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!
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.
The world is full of nutters. And most of them live right here in Umdloti, South Africa. Nutters with big nuts and even bigger hearts. Like our Heartman (Geoff Brink) who, as most Hatpeople will by now have realised, will ride a unicycle on the Heart & Sole Tour from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness of the Sole of Africa’s campaign against landmines which still rip the limbs off people, mostly women and children living in impoverished rural villages, long after the warmongers have packed their artillery away for another day.
Heartman is a nutter. And a lovable one who can’t do enough to help people less fortunate than himself. So it’s nice to stumble upon another of his ilk, a man doing something similar far away over the oceans in London.
He is Mark McGowan, who decided he had to do something to highlight the plight of starving children in Africa. And promote a nutritious foodstuff which can help to save thousands of lives. The main ingredient of Plumpynut is peanut butter. So today, on World Hunger Day, Mark smothered his body with peanut butter and began a 24-hour ride for Action Against Hunger around London… on a childrens’ tricycle.
Let’s get a taster of what Mark is doing for the fight against hunger (for those with slower connections, please hit “Pause” and wait for the vid to fully buffer before watching)…
I am loving Mark’s vibe. I can’t stand peanutbutter so it was difficult to watch that. But I’m lucky enough not to be starving. Like most, if not all, of you. Yet very few of us get off our lardy asses and do something about the travesties that blight our planet. Such as landmines and starvation. Geoff Brink and Mark McGowan do. You can read more about Geoff here and Mark here.
Imagine smearing yourself with peanut butter – urk! – and tricycling around the streets of London for 24 hours? Londoners, accustomed to seeing people at their nuttiest, probably assumed he was just taking peanut butter around to his gran’s for afternoon tea. Never mind. That’s how they roll in Londontown.
Peanutman is rolling – very strenuously – for a very good cause. I applaud his spirit and wish him well on his tricyclethon today. I only wish he had used the far more palatable Marmite. Which gives me an idea for old Heartman’s 1,700km unicyclethon from Durban to Cape Town. I’m sure he’ll be willing to smear himself with the good black stuff for the ride. Marmiteman has a good ring to it, doesn’t it? And we won’t be short of something to eat… unlike the 19 million kids in the world who are going hungry.
Hatpeople have been reading me banging on and on about Geoff “Heartman” Brink and his nutty unicycle ride across South Africa to raise awareness of the Mineseeker Foundation’s Sole of Africa campaign to rid our planet of landmines.
It’s been a continuous cacklestream as we’ve watched Heartman fall off his “AmaOneTyre” machine a thousand times, pick himself up, slap on another Mickey Mouse plaster and wobble off again. Well, more good news my babies, the laughing ain’t over… by a long way.
You simply have to stock up on the old Kleenex, seat yourself near to the floor so you don’t bruise yourself when you fall over laughing… and take a butchers at this vid that our good ally, Fred Roed of www.ideate.co.za, dropped on to YouTube last night!
Warning: this video contains scenes of hilariousness overload… OK, flick the switch Projectorman!
Lekkerlag, ne? OK, so after enjoying that little gem, why don’t you trot over here and read the “One Minute With A Superhero” interview that Fred “One Time!” Roed did with our Heartman? It gives a true flavour of the madman that is Geoff Brink… gotta love him!
So Geoff, myself and Genevieve are off to Cape Town (by plane, not unicycle, this time!) in a couple of hours to meet all the Smother City geeks, heckle Helen Zille during her speech and tweak “sex symbol” Seth Rotherham’s nose at the SiliconCape launch tomorrow. I will be blogging here about all of that malarkey as well as our meetings with the media moguls we will be brown-nosing in order to drum up further publicity for the Heart & Sole Tour.
Sponsors are rapidly climbing aboard in support of our landmines awareness-raising initiative and we are almost ready to announce their names and set a date for the departure of the Heart & Sole roadtrip! Watch this space and, remember… “AmaOneTyre!”… “AmaOneHeartman!” “AmaOneWorldWithoutLandmines!”
I’m no gadgety geek but the stuff you can do on an iPhone is radness overload. Thanks to Umdloti iPhonehead Jimmy Reynolds for totally sucking me into an info-vortex which dumped me, head spinning, on Planet iPhone over a couple of G&Ts at the Bush Tavern yesterday.
And it just got much better. American photographer Chase Jarvis has developed an application for iPhone which takes photographing fragments of your world up to another stratosphere altogether. He’s calling it “The Best Camera” and it pretty much pulls in the best of all of the best things about taking pics with a cameraphone and enables everybody (with an iPhone of course) to record what’s happening around them at any time with a totally pro vibe attached.
Let’s see what Chase has to offer us (please be forewarned that our man is plugging his app and “how to” book to within an inch of vulgarity here – doesn’t everybody these days? – but this vid is a complete eye-opener)…
How was that for you, Hatpeople? “Get an iPhone” just zoomed straight to the top of your “Must Have” list? It’s on top of mine. I have to say that some of my most cool pix were snapped using the “Fluorescent” setting on an old Sony Ericsson K800 (see here). I recently became the lucky owner of a Canon EOS 50D – and I’m well chuffed with it – but, when it come to photographing arb stuff on the move, nothing touches whipping the old cameraphone out of the pocket and grabbing the image in an instant.
The iPhone, along with Chase’s awesome app, will massively enhance this whole slice-of-life capturing thing and my red hat is tipped in gratitude towards can’t-help-enough Stephen at Durban’s Gateway iStore for offering to lend me an iPhone for our Heart & Sole unicycling marathon across South Africa.
