Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 8: Hole-in-the-Wall to Port St. Johns

Today's run was a mild, 140-km trip from Hole-in-the-wall to Cremorne, near Port St. Johns, South Africa. On tap for tomorrow is a very difficult route, one that takes 8-hrs to cover only 41-km. The problems are that it is very technical, and isolated, so no medical or mechanical support will be available.

I just can't say enough about the Honda CRF230Ls that we are riding. They are not powerful, but they are sure-footed and capable. As I've been fond of saying, they could climb a tree if you'd let them. The bikes are based on dated but reliable technology, and they are tough and easy to repair. Taken together, they make the perfect choice for a trip like this.

Most of today's trip was spent on narrow goat paths, gravel roads, and tarmac. I've used these conditions to try to improve the technique of riding while standing on the footpegs, squeezing the fuel tank with my knees as needed, and holding the grips lightly for stability. Unlike riding while seated, the standing position offers greater visibility, improved speeds over bumps and ruts, and quicker redistribution of weight front to back and laterally.

I started the week feeling quite nervous about the technique but find myself using it more and more, especially now that I've mastered up- and down-shifting with my left foot (and braking with my right) while standing.

Because tomorrow is expected to be terrible and I'm exhausted, I'll stop here. It has been raining all night, and in the low-50s at night, 60s and 70s the past few days. Thanks to everyone for their comments and questions. I read everything even if I'm unable to respond (e.g. on FB).

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Photo credits: Andrew Pawley, Andrew Forsyth


Katybear said...

You didn't mention the amazing rock formation from which, I presume, the name "Hole in the Wall" comes! And good luck tomorrow. As my mother mentioned, *I* can walk faster than 41km in 8 hours! : )

Susannah said...

Hi Andrew,

Have really been enjoying all of your posts. You have a way of bringing things to life. Can't wait to see your pics when you get back.


Mike M. said...

I'll second Susannah's comment - you are in our thoughts, amigo, and we are rooting for you! - Mike M.

Hector Stavrinidis said...

Good luck tomorrow....reading your blogg with great interest as our departure on Friday gets ever closer.
Hope the bikes are in good shape for the return ride back to PE :)
Rgds Hector