Ian Privett of Globalcyclingtours.com and Mark Lawson of CycletheCape.com have joined forces to undertake an unsupported cycle adventure, The Whole Way Round, criss-crossing the Western Cape by bicycle over 30 days to raise much needed funds for Covid19 Relief Programmes provided by the Grootbos Foundation NPO. Covering nearly 6’000km, a distance much further than crossing the continental U.S.A, it will involve more climbing than going up Mount Everest 7 times! THEY NEED YOUR HELP! Ian and Mark request sponsorship to achieve their goal of raising R100’000 for the people of the Overberg, Western Cape who have been devastated by Covid19. Since the start of the Covid19 Pandemic the Grootbos Foundation has provided over 178’000 free daily meals, 11’700 free washable cloth masks, 4,890 free PPE packs for local schools and much more in order to help vulnerable communities rebuild. As little as R5 can provide a meal, PPE, digital access to learning or essential support to micro-entrepreneurs to help families in the Overberg rebuild a more resilient future. R250 feeds a family of four for a week! EVERY Rand counts; EVERY Rand makes a difference. Why not sponsor Ian and Mark for each kilometre of their epic adventure as they ride bikes around the beautiful South African countryside, or sponsor your favourite leg of their journey. Join them, support them, follow them and be a part of their epic adventure as they hit the open road to bring together a love of cycling, South Africa and adventure to do good for the communities served by the Grootbos Foundation.
The initial idea was to circumnavigate South Africa and ride The Whole Way Round. After careful consideration, a decision was made to follow Plan B and follow a route within the Western Cape provincial borders. Although provincial borders have recently been opened for travel in Level 2 of Lockdown, the risk of borders being closed again due to a fluctuating Coronavirus infection rate is great, and the need for Covid Relief is immediate. Ian and Mark felt that their cycle adventure could make a meaningful difference right now and decided against delaying their departure date from 11 September 2020 (moved forward 1 day due to windy weather!). Following Route B enables them to make an immediate impact now while it is most needed by vulnerable communities, while also developing their network of friends, followers and fellow adventurers so that they are ready to take on The (full) Whole Way Round in 2021.
Ian Privett – Pizza and chocolate mousse
The Grootbos Foundation (GF) team wanted to find out a bit more about these intrepid riders and asked a few questions while still in the planning phase:
Ian is a committed sort of guy. If he sets his mind to something, he does his best to accomplish the task at hand. A bit of a dreamer with the drive necessary to turn dreams into reality, Ian is passionate about all things cycling and loves to share his passion with others.
He is the owner of Global Cycling Tours and arranges cycling tours for friends and guests traveling to and from exotic places. He has a positive outlook on life and a desire to enable the upliftment of others.
(GF) What are you most looking forward to on TWWR?
Ian: In a nutshell, I am most looking forward to sharing an incredible adventure with a good friend and doing it for a worthy cause. Be it laughing together or encouraging each other through difficult times along the way, it’s so much easier to achieve goals when you are in it together. Exploring and viewing the different vistas and terrain of our beautiful country at bicycle pace is simply my favourite thing. Little compares to the freedom of riding a bicycle on seemingly endless roads, to faraway destinations. When I finally get there, there is always somewhere else to go.
(GF) What is your favourite on-the-go meal?
Ian: Pizza with everything on it and chocolate mousse. While cycling, I love snack bars and anything with loads of calories.
*GF note: Chocolate mousse on pizza? Is that authentically South African?
(GF) Pros and cons to sleeping under the stars?
Ian: The pros are being out in the countryside far away from the city light pollution, experiencing the beauty of the huge, dark night sky. There is no need to carry a tent; no need to spend time pitching or taking it down. I just find a flat bit of Mother Earth, lie down and rest my weary body. A blow-up mattress and bivi for wet weather provide all the comfort and shelter I need for a good night’s sleep.
The Cons are potential. Most of the country experiences fair weather in September but there is always a risk of heavy rain or cold weather. I will monitor the forecasts closely and adjust the route if necessary while keeping my fingers crossed for a mild Spring.
(GF) What goes into your toiletry bag?
Ian: One of the most important Items is DEODORANT! I also take a small tube of toothpaste, a short-handled toothbrush, liquid soap in small plastic bottle, a compact microfibre towel and wet wipes.
(GF) What goes into your first aid kit?
Ian: A strip of elastoplast and a few bandages, safety pins, Savlon cream, Aspirin/ Panado, and Chamois cream – this does not go in the first aid kit, but is essential for saddle comfort.
(GF) What goes into your bike tool kit?
