4 Mar 2007

Tour De Soweto

It was 04:20 when the alarm went off. Another early morning!!!! Dragged myself through the shower, have a quick cup of coffee and off we went, to see Soweto.

It is huge and yet it was a bit difficult to find. ......... Reading and understanding maps early in the morning, is not my speciality.

The "tour"started on time. I say tour because I shot out the blocks just to realise I'm riding on my own. After settling into a nice pace, it was time to observe, look around, take in, see what this place was all about. I took in the smells from the city, open cooking fires of potatoes here and pap over there. Other more pungent smells which make your tummy turn.

We turned a corner and up the hill we went, a good hill, and another one. Who said Soweto was flat?! By this time word has spread of things happening in the city and people were coming out their houses to watch us fleeting pass.They clapped, they cheered and all 150 marshals, dressed in yellow T-Shirts, waved us on, left, then right, then left again. Some of the roads were closed to traffic and others had one lane reserved for cyclists. Good effort was put into securing a safe ride. We thanked the marshals as we passed them. They returned our calls with clapping, or cheering, or "Sharp sharp doll!" At one point we had all church goers from a specific church dressed in their traditional blue and white, out on the pavement cheering and clapping.

No, I did not see your TV, or your car, or ....... I saw houses with burglar bars and security gates. I saw very ordinary people. Many of the participants arrived with their bicycles, two sizes too small. Some pedalling bare feet, others with all sorts of lucky charms attached to their bikes, an old man with a lunchbox attached to the front of his bike. We were all taking part in the same event, enjoying our differences. Some of the youngsters whizzing passed me, looked back over their shoulder at my gleaming bike and smiled.

We only did the shorter route and by the time we got back at the start, which was about 9 o'clock, we were looking for something to eat and drink. The beer was getting unpacked, but was still warm. All the ingredients for making juicy hamburgers and boerewors rolls were there, but not ready. Next time, I'm sure they'll have it ready.

I enjoyed the ride, and I'm sure will do it again. Maybe the weekend before the "Big Argus" might not be the ideal date, but still a worthwhile ride.

No comments: