Mmmm. When somebody says this, it doesn’t necessarily mean much. But when it comes out of the mouth of Bruce Fordyce, Comrades Marathon legend, you have every right be feel a bit chuffed.
This is what nine-times Comrades winner Fordyce said to Geoff “Heartman” Brink – and he’s had a smile on his face ever since. I was witness to this stunning pronouncement. Heartman and I had spotted Baddaford Farm Stall nestling among shady trees on the side of the road heading towards Fort Beaufort and the word “Coffee” performed a lightning coup of our minds.
We had no sooner walked in and met owner Jane Roberts when Mr Fordyce strolled in and raised an inquiring eyebrow at AmaOneTyre, Heartie’s trusty unicycle which has carried him over 700km from Durban towards Cape Town, our final destination. Heartie explained what it required to get on to a unicycle, stay on it and ride the distance that he has. This precipitated in his comment and it is inspiration such as this that will carry Heartie the rest of the way to the Mother City. Pure awesomeness.
Here is the picture…
Comrades legend Bruce Fordyce and old Heartie launch their mutual admiration society outside beautiful Baddaford farm stall
Now, let me tell you a bit about Baddaford. Because our association with this beautiful oasis didn’t stop there. It stopped three days later in Grahamstown. After Jane had given us not only free coffee but a lunch on the house. After she had invited us to spend a night or two at the splendid and very old stone house that she shares with husband Jonathan, a farmer of citrus and pecan nuts.
But Jonny also rides a bike. Very passionately. And, in his fifties, was recently challenged into doing his first Iron Man competition when his son said there was no way he could do it. You don’t tell Jonathan Roberts he can’t do something. He did it. And he did it amazingly well. And he and Jane did a phenomenal job of looking after us. There was nothing they wouldn’t do to help us recover from the rigours of the Heart and Sole Tour. They housed us. They fed us. They helped us. To the extent of escorting us in their car safely over the tricky and testing Ecca Pass and into Grahamstown.
We will never forget the kindness and comradeship extended to us by Jonny and Janey Roberts of Baddaford Farm. Enjoy a gander at the beautifulness of our experience…
The Heartman, Jane and Jonathan at the creeper-covered entrance to their gorgeous old stone house, built on Baddaford farm by Jonathan's great-grandfather. The house burned down in 1928 after an ostrich, which was nesting with its chicks under the house, knocked over a lamp and started the blaze. It has been beautifully restored. Take my word for that!
A water stop on the road to Grahamstown ends in a scrumming contest between Hatman and Heartman with Jonny Roberts at scrum-half. Result? Hatman won. Watch out, John Smit!
The Heart & Sole tour finally rolls into Grahamstown and Jane Roberts has to waste perfectly good spring weater on an overheated Heartman. Eish!
* The Heartman and would also like to thank these people for their phenomenal help: Chris and Sally Purdon of Red Angus Farm and Glenfinlas B&B (between Cathcart and Seymour); Sam and Sandy of the Katberg Hotel at the Katberg Eco Golfing Resort, Brian and Elvira of The Old Gaol B&B in Grahamstown, Cindy and Francesca of Bartholomews B&B, Grahamstown, and the mercurial Martina Gilli of the Live Music Society at Rhodes University who went to great lengths to help raise awareness among her fellow students of the objectives of our Heart and Sole Tour. Further fantasticness from wonderful South Africans!
I have so many stories to tell on this rather neglected Heart and Sole Tour blog that I don’t know where to start.
So I’ll start here. I am staring out of the window of yet another B&B at a beautiful bougainvillea. Its flowers are a rich colour. I don’t know. Purple? Pink? Possibly crimson red? All of those. Magenta. Yes, that’s it. Over and above this abundant diffusion of magenta is the lichen-encrusted slate roof of what I think is St Bartholomew’s church in Grahamstown.
This view is enriching. As it is to be in Grahamstown, which seems terribly civilised after days of hard and sweaty slog on the hills and mountain passes of the road which brought our unicycling madness down from Cathcart in the Eastern Cape.
It has been hard. It has been beautiful. And it has been, yes, enriching. When Geoff “Heartman” Brink and I rolled out of Durban on December 28, we did not dare to dream that this magical mystery tour would bring us so much enrichment. And, thankfully, this has brought me a theme for this post. Children. How much they enrich our lives!
And how they have enriched this Heart and Sole unicycle tour from Durban to Cape Town. Most of us see our first unicycle when the circus comes to town, ridden as it is by a clown called Charlie with a big red nose, pancaked face and blue pantaloons. We appear to have reached places in South Africa where no circus or unicycling Charlie has gone before. For these children, The Heartman’s “bicycle that has lost a wheel” is greeted with disbelief and no little delight.
Allow me to illustrate this for you, may I?
See? The Heartman and his "AmaOneTyre" have this kind of effect on children...
We saw this little school in the middle of a field outside Queenstown and rode down the dirt road leading to it. This is the welcome we received!
These Balmoral schoolgirls, fresh from a swimming gala, were waiting in biting cold at the top of a mountain pass to cheer us on!
The Heartman was asked if he wouldn't mind telling the children of Yellowwoods Primary, near Fort Beaufort, what on earth he was doing riding a unicycle from Durban to Cape Town. He seized the opportunity to tell the kids that, when doing something to tell the world about the horror of landmines, it's worth attempting to achieve what may at first appear impossible!
This little sweetheart seemed entranced by The Heartman's tales of derring-do! Pictures: Hatman
Children. Too much of beautifulness. If this Heart and Sole Tour has inspired just one of these children to begin to grasp that riding a unicycle 1,900km across South Africa (or doing something similarly unconventional) can help a little to improve the world in which they live, then our crazy and wondrous roadtrip will have achieved a lot more than simply alert some people to the devastation that landmines continue to cause.
This, for us, is enrichment on a grand scale.
* Old Heartie and I are about to perform live on behalf of the Rhodes University Live Music Society at an “O Week” event for new enrolments on campus. More on that and how a wonderful couple – Jonathan and Jane Roberts – lifted us up and then carried The Heart & Sole Tour over the notorious Ecco Pass and into Grahamstown later!