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Cape Town – He has travelled the world, climbed Kilimanjaro and worked with gorillas in Uganda. It’s clear Eelco Meyjes, 63, has an adventurous side – so it was no surprise to friends and family when he decided to cycle from Joburg to Cape Town.
At his daughter’s Vredehoek home, the retired advertiser was relieved to have 1 485km of tarmac behind him. “I’m definitely not doing it again. It was quite an experience.”
The idea of pedalling across the country and tackling his first Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour had been on his mind since he started actively riding again five years ago.
“Look, I’m no spring chicken, but I wanted to do it before it was too late,” he said.
Meyjes spent weeks planning the journey.
He set off on February 9 and enjoyed every minute of the first day as adrenalin carried him over 130km. But things got tougher.
Riding through the Karoo, he was forced to cycle at night to avoid 40ºC temperatures.
He battled with trucks on the highways at night. “The wind from their passing threatened to throw me off every time they went by,” he said.
In the end, it took Meyjes just over 19 days to complete the 1 485km trip, averaging 87km a day. It starts to make the 109km Cycle Tour look a bit small in comparison, but Meyjes still isn’t entirely confident:
“I think on the day it will be the adrenalin pushing me through that final stretch.”
Meyjes is riding to raise money for the Rare Finch Conservation Group. The little multicoloured birds share the forest with mountain gorillas in Uganda.
But he isn’t alone in his cross-country pilgrimage. Ten women cyclists, led by Cindy Wilson, arrived in Cape Town last night from Gauteng by bike, to raise awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation. – Cape Argus