A bright and shiny morning greeted us and we ‘cheers’ it with a cup of coffee. It was the first morning that we actually took the time for a coffee before we headed out to cycle. But the weather looked so promising that we never even thought the wind would come up again. After all, we were headed slightly inland.
After axing the peninsula ride idea the previous day, we were headed out part-way to Stellenbosch … getting ahead on the following day’s ride. We’d picked a backroad course that would take us through the wheat fields of the Swartland farming district. But we first had to find our way over from the R27 to the N7.
Heading out of Melkbos we turned left instead of heading straight and ended up going back the way we’d come the previous day. That couldn’t be right! Finally we realized our mistake and turned around. By the time we found the correct road and got on the bikes the wind had started to blow.
Heading for the N7, Lynsey had a hard pedal against the wind again but, lo and behold, when she reached the N7 it was freeway! Uh-oh, blue boards … no cyclists! There was nothing to it but to load the bikes and drive the somewhat 7km on the N7 until we reached the turnoff that would eventually lead us, through the farmlands, to Stellenbosch.
But that little ‘backroad’ was definitely little and ‘back’ but not quiet … not quiet at all. With no shoulder to the road and undulating hills that felt like mountains, the ride was hectic for the cyclist. But it was almost as scary for the driver of the vehicle. The impatience of the other drivers was something else and they were taking chances and then roaring passed us while lustily flipping us off in the rearview mirror. When we crossed a single lane bridge and the oncoming vehicle (whose turn it was to wait) just gunned it onto the bridge and narrowly missed not only our vehicle but another behind us, Lynsey nearly had a stroke!
Finally we turned onto the road we were supposed to be on toward Stellenbosch. Then we had a yellow line and a wide shoulder and everything felt a lot better, except the wind … It had blown up such a gale that by the time we’d gone about 24km or so, Suzann called it. It was the second time that day that we’d nearly been blown off the bicycles. First it was Lynsey … when a massive farm implement went by it created such a whirlwind in its wake, she nearly went flying. Then the wind started to gust from the side and nearly undid Suzann. Finally she had to turn into a farm road so that her back was facing the wind in order to get off the bike without the wind tipping her up from the side.
We stopped about 17km short of Stellenbosch and had to backtrack to Melkbos. The guy with the ‘gun’ awaited us at the gate and duly took our temperatures again before we could proceed to our little tent. At least Lynsey seemed to have ‘come alive’ again.
The wind remained unpleasant the rest of the day, well into the evening. So we ended up eating a boiled egg and soup for supper. Mmmmm, soup …