Amanzimtoti to Scottburgh was tough. For Geoff “Heartman” Brink, our intrepid unicyclist, it was 34km of long hills and strong headwinds.
But our boy done well. There were regular stops and we even had the small 24-inch wheeler out for a bit. After having seen him for some weeks astride the mighty 36-incher, which lifts him to a vantage point above the roofs of the biggest cars, this made for a comical sight – like watching Dad sneak a ride on little Tyrone’s tricycle.
As always we had a blast. Bantering with garage attendants, playing football with a boy on the side of the road and old Heartie literally charmed a shirt off the staff at Steers Diner at the Ultra City near Umkomaas. And two surprise visits from old friends who dropped into offer support: Mike Perk and Olivia “OJ” Symcox.
OK. So this is how it unfolded…
The Total petrol pump guys were gobsmacked by the unicycle and one even offered to fill 'er up...
Heartman's old Cape Town work colleague Mike Perk seemed a bit shorter than usual... but, hey, travelling at 12km on the hard shoulder of a highway for hours on end can have hallucinatory side-effects!
Our boy was angling for a free burger and bottomless coffee at Steers branches all the way to Cape Town but was seen off with a kitchen staff T-shirt complete with "sizzling flame" sleeves!
Even if they were seen hotfooting it away from Ultra City, these cows are not, repeat NOT, the source of meat for Steers burgers. But they did have the effect of putting old Heartie off his stride!
And then… big surpriseness! Olivia “OJ” Symcox, a good mate, had just been heard interviewing Heartie’s bride-to-be on Lotus FM when she drew up behind us, bellowing a supportive chant at the unicyclist and flashing all manner of red lights and blaring sirens. Quite an entrance… but our OJ rolls like that!
Hello. A very understated OJ slips in quietly to whisper a few words of quiet encouragement to our brave Heartman. All pix: Hatman
OJ has given the Heart & Sole Tour some serious support over the past few weeks and we love her for this. In fact, Heartie and I have been knocked over by the interest in our unicycle adventure on behalf of landmine victims. People are good. People really do care. And we can’t thank them enough. Beautifulnesses all round us.
So after a day of being buffeted from the side by a plain nasty south-wester, The Heartman is hoping that a gentle north-easter will nudge him in the general direction of Port Shepstone tomorrow (Wednesday). We’re not sure how far we will go tomorrow but we’d love to make Sheppies by Thursday to share a New Year’s drink with some dear friends. Go, Heartie, go!
* Catch our Heartman being interviewed live on SAfm radio at 3pm on Thursday.
* We are aware that some very kind people wish to make donations towards our Heart & Sole “Fuel, Food and Airtime Fund”. I hope to put the account details on this blog tomorrow evening. We have limited dosh for this trip so every little bit helps to take us closer to Cape Town and “Mission Accomplished”. Ngiyabonga, good mense!
What a day! Excitement overload. It kicked off at Wilson’s Wharf this morning with quite a crowd very keen to send The Heartman and I off into the unknown. With friends like these…
With friends like these, I think we’re going to miss them. Right now we’re on too much of an adrenaline high to know whether we’re coming or going. But we went. We went from Durban to Amanzimtoti. And it was good. Nutty unicyclist The Heartman has been whingeing a tad about sore knees since his antics around a 10km mountainbiking trail. They held up. And he cruised. Impressiveness. We’re stoked.
So let’s run our eyes over a few images of the first day of our 1,700km one-wheeled madness to Cape Town, shall we?
Nice. The Heartman gets all the glory and is interviewed by a French television channel at Wilson's Wharf while the world's photographers encircle him (out of picture)...
Well. You know. OK. Next one…
And we're off! Should we stick on the Port Shepstone road headed for Cape Town or be diverted to the airport and a week in The Maldives?
We go to the airport, of course. For a lekker fry-up and bottomless coffee. No airline flies direct to The Maldives from Durbs!
But not before old Heartie has given a, er, crash course in unicycling to a very jovial car Park attendant at Durban airport
What's this? Living the holiday? After three hours of unicycling on the Southern Freeway, we reach Toti... and after a further two hours of unicycling aimlessly around Toti just for the hell of it, we find ourselves in first-night Nirvana!
Rotary International are generously helping us out and Chris and Jane Skinner of the Toti branch kindly offer us a bed for the night. Only it comes with a unsurpassed seaview, a right kiff swimming pool, a fish and chips supper, a couple of beers and a good few laughs before bedtime.
