Sharon's Ride Around The World

February 14, 2000

South Africa Swing

South Africa

I never thought I'd do this.I never planned to do this. I planned to ride every mile. I'm not. I started out bravely enough but then my knees started to weaken as did my resolve.

About two weeks in some like-minded riders and myself planned what we call a jailbreak. We climbed in the back of a pickup truck with our bikes and took off to the next town or city. Riding in the back of truck going 70 miles an hour down a Mexican road is an adventure.

Then we got to Africa. After a day spent riding 102 miles in a 15 mile an hour headwind twelve of us hatched a plan. We would rent a truck and trailer to take us to Hazyview. Hazyview is the jumping off point for people who want to view the animals at Kruger National Park.

African roads can be dicey-there are even signs warning of huge potholes. The last few weeks have seen devastating rain and flooding in Africa. We knew this but hadn't seen the damage until we were a few miles from our hotel in Hazyview.

A few miles were as close as we were going to get by car. A huge chunk of the bridge over the Noord Sand River was gone--and we had to get to the other side. Villagers had built makeshift bridges to get over the water...and ladders to get up to the road. For a few rand (African money) the people standing along the road pitched in and helped us make it to the other side. What a sight we must have been--and a windfall for some who needed the money.

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