This year we have quite a motley crue of riders participating in the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour 2014. I thought it might be interesting to read the personal account’s of these riders, a little bit of insight, you know a POV from the saddle.
Before you get cosy with your snacks and tea! I am going to remind you that 4 of these riders (possibly 5) are riding for a cause, hence the cycle uniform. The cause is WWF. They have set up a Give n’ Gain donation page so that they can collect some hard earned moola for their cause. They’ve called the project 1 Wheel 1 Planet.
You like? Yes? Follow the link to donate to the cause - http://www.givengain.com/activist/72030/projects/7253/
Or read on and feel inspired to donate to the cause while you learn more about long distance unicycling and the initiative that WWF are trying to create awareness for by having a cycling peleton of 350 riders strong in the Tour.
Photo above from left to right: 1 Wheel 1 Planet Team – Rob Bulloch, Dylan Eave, Donna Kisogloo, David Eave, Christopher Human
Photo below: Wayne Lotter – Momentum 94.7 2013
Let’s start with the fastest rider to complete the Cycle Tour – Dr Dylan Eave. Yip, Dylan set the record on 13 March 2011 at 5hrs 15min… and yet to be broken.
Of much greater significance for unicyclists in Cape Town than the 1st of January and indeed birthdays is the epic, annual, Cape Argus Cycle Tour! We train around this event, we adjust our work schedules and nutrition around it, and our anxiety builds up to it… Finishing safely along with family and fellow unicyclists makes for a good start to my personal calendar.
This year has been no different. My father and I started training in November, largely using the Argus route itself with it’s excellent quality hills as training ground; my wheel, with the help of OddWheel Unicycles, has been optimised for this ride specifically with crank length, wheel size and tyre pressures all tested for best performance – a unicycle traditionally has no gears and thus must be configured in such a way that it allows it’s rider the best gear ratio for their level or fitness on race day (most specifically it must allow them to climb Suikerbossie with near depleted legs!)
Race day, with crowds cheering, pressure to beat your personal best time and good competition with other unicyclists is what makes for record setting times… as long as the Cape doctor plays along! Race day, I have found, inspires speed and endurance that is simply not there on regular training days.
I am confident our New Year will start well this Sunday thanks to solid training, a solid wheel and the magic atmosphere that surrounds this special race!
Dylan’s Unicycle Setup: KH36, KH Moment 125/150mm Cranks, Magura HS-33 Brake, KH T-Bar with Spooner, KH Fusion Slim Saddle, Nimbus Nightrider 36 x 2.25 Tyre.
Next up is a piece written by David Eave – a veteran and the only individual in South Africa to have gone to Unicon.
One is meant to learn from your mistakes. I have been quoted as having said after the 2012 Argus tour that riding the Argus on a unicycle is not like childbirth. Although I have no experience of childbirth I have observed that the obviously painful experience is quickly forgotten and mom’s do it again and some again and again.
In 2012 I said never again, this is a pain I cannot forget and why? There I was again in 2013, same challenge, same mistakes, lessons never learnt. I said to Dylan recently, the Argus is like an exam, but easier, we know what the question is so what is the problem?
The mental pain of unicycling over Boyes Drive, up and down Black Hill or my “Hohenhort Circuit” all alone makes me question why I do it. There are not many of us, so the chance of a meeting another unicyclist is slim. We are social people and the hours alone training is a mountain too high – sometimes.
There I was unicycle alone powering my way up Chapman’s Peak on Saturday last in the heat when I passed my 1st cyclist who commented “You are incredible, that is fantastic – well done, respect” and the 2nd cyclist “Amazing, I don’t know how you do it!” and more comments as I passed fellow bicycle Argus devotees. These comments boosted my spirits, however, sparked some inner reflection. Why do I ride a unicycle? Am I an exhibitionist out to seek attention, do I lack recognition in my personal life or have I accepted a challenge to be different. I am not even a good unicyclist. I get on the wheel (often after more than one attempt) and manage to go in one direction for a long time. My skill set is limited.
Mistakes. This year the plan was to harness company, Dylan was the plan for company training. Plans are not always easy to execute. Problems with breaking spokes forced me onto my mountain bike. No wow comments I can assure you as my Cadex is dated and has both a front and rear wheel. Riding my Cadex to work and regular Table Mountain routes with Dylan provided a good foundation for unicycle strength. Add to this several albeit alone long unicycle rides hopefully I will be able to answer on 9 March.
On 9 March I will do it again, I may not give birth, but I hope to deliver (another performance to thousands of cyclist and spectators and hopefully touch some lives by making them smile).
David’s Unicycle Setup: KH36, KH Moment 125/150mm Cranks, Magura HS-33 Brake, KH T-Bar with Spooner, KH Fusion Slim Saddle, QU-AX TA 36 x 2.25 Tyre, Sigma DTS1616 cycle computer.
From Christoper Human – who is officially the slowest unicyclist (no offence Chris) to complete the Tour… and the catalyst to our sponsorship with WWF this year.