Here. Help yourselves to a good chortle…
The notorious Heartman Cabaret enters swimming pool right with a, er... um... what would YOU call this? All pix: Hatman
Nice. All in all a very good first day. Even if the lack of a hard shoulder on the freeway exiting Durbs and loads of traffic gave us a good few hairy moments. And the long hill after the airport approaching Amanzimtoti tested The Heartman big-time. But he styled it. Like he’s styling it with some serious snoring next door. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you and go to get some shut-eye myself.
We want to get to Scottburgh tomorrow so we’re getting up at four to get an early start before the heat kicks in. Toodlepip!
“Geoff, I wish you the best of luck. I know how painful riding a unicycle can be! I hear you are regarded as ‘slightly mad’. Well, join the club! And ride safely.” Richard
This is the message I received in an e-mail from Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group of companies and one of the patrons of the Mineseeker Foundation.
To say that Heart & Sole Tour unicyclist Geoff “Heartman: Brink and I are chuffed about this is an understatement on a stratospheric scale. Inspirationalness overload, dear Hatpeople!
If we weren’t hitherto inspired enough to finish this 1,700 mad adventure from Durban to Cape Town, we are now.
We leave from Wilson’s Wharf in Durban at 8.30am tomorrow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You can follow us almost every kilometre of the way by checking our progress on this blog… and help our cause of raising awareness of the evil of landmines by sharing this with your friends.
* You may also be updated by following “fredhatman” on Twitter (simply click on that chubby blue bird perched at the top of this page) or join the Facebook group “Heart & Sole Unicycle Tour – Durban to Cape Town”. There will be regular updates posted on there each and every day of our unicycle ride, expected to last about seven weeks…
Friends are clambering over each other (well, kind of) to help us achieve our Heart & Sole dream of getting Geoff “Heartman” Brink from Durbs to Cape Town on his unicycle.
Rich McLennan, the Durban 2010 website supremo, can’t do enough to support us. He hurtles around on his mountain bike of a weekend and came up with the tasty challenge of pitting our intrepid unicyclist against the vagaries of the 10km Blue route at The Holla mountain biking trails spot near Ballito on Sunday.
The idea was to get his riding mates to sponsor The Heartman for every kilometre of the track that our man managed to cover. Coolness. And it was cool. Not only cool but rainy, windy and the track was radically wet. Stop. Wait a sec while I push my chest out to Schwarzenegger proportions. Our Heartie unicycled down steep hills on a rutted dirt track, he one-wheeled it up similar inclines. He sploshed his way through small lakes which other people like to call call puddles. He outdid himself. And he finished the course. Ten kilometres of two-wheeled recreational stuff was chewed up his AmaOneTyre. What a boykie!
Check this out…
OK. So some of the hills were seriously tough for a man on one wheel...
... but not tough enough to knock our Heartie off his AmaOneTyre for very long! Above pix: Rich McLennan
Nice work, me Heartie. Tarmac will be a right treat after that muddy little lark! So we will leave from the main car park at Wilson’s Wharf at 9am on Monday (that’s this Monday, be still my palpitative heart!) and we are expecting to be serenaded out by the thumping engines of a good few Harley Davidsons. After that, who knows? We aim to arrive in Cape Town on Valentine’s Day so that Heartman and his “Unveiled Sweetheart” can exchange vows and other romantic gestures on Camps Bay Beach before they get married in May.
Before that, more than 1,700km of unknown adrenaline-fuelled adventure and assorted wildnesses. We are so amped to go, it’s indescribable. Spiritual, babies!
And you will be able to follow the progress of our Heart & Sole Tour at least twice a day on this blog and also on Twitter and facebook, not to mention YouTube and other websites you and me haven’t yet heard about. But more about that later. One more pic, just by way of a big thank-you to our mate Rich for organising 10km of blood, sweat and and a couple of Mickey Mouse plasters for our boy at the weekend…
Bikers in arms... The Heartman and Rich McLennan look grubby but happy at the end of the 10km light training ride at The Holla. Nice one, Rich! And big thanks to Wayne of The Holla for allowing this madness to take place on his property! Pic: Hatman
You know that sometimes I like to kick off a blog post with a picture. This is one of those times. Stick around. All will become clear. Possibly.
This is Dilana. This tiny woman has a humungous presence and an even bigger voice. On Saturday night, she spoke out against landmines for the Heart & Sole Tour. We love her.
Geoff “Heartman” Brink and I are being constantly amazed by the generosity of spirit shown for our Heart and Sole unicycle tour by people we don’t even know.
We are reminded time and again that people are intrinsically good. Better than good. People are generally kind, compassionate and full of good lovingness. And when we tell them that The Heartman is about to ride a unicycle 1,700km or more to Cape Town to raise awareness of the evil of landmines, there is very little they won’t do to help the cause.
