There is a new bike rental program being put into action in the city and BEN has donated a group of OV Fiets bicycles to the program. The OV Fiets bicycles were imported from the Netherlands and are single speed commuter style bikes. “Fiets” in Dutch means bicycle. Andrew, myself, and two other interns from the sustainable transportation department volunteered to ride the bicycles to the city center in order to transport them there. On the short trip we encountered a few flats, a broken brake, and a shifty saddle. But all in all, it was a fun ride. Here are some shots of the views along the way:
Saturday morning I woke up early to begin a fulfilling day. I rode my bike to Simon’s Town which is situated along the coast and is famous for the endangered African penguins who make their home there. I am very keen of penguins so getting to see them up close on a beach was pretty cool. My route there was alongside Muizenberg Mountain where I had a view of the marina and the ocean.
On the way there I had to pedal against some powerful coastal headwinds. Luckily I was able to draft off this guy for a bit:
When I arrived in Simon’s Town, I walked down to Boulder’s Beach to check out the penguinas. It was quite funny to see them on the beach, most of them sleeping while standing up. They looked like awkwardly placed statues.
After grabbing a baked mushroom quiche at the local patisserie, I headed over to Muizenberg Beach to meet up with a girl I met from the bike ride into the city. She is a German intern who is working with the urban planning department here. She bought a surfing package and invited me to go surfing with her. So I rented a board and wetsuit for 100 Rand and received a brief demonstration on what to do. Before getting in the water, I checked to see what flag was up to indicate the presence of sharks. It was a black flag with a white shark which means the conditions are not good for visibility. Therefore, shark spotters are unable to tell if sharks are present. How reassuring. I decided to go in anyways. After being in the water for a good two hours I was able to stand up on the board twice! It was the most tiring exercise I had done in a long time and I really felt it the next day. There were no sharks present (that I was aware of) but I did get stung by a blue bell jellyfish…
After giving my body a nice rest Sunday morning, I biked the scenic route into the city to attend the Moonlight Mass Ride which is a Critical Mass ride that takes place on a full moon each month. On my way into the city, I decided to stop and explore the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It’s a stunning garden situated right at the foot of the backside of Table Mountain.
Riding into the city I came up against the strongest wind gust that stopped me in my tracks. I literally could not ride. It seemed like the wind was being channeled between these tall buildings causing it to gain a lot of speed. A tornado of trash circled around me and I felt like I was going to get sucked up in it. So I changed direction and got onto a more protected street. The moonlight mass ride had a HUGE turnout but apparently it was a small group compared to other nights. I’d guess there were well over 1,000 cyclists there. I was impressed and it was the biggest mass ride I have ever taken part in. We completely took over the streets with many people decked out in costumes, lights, and neon gear. Among the bicyclists were skateboarders, electric bikes, and these ridiculous speedy rollerbladers. Everytime we rode past an intersection where there were no buildings to protect us from the wind, you could see all the bicyclists be blown sideways.