Ian: A foldable tyre, a multi-tool for bicycles including a chain breaker, chain link x2, at least two tubes and a puncture kit, rear gear cable (can be cut to fit brakes if required), chain lube, bombs with adapter, tyre levers, a hand pump, extra shoe cleats, and duct tape…always duct tape.
(GF) Theme tune to this epic adventure?
Ian: Steven Curtis Chapman , ‘The Great Adventure’
(GF) What do you think of when riding up a long pass?
Ian: I suppose the same question can be asked of a mountaineer and I think the answer is always the same: we think of getting to the top. There is something majestic about reaching the summit, viewing the valleys below and surrounding peaks to still be conquered before it’s time to descend and find the next pass to climb…
(GF) And down the other side?
Ian: I just focus on the road and the bends ahead to ensure the best line around corners. The experience is pure exhilaration and excitement with wind in my hair. This is the satisfying reward after a long climb.
Discovering a market for cycling whilst on honeymoon in 2007, and being a man of action, Mark moved quickly to showcase this incredibly scenic country with its diverse cultures, history and cuisine. With his passion for cycling and history, becoming a guide was a natural progression and CycletheCape.com was founded. Mark has always wanted to help others, and to physically challenge himself for the greater good. Marathons, Extreme Trails and Long Rides are past examples of his formidable drive and perseverance. TWWR will be his most challenging and important ride yet…
(GF) What are you most looking forward to on TWWR?
Mark: To be able to share an incredible adventure with a great friend whilst driving him on, and the knowledge that our efforts will have impact on other lives through fundraising will make it hugely rewarding. Working as one whole team with the support of friends, family and the Grootbos Foundation makes ‘the impossible become the possible’. Exploring South Africa on a bike is amazing and discovering new routes and total freedom is second to none.
(GF) What is your favourite on-the-go meal?
Mark: Anything literally goes! One of the great things about doing an extreme challenge like this is that I am allowed to eat anything I can find. A personal favourite is ham and pineapple pizza, thin crust, with Tiramisu as dessert. In fact, I’ll take tiramisu anytime!
On the bike, I find Jelly Babies work well, They don’t spoil and are easy to chew – reds and blacks are especially sought after! Salted peanuts are always a winner and are the perfect combination of carbs, protein and salt in my pocket.
In my drinking bottles I carry 1 x bottle concentrated energade diluted to taste with magnesium powder to stop cramps, and 1 x plain water.
(GF) What are the pros and cons of sleeping under the stars?
Mark: Pros – The SKY! Away from any light pollution, it is simply amazing to enjoy the Milky Way clearly visible against the black backdrop. Clean fresh air, soothing natural noises of the night and the moon are my favourites. I also love travelling with no tents = no pitching, no hassles. Pitching a tent is the last thing I want after riding 200+km!
Cons – Rain! We will try and avoid precipitation at all costs but sometimes I might just have to suck it up!
(GF) What’s in the toiletry bag?
Mark: Roll-on deodorant – a strong smelling one so that Ian and I remain friends, a small tube of toothpaste and brush, a bar of soap wrapped in microfibre towel, Factor 50 suncream (the spray version for weight saving) and wet wipes.
(GF) What’s in the first aid kit?
Mark: Elastoplast roll with small scissors, a few bandages and safety pins, vaseline and Sudocreme, and Butt cream (that’s the name) to help prevent saddle sores (This is my Number 1 item to pack!)
(GF) What’s in the bike tool kit?
Mark: Exactly like Ian’s (we will share to save weight) with the addition of extra thick tyre levers as they tend to snap, Superglue x 4. And more duct tape.
*GF note: Can you have too much duct tape?
(GF) Theme tune?
Mark: I’m always a sucker for 80s music (my favourite decade) so Starship’s ‘Nothing’s gonna stop us now’ is my theme tune for this epic adventure. It’s very uplifting and cheesy. There is nothing wrong with a bit of cheese!
(GF) What do you think about when riding up a long pass?
Mark: I never look up too far ahead and I always break the uphill into bite size chunks. One corner, then the next and the next. Or I focus on the next few metres, and then repeat until I reach the top. Gearing is essential so finding the correct one and spinning the legs comfortably in my own rhythm works best for me. Sometimes a tune pops into my brain and I sing it all the way up.
(GF) And down again?
Mark: I think of nothing really; I’m much too busy concentrating on finding the best line down to maximise the speed (especially if another hill is up ahead). The downhill is a fantastic reward for all the hard work of getting to the summit.