When we tell them that every 19 minutes, somewhere on our planet, somebody – and it is usually a woman or child – has their life devastated by the explosion of one of the millions of military killing devices left scattered around after wars, they are moved to feel very angry indeed. Angry that it is totally unnecessary that people continue to be maimed or killed by unexploded ordnance that is left to lie treacherously around on our earth. Earth that otherwise could be planted and harvested to feed the mostly poor nations which are especially blighted by the planting of landmines.
People like Annette Oberholster, a friend of The Heartman, who has been folding origami cranes in a desert in Qatar so that we may sell them to raise money for fuel and food for our ride which will take around six or seven weeks. OK, so the paper birdies didn’t arrive in Durban in time for us to take to the Dilana/Toni Rowland gig in Pinetown on Saturday night to exchange for 10 bucks or so with people in the audience.
We went up there anyway. To meet with Toni, the beautiful musician who is the ambassador of the Heart & Sole Tour. And to experience Dilana, who had expressed her wish to support us in any way possible. When we meet the diminutive human dynamo who is Dilana, she cannot do enough to help. During her set of heart-wrenching songs showcasing her mega-kaaaBooom voice, she gets old Heartie up on stage to intro the audience to our adventure and ask the hardcore rockers and bikers there if they would like to part with a little cash to help us out.
They did. Big-time. Beautiful hairy, leather-jacketed, multi-tattooed, Harley-riding people. Who care. Let’s have a look at what unfolded…
Dilana gives The Heartman the big intro on stage, he threw his hat into the audience... and the donations came rolling in!
R970. Nine hundred and seventy ront, people. Do you have any idea how much of total coolness that is? Couple of tanks of petrol for the old back-up truck, my babies. Thank you Dilana, Eric, Toni, Bronwyn, John, Kai and everybody else who was at VMacs in Pinetown on Saturday night. You rocked. And we rolled. And we all, like, well, y’now… yeah, rock ‘n’ rolled. For people who have had limbs blown off their bodies.
OK. I’m going to play you out with a few more pics. Because you’ll dig them. Yes. You will. You’ll see…
Bronwyn Rowland, Toni Rowland and Dilana... nice, hey?
Another kiekie of Immense Voice Woman. Just because I dig it. Do you?
This is Heartman smoking a rare cigar. Somewhere around Pinetown at 2.30am. I bought it for him before the gig for R23. Because I knew it was to be a special night. And it was. That is all. All pix: Hatman
Thank you for coming. I love you, Hatpeople. Buy a T-shirt on the way out. And please find out more about Dilana and her tour with Toni Rowland right here.
* You might have noticed that I didn’t publish an “Umdloti Interview” at the weekend. That’s right. I didn’t. And I won’t until Heartman and I get back from The Heart & Sole Tour sometime in February next year. Because it’s all about the unicycle ride now, OK? We leave in a week’s time and there’s a lot of stuff to sort out before then. Excitingness overload!
Here at the Bush Palace, our “Control Tower” for the Heart & Sole Tour to raise awareness of landmines, we hold a great fondness for brilliant advertising.
So when an ad campaign comes along which is both ingeniously executed and highlights the man-made and totally unnecessary scourge of despicable landmines, we are doubly chuffed.
Witness this clever little concept dreamt up by the bright young things at a New Zealand advertising agency, Publicis Mojo on behalf of an anti-landmines organisation called CALM…
OK, So you tear the tomato sauce (ketchup) sachet and "blood" spurts out of the young boy's foot. Cleverness overload!
What do you make of that? Sharpness, hey? I think that it’s good to know that some people in New Zealand are thinking about something other than rugby. And making such a powerful point about landmines. Which affect the lives of somebody somewhere on our planet every 19 minutes of the day and night.
Which is why unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink and I are soon to head off on the 1,700km from Durban to Cape Town to raise further awareness of landmines. Well, Heartman will be pedalling his AmaOneWheel and I’ll be driving behind him, watching his back and blogging all about it. Right here. On this blog.
We’re doing a seriously intensive ride down the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast next week so, if you see us on the road, feel free to give us a nice, quiet and encouraging thumbs-up. Just don’t draw up alongside my unicyclist in your car and hoot… Old Heartie tends to fall off and scrape his knees when people do that! Then I’ve got to stop, get out of the truck and administer a Mickey Mouse plaster to his wounds. And stop the ooze of “ketchup”!
My dear Hatpeople, please be seated. And please be prepared to experience phenomenalness overload.
