The road to Chapman Peak south from Cape Town, South Africa.

Places to Ride: Cape Town, South Africa

Places to Ride: Cape Town, South Africa

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I’ve never been to Africa before, although I’m not sure Cape Town counts as “Africa”. One thing I noticed is that everyone here is very skinny. I also noticed that the meal proportions served at restaurants are very modest. That shows the difference between prevention and treatment when dealing with obesity; whereas in the United States we are taking the approach of eating our way through to the other side, in Cape Town they are simply not getting fat to begin with. Interesting tactic, I wonder if there’s anything to it.

The people here are skinny skinny, not fat skinny like I am. Nothing like sitting at a beach overflowing with 20-somethings with zero body fat in swim trunks and bikinis to make you realize that you’re an old fat fuck. But I digress.

I also never imagined that I would regret not bringing my bike to Africa. In fact, I regret not bringing two bikes to Africa; on the flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, I spied with my little eye many a twisty gravel road snaking their way over mountains in the desert. Gravelbone abounds, provided one isn’t taken down by a cobra or a rhino or a tiger or an elephant or a leopard. Especially that last one, there’s no outspeeding those.

Driving the spectacularly undulating, winding roads down to the Cape of Good Hope was a study in how to build the perfect road for Cycling. People here also don’t drive very fast, so the lack of a shoulder doesn’t even seem suicidal. Whats worse is the multitudes of skinny riders making excellent use of the riding bounties to be had. Climbone abounds.

I’m a bit angry with myself for not bringing my bike(s) or even my Cycling kit, but I intend to rectify the situation by ordering double-portions of food and looking for fitness in the bottom of wine bottles as I am given to understand you can find the solution to loads of problems there, like fortune cookies for alcoholics.

In any case, Cape Town now holds a prominent place on my list of places to ride. I’ll be buggered if I’m not bringing my bike next time.

// Breaking The Rules // La Vie Velominatus // Le Graveur // Musings from the V-Bunker // Places to Ride

  1. I’m sure we can hook you up with a bike and kit – how long are you hiding in Africa for?

  2. I feel your pain…

    However, I rented a bike when I was down there. Riding on the southern Cape was spectacular…

    I think it was these guys: http://www.capetowncyclehire.co.za/
    delivered a bike to my door!

  3. Cheetahs are the fast ones. The leopard will just wait in a tree and drop on you with no warning.

    Also, add springboks to the list.

    http://youtu.be/S2oymHHyV1M

  4. Hi Frank, please come on tour with Bikes ‘n Wines. We got you covered and will show you the most amazing places of the Western Cape by bicycle! http://www.bikesnwines.com

  5. @Nate I saw the title and came here to post the exact same video.

    I had my mountain bike with me when I lived in ZA for a few months (the other side, just inland from Durban) and did not regret it. Yeah, those South Africans are fitness freaks… they’re version of a running race goes between Pietermariztburg and Durban, uphill one year and downhill the next. Or you can paddle… a bit longer at 124 km.

    That said, there is a pretty high contingent of rednecks (jaapies) and some fairly crippling poverty/social inequality.

  6. @DeKerr

    Good god. They’re running and carrying double kayaks.

    I will not be able to un-see that.

  7. At least it looks like you got to Chapman’s Peak, even if not by bike. For next time, circumnavigating the Cape Point Peninsula (down the Atlantic and back along False Bay) is a very scenic ride indeed. Or come for the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March which does just that, the other way round.

  8. Old fat fuck. I feel this way sometimes too. The truly terrible part is that I’m less fat than around 95% of Americans. It’s truly astonishing, and depressing, how many folks across the spectrum are in serious trouble.

    I don’t know what is going to change the problem. You can’t tell people they’re fat and it’s due to their choices. Bullying is a big-time no no these days. You can go after food corporations all you want, they’ll say they don’t force their products into mouths. And, addressing the fact that obesity affects people living in poverty at a higher rate is an ever more unsolvable problem than just obesity.

    Frank – I feel your pain. Prince Edward Island a couple years ago. A dedicated trail across the island, drivers that drive below the speed limit…and I was without a bike. Oh man, did I regret that.

  9. Traveling without kit or bike, not the skinniest guy in the area…are you involved in some witness protection program or something?

  10. Don’t we have a rule that says “where the Velominati goes, so does his/her bike”. Huh… I thought we did and observe it obsessively.

    As to the fat problem. 1, your not allowed to call it fat. Well, that’s what it is. No, you’re not voluptuous, you are in fact fat. 2. the healthy body image thing has gone too far. I am all for a healthy body image, but when an a morbidly obese person stands up and says “I love my body just how it is and there is nothing wrong with it” I get pissed. Fine, love your heart attack waiting to happen diabetic lump of lard you created when you forgot to stop eating, but I’m not paying for medial bills to keep it alive when you hit 40. The operative word here is “HEALTHY” body (image).

  11. @Ccos

    Traveling without kit or bike, not the skinniest guy in the area…are you involved in some witness protection program or something?

    I find it hard to imagine Frank keeping that low a profile.

  12. And if he deigns to respond to that, I know exactly how he will and will post proof of it after the fact.

  13. @Puffy you’re here in Oz aren’t you? Hear the rubbish spouted by a couple of docs this week that they wan’t to add gastric sleeve operations on to the public health register so as to help obese people quickly lower their risk of obesity related diseases such as type 2 diabetes?