Ok, back to the mystical “mental” training I mentioned. The first part is hitting that proverbial “wall”. I’m sure many cyclists hit it when riding the Argus, most unicyclists however hit it numerous times, head first and without wearing a helmet. And while we keep banging said wall, there are about 4 people behind us shouting “Hey! Where is your other wheel?!”. My fellow unicyclists will understand this, but what they don’t understand is you will get asked this probably close to 50 times while riding the Argus (not much of an exaggeration). The first few times its alright, but after a while you just wish that someone would actually shout something original at you. “Where’s your tandem partner?” is an old one that I still enjoy. It’s also a process of learning where your final “breaking point” is, and being able to overcome it and tell it to bugger off further down the race track and past the finish line where you’ll greet it with a medal around your neck.
You might be asking, “Why do it again?”? The answer to that is I wanted to support my friends who are attempting it for the first time this year. But one great result of joining the unicyclists this year is we are riding on behalf of the WWF and their Ride for Nature initiative. Being a fan of fish I fully support the SASSI drive they are pushing (and raising funds for this year). I hope they raise a grand total of funds as a result of all our poor nether-regions which will take a pounding on the day.
To my fellow unicyclists, good luck and may the wind blow behind you! To all my fellow 2 wheelers: Where is your engine?!
Christopher’s Unicycle Setup: QX-Series 36 Disc (Standard), KH T-Bar, KH Fusion Slim Saddle.
A little something from the only person with no balls to do the Argus – Donna Kisogloo
I don’t have a passion for riding on the road, especially after my near death experience 3 weeks ago with an Masipheleme taxi which was driven by a negligent driver. I LOVE the mountain and after this Argus am going to stay there. Training for the event is also something most of us unicyclists don’t enjoy but we do it so that we can achieve the goal – ‘To finish the Argus before the cut off time’. Oh and to add another notch to the belt of unicycling achievements.
Admittedly, my lady bits really do suffer the ridiculous time in the saddle! But what sucks even more is that there are no woman to compare notes with locally. Ladies this is your que to hop online and find yourself a unicycle, a 20″ is good to start learning on.
The sole reason I am doing the Argus this year is because Andrew Baxter of WWF asked if 5 unicyclists would ride on their behalf. Besides having the utmost respect for Andrew I am also driven by creating unicycling awareness in South Africa and to make it more accessible and achievable for ‘Jo Public’. With the help of a generous friend, I am able to participate again on a geared KH29. Me likes my ride!!! And me likes my friend even more for gearing my ride!!!
I’m looking forward to my cyclists coffee (Americano, coconut oil, honey, 2 cacao beans) at the Hout Bay Coffee Roastery before I hit Suikerbossie. A wee bit of help before the last push to the finish line. Ooohhh… and the coconut waters, hmmm….
Donna’s Unicycle Setup: KH29, KH/Schlumphf geared hub, KH Moment 125/150mm Cranks, Magura HS-33 brake with KH Starfighter, KH T-Bar, KH Fusion Slim Saddle, Kenda Small Block 8 Tyre, Odyssey Celenski Trailmix Pedals, Cateye Velo 8 cycle computer.
Not all the Argus unicyclists reside in Cape Town. Wayne Lotter has flown down from Pretoria, Gauteng and will be riding on behalf of Safmarine.
My reason for doing the Argus on one wheel is to be different as I suppose all of us one wheelers are. My Argus race actually started the first alcohol free weekend of January. Putting aside Sundays as the day of holy pedalling. Then religiously going out every Sunday to slave over the cranks.
The fun thing for me and what makes race day so much fun is the ‘Where’s your other wheel?’, ‘Buddy, your bike broke in half!’, ‘Crazy circus freak’ and ‘You’ve got handle bars, you’re cheating!’. Not only the chirps but also the support from the fellow cyclists. The commaradery! The disbelief when people think it’s tough on a bike and then you come past on one wheel.
The aim for me is just to go the distance, no time frame. If I can do it, then anybody can! It’s not a talent, it’s a skill. A skill that just needs some time and commitment in order to develop.
Wayne’s Unicycle Setup: QX-Series 36 Disc (Standard) with a modification: sawing 1″ off the frame neck, KH Moment 125/150mm Cranks, KH T-Bar, KH Fusion Slim Saddle.
Now from a virgin Argus Tour rider – Rob Bulloch
Every year around March we find our roads locked down, as thousands of cyclists go whizzing and sometimes walking by. Until 2 years ago I wouldn’t have even considered taking part, it held no fascination or challenge for me. So why now? Why a unicycle? Why not! How many of your friends have done it on one wheel? Yes, you love the shocked looks on the cyclists and spectators faces, we all do, its part of why we love our wheel so dearly. It has the capacity to induce sheer disbelief and fits of giggling as it goes past.
I really wish I’d done more training going in, but who doesn’t feel that way especially on their first time? It really is a dream come true to join all the one wheelers I’ve watched from the pavement in awe! It’s probably gonna be unbelievably tough, and unbelievably fun!! I’m looking forward to the hills, its the only time we are on an equal footing with the cyclists!
And yes we are missing a wheel but we make up for it with huge determination!!
Good luck to all!
Rob’s Unicycle Setup: QX-Series 36 Disc (Standard), KH Fusion Slim Saddle, KH Adjustable Seatpost, Odyssey Celenski Trailmix Pedals.
Your community wishes you all the best for Sunday!!!
Remember to breathe deep when someone says, “Where’s your other wheel?”… as if we didn’t notice, tut tut.