I’ll be documenting Geoff “Heartman” Brink’s mad 1,400km ride from Durban to Cape Town every inch of the way on this blog and the iPhone will give me the means to post words, pics and vid on the blog, Twitter, facebook, YouTube and flickr with a few brushes of its screen.
Now I just need to buy Jimmy a whole bunch of G&Ts in exchange for a crash course in how to get the minimally-loaded left-brained side of my lopsided head around the iPhone and Chase’s amazing app!
South African rock musician Toni Rowland has pledged her support for Geoff “Heartman” Brink’s trans-South Africa unicycle odyssey, which has previously been documented here and here.
Toni Rowland: totally behind Heartman's mad unicycle marathon
Our Geoff is hard in training to undertake the approximately 1,400 kilometre stretch on one wheel later this year and was understandably “totally stoked” to hear of Toni’s support for his ride. Heartman is unicycling from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness of The Sole of Africa, the Mineseeker Foundation’s anti-landmine campaign. He is also hoping, through a competition to be announced soon, to raise sufficient funds to enable him to afford a “pretty awesome wedding” for the woman he so desperately wants to marry.
Toni, who recently released Unfolding, a new album which is receiving huge acclaim in the USA and Britain, is thrilled to be involved with the Heart & Sole Tour. She told fredhatman.co.za: “The Heart and Sole tour is just amazing. Geoff riding a unicycle across South Africa in a way reflects the whole plight of the people that are affected by landmines. A solitary figure on a single wheel is kind of what people who have lost a limb are left with.”
Toni is an active ambassador for the Sole of Africa campaign and has travelled to Mozambique with the Mineseeker Foundation to see for herself the effects of landmines on women and children.
This experience inspired Toni to write a song for the Sole of Africa campaign entitled “Put Your Foot Down”, which she wrote in Spain while recording Unfolding with former Uriah Heep rock superstar Ken Hensley. The royalties from the sales of this song are being donated to the Mineseeker Foundation. You can find out more about Toni at her MySpace profile or on her personal website.
Meanwhile, the Heartman has been drawing bemused glances – and even the odd cheer – while wobbling down the Umdloti beachfront during his daily practice sessions. He has upgraded from a 24″ wheel to a 36″ and, weighing in at a portly106kg, presents a rather formidable sight to locals not accustomed to seeing anything more exotic than a horse and cart offloading barrels of beer outside the Bush Tavern.
A formidable (and hilarious) sight he may be but Heartman didn’t exactly impress a Doberman Pinscher which ran across our heroic unicyclist the other day. My red hat is extravagantly doffed to local Umdlotian Marc Desvaux de Marigny (gollyness, I’d kill for a name like that) who captured this beautiful moment…
Fido adds a bitemark to the litany of bruises and cuts adorning Heartman's legs. Nice.
All part of the training schedule. Heartman needs those legs to be impenetrable before meeting up with those killer bulls which roam the roads around Mthata. Not to mention the huge risk of being gored by a fusillade of stilettos when he is mobbed by the adoring supermodels who will be waiting to receive him outside Camps Bay’s excruciatingly trendy Caprice restaurant when the Heart & Sole Tour team finally pulls into Cape Town. As Heartman’s back-up vehicle driver and general watch-his-back man, I’ll have a right job keeping the gals at bay. Hmmm.
Watch out, Cape Town… the Heartman cometh… or, rather, he unicycleth. You read that correctly. UNICYCLETH. One wheel, babies. From Durbs to the Mother City.
No pork. It was announced in Durban last night that Geoff Brink, freelance photographer, treefeller and up-for-anything adventurer, will unicycle across South Africa later this year to raise awareness of The Sole of Africa, a South Africa-based NGO run by the Mineseeker Foundation. The Sole of Africa – its patrons include Nelson Mandela, Graca Michel, Sir Richard Branson and Brad Pitt – works to rid the earth of landmines and support those people, mostly women and children, whose limbs and lives have been blighted by the largely hidden curse of mines left behind after wars have ended.
But why “Heartman”? Well, where there is “Sole”, romance is never far behind. Geoff “Heartman” Brink has, as always, a personal agenda. He hopes that, by riding on one wheel from Durban to Cape Town, he can raise sufficient cash to give the love of his life quite a snazzy wedding. Aaaah. Sweetness or what? Poor woman. But she – Geoff’s sweetheart shall remain nameless for now – says she does know what she is letting herself in for. But she can’t help herself. True loveness, eh?
I’m fine with that. I wasn’t that fine with lying in the middle of the road on Umdloti’s beachfront yesterday, trying to get pictures of The Heartman wobbling around on his unicycle. Please sit back, light something, pour something… and enjoy these three images.
The Heartman knows not the meaning of "Stop"
Wait! It's up, up and... er, the crew on the ship out at sea duck for cover...
Oh. My. Hat. Heartman's gone 10 metres without falling, over-confidence has set in and it's styling it over a speed-hump!
That’s the way he rolls. Our Heartman. A lovable nutter (as originally revealed here.). I can’t think of many people who would have the guts to attempt this thing. Can you imagine Kingsley Holgate on a unicycle? Can you imagine the state of Heartman’s bum a week into the Heart & Sole Tour? Ouchness.
So we’re in discussions with rather excited sponsors and brainstorming the whole logistics side of Heart & Sole (f you’re interested in getting involved in any way, use the “Contact Us” doodah below). And you’ll find The Sole of Africa here. Cool. It’s time for today’s first practice session so Heartman and Hatman are off to amuse the people of Umdloti (and send the local dogs running for cover). Catch you later.