    How about you teach them some fucking lessons on living life healthily or explain to them that there’s a reason it’s called “Survival of the Fittest

  14. @Mikael Liddy

    @Puffy you’re here in Oz aren’t you? Hear the rubbish spouted by a couple of docs this week that they wan’t to add gastric sleeve operations on to the public health register so as to help obese people quickly lower their risk of obesity related diseases such as type 2 diabetes?

    How about you teach them some fucking lessons on living life healthily or explain to them that there’s a reason it’s called “Survival of the Fittest

    Fat people don’t die off particularly early anymore- we routinely see 80 year olds well over 120kgs anymore. So, as the fittest, you can decide whether a lower risk, outpatient operation to decrease their chronic health burden (ie your tax $…), or continue to be assessed to fix all the complications as they continue to hurtle towards maximum density. Its not as darwinian as you might have hoped. 50 years ago yes.Our advanced medicines keeps people chronic stable for long long periods of time.

    Of course it would be better if we all made the right choices the first time…

  15. And from a strictly Darwinian point of view, if I impregnate a bunch of women and a passel o’ my young ‘uns goes on to reproduce et cetera and in finitum, I’m FIT. Even if I look like the Hindenburg before the flames and oh the humanity.

  16. Meanwhile up here in Canada Rule #9 prevails over all

  17. This obviously misses the point, but there are no wild tigers in Africa.

  18. @frank – Oh the shame and lack of planning. I’m only surprised that you have admitted it! We can also take it that Natural History was not your forte.

  19. @Puffy

    Don’t we have a rule that says “where the Velominati goes, so does his/her bike”. Huh… I thought we did and observe it obsessively.

    As to the fat problem. 1, your not allowed to call it fat. Well, that’s what it is. No, you’re not voluptuous, you are in fact fat. 2. the healthy body image thing has gone too far. I am all for a healthy body image, but when an a morbidly obese person stands up and says “I love my body just how it is and there is nothing wrong with it” I get pissed. Fine, love your heart attack waiting to happen diabetic lump of lard you created when you forgot to stop eating, but I’m not paying for medial bills to keep it alive when you hit 40. The operative word here is “HEALTHY” body (image).

    Have you heard about Fat Acceptance Studies? I sadly became aware of this new academic area some are proposing is worth of it’s own department. Biology, Economics, Fat Acceptance Studies. Some of the proponents actually claim that obesity is the last acceptable reason to discriminate against people.

    Ha, ya right. Everyone is equal, except fat folks. Chris Christie might sue his way right into the White House.

  20. @El

    This obviously misses the point, but there are no wild tigers in Africa.

    What about tame tigers? What about cougars? Any wild cougars in Africa? That might add some spice to the whole sheebang.

  21. @GogglesPizano

    Meanwhile up here in Canada Rule #9 prevails over all

    Fat people… body image… tigers… bloody hell people! Can we not start immediately commenting on the awesomeness of a Colnago in snow? No cantis and he should be going uphill, but SNOW!

  22. @wiscot

    What about tame tigers? What about cougars? Any wild cougars in Africa? That might add some spice to the whole sheebang.

    You don’t have to leave the continental US for cougars. They’re all over in the PNW, including right in our freaking neighborhood. And there you are on your bike, looking for all the world to that cougar like venison.

    Just recently a friend got screamed at by a cat just a mile or so behind me on mountain bike ride. And that guy knows a woman in our town who was commuting home using panniers and wound up playing tug o’ war over her bike with a cougar. Still has the panniers that still have the claw marks.

  23. Frank, you’re not fat.

  24. @DeKerr

    @GogglesPizano

    Meanwhile up here in Canada Rule #9 prevails over all

    Fat people… body image… tigers… bloody hell people! Can we not start immediately commenting on the awesomeness of a Colnago in snow? No cantis and he should be going uphill, but SNOW!

    That looks like that heavy wet sloppy snow too.

  25. @VeloSix

    Yes HEAVY and wet – I figured that when I shouldered my bike there was what felt like 5kg of snow on it …

    @DeKerr

    @GogglesPizano

    Meanwhile up here in Canada Rule #9 prevails over all

    Fat people… body image… tigers… bloody hell people! Can we not start immediately commenting on the awesomeness of a Colnago in snow? No cantis and he should be going uphill, but SNOW!

    That looks like that heavy wet sloppy snow too.

  26. @Ron

    Frank – I feel your pain. Prince Edward Island a couple years ago. A dedicated trail across the island, drivers that drive below the speed limit…and I was without a bike. Oh man, did I regret that.

    Meanwhile, up here in Canada… next time you’re on PEI check out Outer Limit Sports in Charlottetown. Last month I rented a half decent bike and had a blast between conference sessions.

  27. The overwhelming presence of inexpensive (for a Westerner) quality wine in south Africa could make a person swear off beer. It’s crazy. I craved a bike when I was there, but time and budget would not allow. I also felt insecure about being able to stay on the correct side of the road…

  28. @Mikael Liddy

    survival of the fittest does not mean “those who are trim and in shape”, but rather, those who are best adapted to their environment, Or, those who “Fit” the best. Frankly, today’s society is more geared towards fatties with cars that fit people on bikes. It’s a damn shame.

  29. @frank. Don’t underestimate the Rhino Frank… Fast as fuck, even with your sprint!

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