Day 12 Biking Africa Villiersdorp to Stellenbosch

close encounters
Notice the gap between the cyclist, truck and edge of road!

Another 7am start to the day as I wanting to reach the Franschhoekpas and it’s 1535 feet (468m) of climbing to its summit of 2424ft (739m) before the heat of the day. The road as already busy with the wine tankers and fruit trucks. I made excellent progress even though the yellow lines side lane kept disappearing 🙁 On the way up I got chatting to a young guy from near Heathrow who was out training for the Argos ride in Cape Town over the weekend. Thats him in the pic if you want to see just how close the fruit trucks get to you on the roads 🙁

A huge group of Harley motor bikers came down on a tour organised by accompanied by a back up truck flying a drone that was taking a video for them. I’m almost certainly in the video if anyone finds it please let me know 🙂

I was surprised how easy it was to get the top with it’s magnificent views of the wine valley below. On the descent I was held up by two huge fruit trucks grinding their way down with accompanying stench of hot brakes.

The town of Franschhoek at the foot of the pass just oozes charm and wealth with it’s crowds of affluent tourists, I managed a yummy smoothie then paid a quick visit to the cycle shop but not a lot to see so I progressed on, eventually stopping at The Eikehof Winery which apparently has the oldest Semillon Vines in South Africa dating back to 1902. They were just setting up for a sit down wedding for 96. I was amazed at the huge space required and to think Em is having 120 people! Me thinks the hall will be very, very crowded! The owner told me a lot about Namibia as his family have a sheep farm there. Apparently there is a stretch of road 200km long with nothing at all 🙁

I then came to the second pass of the day, Helshoogte Pass with its summit at 387m it should have been easy but I struggled 🙁 even stopping for a second lunch halfway up 🙂 In the afternoons the heat from the tarmac becomes a real issue for me. Once again they didn’t do a sparkling grape juice 🙁 Then it was a bomb down to Stellenbosch where it was amusing to see kids wearing shorts and long socks like something out of a 1920’s movie 🙂 A very pretty university town with stacks of coffee shops and green spaces. The final coup de grace was that Keith & Irma (Our friends from The Lycian Trail) live on top of yet another hill 🙂

Strava says I did 42.5 iles and 3,258 feet of ascent, although it switched itself of for the final 6 miles and climb 🙁

Some pics are here.