They’ve arrived just a day and a bit before they’ll be back in the saddle for tomorrow’s Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour tomorrow, but their ride to Cape Town from Durban to promote awareness for Burry’s Law, and the mutual respect and safety of cyclists and motorists, was worth every minute.
That was the word yesterday from cyclists Dave Bufton, Steve Kristy and Alf Kippen, riding in honour of top cyclist Burry Stander, killed in a taxi accident, and the movement to see a 1.5m gap between cyclists and motorists signed into law.
“We want to raise awareness for the tolerance of both cyclists and motorists to observe and respect that gap. It’s not always the motorist. Often the cyclist is in the wrong,” Bufton said on his arrival in Cape Town yesterday.
“The aim is to get out there and create mutual awareness for cyclists on the road. This extends to motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, to everyone.”
The trio covered a distance of more than 1800km in just less that two weeks.
“We pedalled every single one of those kilometres. We weren’t allowed to cheat. We averaged about 145km a day,” Kippen said while Bufton quipped: “Gee, and our appetite. I’ve never eaten so much in my life. We were told we should eat a lot of protein, but I never knew I could eat like that.”
Kippen describes the start of their tour as a “cowboy shooting from the hip sort of approach”.
Bufton knew from the first day he wasn’t prepared for the journey due to sleep deprivation, inadequate fitness and dehydration. “The first day was horrible. I really battled. The second day was better and after that it got easier every day,” he said, adding that Kristy, the youngest, was a mentor throughout. But now the three are raring to go for the big race.
“I’m not even tired,” said Kippen. “I could easily do another 50 (km) now, but after the first day I couldn’t have done five.”
For Kristy, this will be his first Tour, but it will be Bufton’s sixth and Kippen’s 10th.
After having fun with family and friends yesterday, the group will be signing up for the race and resting today before “riding like hell” tomorrow.
Highs of the journey included riding through the Karoo with miles of almost no traffic, early morning scenery, passes, incredible countryside, the welcome they got in small towns, and the general good wishes directed at them.
“I reached speeds I’ve never reached before on a bike,” said Bufton, who found flying downhill exhilarating.
Road conditions were generally very good throughout.
Though there were far fewer lows, one was when their alternative bikes were stolen just outside Port Shepstone on their second day, despite being chained to the back of a moving vehicle. They had both road and mountain bikes.
“Guys jumped on the back of the van and just grabbed them, but the bikes were retrieved thanks to the help of locals,” said Bufton.
There were funny moments: “Somebody nearly got arrested for trespassing in a mielie field carrying a toilet roll,” Kippen revealed.
Bufton said they couldn’t have completed the journey without the incredible support they received along the way.