as well as the corrupt use of funds by government officials, are having adverse effects on the world’s poorest people.

Please increase the ability of citizens worldwide to hold their own governments to account for the revenue they receive from taxes and all other payments, helping to ensure that resources are shared fairly and all people have the opportunity to flourish. 

In the months leading up to EXPOSED in October, please encourage friends, family, people at work or college and everyone at church to sign. 

Monday
Mar112013

The 2013 Cape Argus Cycle Tour (with Megan and my Brompton M6L)!

Yesterday my darling Megan and I rode the Cape Argus Cycle tour.  The weather was just perfect (perhaps a little hot, but beautiful!) the secenery was awesome, and it was just fantastic to spend the time with her!

My seeded start time was 6.48 (K group), however, I started with her and a friend from Church in PA group at 9.28.  We got lots of comments on the Brompton as we rode - it was an absolute star.  Not a single hickup, small wheels around the coast! 110km of pure bicycling fun.  

Here's a picture of us at the start of the race.

The hills were not too bad - although I do realise that I am a little fitter than many other riders. The lowest gear was not quite low enough for an easy spin up Edinburgh Drive or Smitswinkel, and since I was giving my darling wife a 'little push' it took a little more energy.  By the time I reached Suikerbossie I was having to dig a little deeper!  Ha ha! But, we passed lots of riders with BIG wheels and LOTS of gears!

Here's a picture of me with the folded Brompton standing on the side wall about 3/4 way up Chapmans Peak. I had been poking fun at the other riders for 'cheating' with too many gears and wheels that were too large!

I am so proud of my darling wife! She rode very well.  This is her second Argus (she last rode almost a decade ago).  It was my 11th ride. Megan was strong and didn't complain at all. It was so special to share this time with her, both the training and the actual race itself.

We both commented that we just don't spend enough time enjoying the beauty around Cape Town! We live here! But, we tend to get busy with everything else.

You can check out the race route and a few other details on my Endomondo data below.

Monday
Feb182013

The first principle and foundation

This weekend I had the joy of spending some time with the men in my Christian forum group. This is a group that offers both care for the journey, as well as support and accountability along the way. You can find out more about The Network of Christian Forums here.

To structure our retreat together I introduced my friends to St Ignatius' First Principle and Foundation. It is a powerful reminder to keep one's spiritual life centered on what matters most, and out of that to bless God and the world. Perhaps it could encourage you?

The Goal of our life is to live with God forever.

God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.

We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.

For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:

I want and I choose what better leads to God's deepening his life in me.


Thursday
Feb142013

Franco and Sophie - a story of grace

God gave me a wonderful gift this week. It has been an exceptionally busy couple of months with my work at 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption', Unashamedly Ethical and the University. Between travel, meetings, conference calls, speaking engagements, writing and supervision I hardly felt like I was touching sides.

The busyness of life has a way of drawing me away from what matters most. I begin to adopt a functional, rather than a reflective, orientation towards life. My days are spent on tasks rather than prayer and people. This can quickly lead to disconnection from God and God's wonderful world, and the people in it.

Last week was no different. We had a great contact week with our Master of Theology students who are doing the course in missional spirituality. Rev Trevor Hudson and Prof Robert Vosloo came and did the input sessions with our students. I sat in on most of the lectures, and also spent time with the individual students and the group helping them to work towards their research tasks and assignments. At the end of the week the examinations began for the group of students from last year's MTh course. In all 12 students had an opportunity to give a defence of their Masters research projects. This is an exciting time where the students present their ideas and the faculty (lecturers) get to engage with them. Whilst it is an exam, it is also a great time of learning and sharing.

On Monday afternoon one of my Masters students did his defence and did a great job. He has passed and will get his degree. It felt good to celebrate this significant milestone with him! However, as I left the University to rush home in order to go onto a conference call with colleagues in the UK for EXPOSED my mind was already focussed on tasks.

I drove out of Stellenbosch and as I passed Stellenbosch square I saw two people on the side of the road, a young boy and his mother. The mother was clearly very drunk. In fact, she was so drunk that she could not stand or walk without stumbling. She was dangerously close to the moving cars and her little son was applying all of his weight to try and pull her out of the road. My heart was touched. Seeing a little 6 year old boy struggling to help his mother in this situation left me very bruised. So, I turned my car around to the other side of the road and stopped to pick them up.

God had given me the gift of Franco and Sophie. Franco is six years old and has just started school. Sophie is his mother. Her husband died of HIV/AIDS a while ago and she has a drinking problem. Franco was trying to help his mother home.

After I had put Sophie in the front seat of the car, and get Franco securely fastened in the back (in Liam's 'booster seat') I took them home. I discovered that Franco has a brother - he is 9 years old. How sad it is that these two boys bear the responsibility of caring for themselves and their mother. Of course this event touched a very tender part of my own life and brought back memories from my early childhood.

I couldn't do too much for them. After getting Sophie and Franco safely home we talked for a while. I first spoke with Sophie about her life and her struggles. I encouraged her to seek help and prayed with her. It was a hopelessly inadequate response to this very serious situation. I then spent some time with Franco. I told him how beautiful and brave he is. I reminded him that God had made him a very special boy and that God has a wonderful plan for his life! I reminded him that he is loved and that God had sent me to collect him and his mom that afternoon. All that I had in the car to give him was an apple, a banana and one of Liam's story books. He was over the moon with the book.

Franco and Sophie have been living in my heart and mind all of this week. As I go to meetings, as I meet people, as I speak at events, as I plan, as I write, as I pray... God has given me a gift. It is a sad gift, but it is important.

The Bible says "Learn to do what is right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow" (Isaiah 1.17)

Please can I ask you to pray for Franco, Sophie and Franco's little brother? Please ask God to care for them. Please pray that Sophie will find the help that she needs, and the Franco and his brother will be spared from neglect or abuse. Please pray that they may reach the beauty of potential that God has placed in them. Please don't make the mistake that I make and get so busy that you neglect the opportunity to be wounded by suffering.

Tuesday
Feb122013

There are changes afoot in my life

The last few weeks have been a time intense discernment. I have a desire only to do that which is most honoring God and most profitable for God's Kingdom. However, my perspective of what I and my family need, my own struggle with the desire to be of some significance, and the buzz of attention around me makes hearing the voice of God rather difficult. But, I try.

This quote inspires me:

There was no answer, except life’s usual answer to the most complex and insoluble questions. The answer is this: live from day to day; in other words, forget.

Leo Tolstoy; Anna Karenina

What a wonderful blessing it is to be loved by my darling wife and precious children, to be cared for and encouraged by family and friends, to belong to the body of Christ, and to know that all of my life is shielded in God's grace.

Saturday
Feb092013

A great 70km ride with my wife! 

So my wife Megan and I went for our 70km ride this morning.  It was pouring with rain, but since we get so few opportunities to ride together we decided that we would ride regardless.  It was wonderful! I am so proud of Megan - she rode very strong for the whole 70km!  I think she is going to have a very comfortable 110km Argus ride in a few weeks time.

Today I decided to ride with her on Darth (Vader!) my Black M6L Brompton.  It was great to have 6 gears instead of just the 3 gears on Doris.  The bike was so comfortable.  I realise that I am a little fitter than some riders and accustomed to doing longer rides in tougher terrain (sometimes more than a hundred km on dirt on my mountainbike), but this bike is just so easy to ride! It rolled up (and down) the hills around Cape Town.  Shifting the gears does take a little getting used to.  On my old Brompton I have to pedal backwards to change gears on the 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub.  On this bike it seems that I don't need to pedal backwards, I just need to freewheel in order to change the 3 gears in the internal hub.  Then, (for those who don't know) there are two sprokets externally mounted on the hub (as opossed to 1 on the M3L).  The larger (upper) cog is naturally for higher cadence (easier gearing) while the smaller (lower) cog is for lower cadence and harder gears.

I changed gears in this way - imagine that you are riding up a steep hill (from the Lord Charles Hotel on the R44 up towards Steynsrust on the Stellenbosch road).  You start in your hardest gear (i.e., lower cadence and highest speed) = 3rd gear in the hub, smaller cog at the back.  I would call this 6th gear.  As the hill gets steeper you change from the small external cog to the large external cog (left hand shifter).  You are still in 3rd gear in the hub.  This is 5th gear.  Then to shift down you drop the internal gear from 3rd to 2nd in the hub using the right hand shifter (freewheeling), and shift from the large cog to the small cog using the left shifter (this is 4th gear)... 

The challenge is that since you have to freewheel to shift the internal hub gears, but need to pedal forward to change the external cog gears, there is always a little space between your current gear and the gear you want to be in (e.g., 6th and 5th) where you are in the wrong gear. 

Still, I got used to it quite quickly and was shifting up and down without any hassles.  The gears are wonderfully spaced! My lowest gear (1st) is fine for the hills and climbs around Cape Town, and the highest gear (6th) is OK for most descents.  If I was riding on my own I think I would have run out of top gears on my descents.

A few other things I noticed with the M6L is that the Brompton Green tires are very nice.  They roll very smoothly, and as any seasoned cyclist will know - riding in the rain most frequently results in punctures (since you cannot see glass, nails, stones and other things that can cause punctures).  These tires were bullet proof!  Super!

So, all in all a great ride with my wife! A great ride on my Brompton.

If you're interested in seeing the Garmin data from this morning's ride take a look below.

Friday
Feb082013

Doris the Brompton Bicycle has a brother!

 

Doris the (yellow) Brompton has a younger brother!

Darth (Vader!) arrived from the UK yesterday!

Darth is a near mint 2011 M6L Brompton that I bought secondhand from Richard. Darth is a black beauty! In this picture my daughter Courtney is riding Doris and my wife Megan is riding Darth!

I can’t wait to take Darth out for a nice long ride this weekend. The extra gears will certainly help on the hills around Stellenbosch and Somerset West! Darth has 6 gears, whereas Doris only has 3.

Darth also came with a Brompton C bag which is awesome! I sold my iPhone 4 to pay for Darth - a good trade in my opinion.

Why Darth!? Well a black beast like this has to have a strong name - so Darth Vader seemed fitting! Plus it starts with a ‘D’ and fits nicely alongside Doris.

Now I know of 3 Bromptons in South Africa - my two in Cape Town and one other owned by a colleague from the University of Pretoria who is living in George (I think his wife may also have one, so there could be 4!?)

This weekend my wife Megan and I will do a little bit more training for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay cycle tour which takes place on the 10th of March.  Megan's fitness is coming along very nicely! She rode an Argus about a decade ago and did nicely.

I'm fortunate to have done 11 Argus rides over the years - the 110km ride along the coastline of Cape Town is spectacular.  There are few places in the world that are as beautiful.  In addition to this, the spirit of the close to 40 thousand timed riders is magnificent!

Since Darth (my M6L Brompton folding bike) has arrived from the UK I will be doing the training ride on him tomorrow.  There are lots of hills around Cape Town, so have 6 gears on Darth (as opposed to the 3 gears or Doris) is a great blessing! Although, I will confess that the Schwalbe Kojak tires on Doris, and the 13 year old Sturmey Archer rear hub, are much smoother than the Brompton treaded tires and 6 speed Shimano hub on Darth! I also prefer my brown leather Brooks saddle on Doris for the longer rides (tomorrow we will do 70 km).  But, it is important to get some time in the saddle of the bike that I will ride on the day!

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