Confession: I try not to touch my brakes at all on a descent. This is my personal challenge…
Click this link to a live responsive map showing Ian and Marks’ route map
Blog 5: 25 September 2020
Blog 4: 22 September 2020
It’s (still) all about the weight
(to the tune by Meghan Trainor)
Three punctures in our first three days on the road has forced us to take another look at our weight. We have decided to shave off even more and travel with even less gear than we thought possible. The occasional puncture is a laugh but constant consecutive tyre trouble takes time out of the day, leaving us chasing the sun! We are beginning to shed weight from our bodies as expected, and our bicycles seem far happier now that we have reduced our weight, dropping gear where we could, and pumping our tyres as hard as possible.
Lean and mean, fuelled by bananas, energy bars, energy drinks and water, we are ready for Week 2!
Blog 3: 21 September 2020
New friends from Week 1
(to the tune of ‘Shiny, happy people’ by REM)
(Grootbos Foundation, Gansbaai to Clanwilliam with route loops and adventures in Saldanha, Elandsbaai, Graafwater and Velddrif)
Our first week on the road is imprinted in our minds for 3 reasons: the thrill of being able to ride along the open road of this beautiful country again, the impact that Covid 19 and Lockdown has had on this country, and the incredible resilience and creativity of the people. We have met wonderful, local people and swapped stories. Each person we have met has been fascinated by our cycling adventure and hugely supportive of the goal to really make a difference to the vulnerable communities in Gansbaai and surrounds who are struggling to rebuild.
Everyone has been positive and grateful for the numbers of local visitors drawn to the spring wild flower bloom up the West Coast but those in the tourism sector remain uncertain about the future once the flowers have faded. They have lost out on the usual international visitors to the region at this time of year – usually their peak season. Some establishments have managed to generate income through providing accommodation to essential service workers, but others remained closed without any income for five months. The loss of income in the tourism sector means that out of sight, individuals from the workforce are at home having also lost their income. People are getting creative in designing side hustles, remaining fluid and flexible to keep their families fed.
We met a tour guide waitressing in Clanwilliam who is grateful to have work, South Africans exploring their own country instead of booking package holidays to Europe, and essential workers on the ground, bewildered by what to expect in the future, but putting one foot in front of the other nevertheless.
Many shops, retail outlets, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels along the way are still closed despite South Africa having unlocked to Stage 2. Despite this, people’s generosity and kindness has been phenomenal and we have been blown away the by kindness of an offer of a cup of coffee, meal or comfortable bed to help us on our way again. Each of these people have become a part of our adventure The Whole Way Round, and our story has become a part of theirs.
Blog 2: 16 September 2020
(to the tune of ‘Road to Nowhere’ by Talking Heads)
Blog 1: 9 September 2020
It’s all about the weight
(to the tune by Meghan Trainor)
Having committed to this epic challenge, the last few weeks have been spent thinking A LOT about exactly what we need to carry with us when on the open road! With NO SUPPORT VEHICLE it quickly became apparent that carrying a tent simply wasn’t going to be an option for us because it would have been wayyy too heavy for the distances we plan on riding each day.
Enter the BIVVY bag solution! This is basically a big plastic bag made by covering a sleeping bag with a liner or space blanket, placed on top of a blow-up mattress – just like making our own cocoons. This is what we have chosen for sleeping arrangements. All we need is some dry floor space (some sort of roof over our heads would be considered added luxury) and we’re good to go! A garage, laundry, maintenance room, or workshop will make for practical accommodation. Our incredible partners have offered us far more than this but we are fully prepared with our Bivvy bags in case we need/ choose to sleep under the open African skies.
Our other major thoughts revolve around what type, and quantity, of food to take with us. We currently both weigh a bit more than what we originally planned (see picture above!) but this is not a bad position to be in. This added layer can help to fuel us steadily, especially in remote places where we won’t be able to buy a quick chocolate from a General Dealer, and where we will have to cook our own food. We are seeking a fine balance between carrying enough food to replenish energy, but not carrying too much weight. We expect our body weight to drop considerably from daily long-distance riding and we know we will not physically be able to replace the number of calories burnt by eating, no matter what we eat! So we have begun to build up body reserves ahead of Go-Time. And we are packing high energy snacks!
Finally, we have given some thought to how to best pack our bikes. We have decided on packing a rear bag each and tying our sleeping bags to the front of our bikes. This will be far more streamlined than riding with side panniers, and far safer for road-riding rather than risk being too wide on the open road.
Our goal is to complete this most epic ride SAFELY and to raise much-needed funds for Grootbos Foundation’s Covid Relief programmes.
We can’t wait to set off on 11 September! Follow us and share our adventure online; and if you see us on the road, please give us a real-life shout out or a hoot!
Mark and Ian