I present to you a totally mad Scotsman Danny MacAskill, who clearly got so bored with lolling around on the sofa in his Edinburgh apartment and watching re-runs of Noot Vir Noot, that he decided to pop out for a bike ride…
You might want to take a few deep breaths before reading on. I’m fine with that. Just let me know when to continue… I’m waiting patiently. That was a lot to absorb. And just as you’re winding down for the Christmas hols too.
OK. Are you ready? Good. That was footage shot over a period of a few months in and around Edinburgh by Dave Sowerby of our Danny, who is a member of the Inspired Bicycles team.
Good name. Inspired Bicycles. Could be improved, methinks, to Chuffing Unbelievable Stuff Performed On A BMX Bike team, though. How was it for you when he rode his bike along the top of the spiked railings? How did you feel? Are you over it yet? No?
That’s cool. Neither am I. I’m so not over it that I’m thinking of getting our nutty Heart & Sole Tour UNICYCLIST Geoff “Heartman” Brink to try that on one wheel. And he will. Try, that is. Well, we still need funds (and a back-up vehicle) for our Heart & Sole Tour so I scheme we’ll get old Heartie over to a place where there are some nice sharp railings and see if we can get some coins tossed into a flat cap.
You might think that my driving behind our Heart & Sole unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink for 1,700km from Durban to Cape Town next month is to be, apologies to Nelson Mandela, a “Long Stretch to Boredom”.
I don’t think so. If our training rides are anything to go by, it’s never ever a dull moment, my dear Hatpeople.
Take our late afternoon (and somewhat into the night) ride from Umdloti to Mount Moreland on Monday. Overcast. Damp. Dirt road. Bumpy. Heartman plenty time on bum. Hilariousness!
Allow me to run you through this unicycling sitcom in a series of pictures. Bear in mind that, never mind my nutty unicyclist friend wobbling around up front, I’m negotiating a heavily rutted dirt track in second gear, left hand on steering wheel, shooting these pics freestyle with right hand out of the window. OK. Seatbelts on? Here we go…
Gotta love The Heartman! One moment he's styling it over the bridge and the next...
... he's taking a little nap with AmaOneWheel on the side of the road
Wait! It's woken up. Oh, I see. I know that smile. It fell off (again). And you say you want to ride 1,700km to Cape Town?
Mmmm. There are lots more where those came from. But let’s keep wheeling on. OK. Funny anecdote alert. Funny then. Funny now. Funny forever. I’m focusing so hard on trying to get a decent shot of Heartman weaving crazily around and over the ruts in the dirt road to Mount Moreland that I don’t immediately become aware of a double-cab truck buzzing around behind me. When I realise that I’m holding up the double-cab driver, I swing off to the side and stop to let the vehicle go past. As I raise my hand in apology, the female driver halts alongside me, looks at me in a manner which suggests I might be something really nasty which has crawled out from the sugar canefield and says: “What about you?”
Er, what about me? I thought of starting with my birthplace and birthdate and then telling her about being dropped on my head by the doctor but, seeing the look on her face, thought better of it and explained that I was driving in support of the unicyclist ahead who was about to ride from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness of landmines.
She twitched her Nip ‘n Tuck nose, tossed back her Terry Scott hair, adjusted the Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and screwed up her Revlon lips before shooting me a “I live in a huge Zimbali house and drive a very expensive double-cab. I’m very important so don’t screw with me, bru” look. This cabaret interlude gave me time to glance at the name plastered over the side of her vehicle. “Dick Muir… sponsored by Blah Blah and Blah” it read. Wowness! This was the vehicle of our massively-esteemed Springbok rugby team assistant coach! Now I’m a huge fan of former Natal Sharks and Springbok centre Dickie Muir and know him to be a top-notch guy so, instead of concocting something horrible to say to the female driver of Dickie’s double-cab, I smiled sweetly and waved happily as she sped off past a bemused Heartman…
Let's not have any Muir of that, please!
As I say, never a dull moment. Now, where were we? Oh, right. Yes. Our spirits were almost immediately lifted when a canecutter strolling along the road saw the man riding on AmaOneWheel and exclaimed “Hau Nomzaan!” This is what ensued…
Our friendly canecutter clearly thinks there's work to be done on Heartman's Zulu war dance...
... and Heartie reckons Canecutter has some way to go before mastering AmaOneWheel!
Coolness. That’s more the kind of vibe we like to cultivate on our rides. In fact, come to think of it, I am noticing a pattern forming. The more expensive the vehicle, the greater the disdain of the driver. The more dodgy the car, the greater the interest and support from the driver. As is the case with the unsophisticated farm worker standing by the side of the road… pure joy at seeing somebody crazy enough to ride a bicycle with only one wheel. Phenomenalness from the common man. We love it.
OK. So I’m sure you have work to do. Let’s wrap this up with a couple of pics of us making our way back to Umdloti along a cane farm road in the dark. Because we had so much fun, we didn’t realise the time. We roll like that, Heartman and I. Big kids. Enjoy, good Hatpeople…
X marketh our nutty unicyclist! By the light of Hatman's back-up truck does Heartman unicycle home through the canefields...
Our Heart & Sole training ride neareth Umdloti and a hot supper. But by this time, I think Heartman's walking and I'm weaving all over the dirt track so much that this is the result of the camerashake. Good fun. Good night! All pics: Hatman
After days of painstakingly assessing the final mo’s in our “Great Camps Bay vs Umdloti Mo-off” contest, Judge Lucy eventually adjudged the “Trucker” ‘tache sprouted by The Heartman of Umdloti as the winner.
Lucy Balona, head of Marketing and Communications at Cansa, the organisers of the “Mo-vember” campaign to raise awareness of cancers afflicting men, sportingly agreed to be the judge in the competition between Seth Rotherham, superstar blogger and sex symbol of Camps Bay, and Geoff “Heartman” Brink, Heart & Sole tour unicyclist and generally hailed as the most macho of he-men in Umdloti.
This is how “Judge Lucy” reported back her findings to fredhatman.co.za:
I am going to have to go with the Heartie’s final Mo. Our Seth’s Mo looks rather frightened, like he’s being caught with his pants down…. oops… and you didn’t send a big enough bribe! So First Prize to supercool Heartie who seems very comfortable with his Mo.
I reserve the right to have my mind changed, depending on the amount of donations that come rolling in ….
Head: Marketing and Communications
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)
Toll-free 0800 22 66 22
Leading the fight against cancer in South Africa
Right. Thanks, Lucy, for being such a sport of great jolliness and a judge as astute and diligent in your inspection of the evidence presented before you as any in our esteemed Supreme Court. OK, so let’s have a good butchers at the evidence upon which Judge Lucy was asked to make her decision…
Exhibit A: Seth Rotherham's porn star mo, snapped while out and asprout at Frankie Fleck's clothing range launch in Cape Town
Exhibit B: The Heartman's supamuthatrucker mo, captured post-not-so-close-shave in his bathroom at the Bush Palace
Mmmm. Perhaps you’ll join me in agreeing that this was more of a “No Contest” than a “Mo Contest”? But a massively hairy doff of my red hat to 2oceansvibe\’s Seth for taking part and for so strongly and persuasively promoting “Movember” on his hugely popular blog. And to The Heartman for stopping his endless stalking of wildlife in the Umdloti bush in search of a decent breakfast and postponing his early morning unicycle ride to shave and pose for the above pic.
And, to all those womenfolk who endured the tickling action of hairy upper lips on Tom Selleck look-a-likes for one whole month, a thank-you for understanding why a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to highlight the cancers that continue to nibble away at our nuts and prostate glands. Nice one, angels!
And all those guys who were man enough to adjust the flightpath of their Gillettes so as to allow for a top-lip turnout… bristling good work, Mo Bros! You have to say it: South Africa’s Got ‘Tache!
This is one of the left-over pics from my shoot at the inaugural game between AmaZulu and Maritzburg United at Durban’s excruciatingly gorgeous new World Cup stadium last Sunday.
I like it. There’s something gloriously incongruous about 22 men in full whites enjoying a Sunday game of cricket in the shadow of one of the world’s great football stadiums. At the same time as a dancing, cavorting, vuvu-blowing mass went bonkers inside the stadium.
Legendary cricket commentator Charles Fortune would have waxed lyrical about this, chatting about the Mynah birds hopping around on the boundary while the willowy thwack of bat against ball caressed his ears and how good the chocolate cake sent in by Mrs Labuschagne of Malvern tasted.
Please allow your eyes to run over this genteel, almost pastoral, scene…
Nice. I can almost see old Jim Wright, my high school cricket master, propped up on his "sitting-stick" on the square-leg boundary... and gargling on his fifth gin and tonic of the day. While muttering darkly about the bowling action of the young whippersnapper running in from the "Paris Hilton's Handbag End" Pic: Hatman
Just thought you might enjoy seeing this on your “SA-positive” blog. While I wait on tenterhooks for “Judge Lucy” (Lucy Balona of Cansa) to reach a decision on whom of Camps Bay blogger Seth Rotherham and Umdloti marathon unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink is the deserving winner of Movember’s “Great Camps Bay vs Umdloti Mo-off” contest. I’ll be back later with the result! Please try to remain calm while “Judge Lucy” works her way through all the criteria which pertains to which of our celeb contestants grew the finest moustache! Rescue Remedy comes highly recommended.