David Moseley

Keep quiet, silly woman

2012-06-05 11:48

David Moseley

In the Western Cape we’re truly blessed with some spectacular mountain biking routes. Having pedalled across most of them, I was keen to explore a new route that’s just been carved into a few wine farms in the Cape’s Elgin region. Robyn, as ever, was suitably up for the task.

With the bikes primed and eagerness buzzing at the prospect of some thrilling virgin single track we set off from the parking lot. Tell me if this sounds familiar...

“Don’t you want to take a map, they look pretty useful,” noted Robyn. A map? What on earth do we need a map for, how hard can it be to follow some red arrows? “Okay, suit yourself.”

We climbed up through a forest and were rewarded with lush green views of the Elgin Valley and surrounds. The sky was blue, the air was crisp and the mood was enthusiastic. Ah, what’s this... a crossroad? This way, Robyn, I know the route.

“Are you sure, because there’s a sign over here that says we should go straight.” Oh, keep quiet you silly woman, what do you know. This is definitely the path. Look, tyre tracks! “Okay, if you say so.”

Moments later, after hurdling a few suspiciously padlocked gates (“they obviously close the gates on a Sunday, Robyn. Stop panicking”) we were whooping and wheeling down some of the finest single track in the country, dodging cows and crossing slippery wooden bridges. Life couldn’t be better.

“You do realise that we’re not on the farm we should be on, David”. Robyn, what is your problem? Can’t you just enjoy the ride? “I am, but we’re two farms away from where we should be.” Nonsense, woman. Look, a sign. I’m right. Shut it.

“Those signs don’t match the first two that we saw. I think we’re lost. And while we’re at it, have you not noticed that we’ve been cycling downhill for an hour. The map at the start said we should climb for the first 10km.” Rubbish. You obviously had it upside down. Silly engineer.

And so eventually we started to climb. And climb. And climb.

Sjoe, Robs, this route feels a lot longer than the one advertised. And why do you think the last four gates we’ve come to were all locked? Weird hey?

Patience of a saint

Robyn, now worryingly calm, yet somehow managing to enunciate her words expertly through crocodile-strength clenched teeth: “I’m not sure, sweetheart. But perhaps we took a wrong turn somewhere. I know you don’t believe me, but I’m almost certain that the last gate saying ‘do not enter, game reserve’ was not really meant to be circumvented.”

Nonsense, if that was the case why would they have the side entrance next to the electric gate?

Breathing deeply: “That wasn’t a side entrance, dear. It was a barbed-wire fence that you fell over while trying to figure out how to break open the electric gate.”

Ah, but still, it says “permits only” and we have permits.

“Yes, but I’m not sure they cover self-cycle game viewing. And that gemsbok over there is starting to look agitated.”

On we cycled, passing zebra and other large, but thankfully skittish game, down into a by now freezing valley and up another series of hills that took us distressingly further away from our starting point. Water was low, morale had plunged and, typically, we’d been out long enough for cold weather to move in, with neither of us preparing for such a permutation.

Eventually, after coming to a 10-foot high gate and fence that warned “live game, keep out” (and we were stuck on the inside) I had to admit defeat. You know Robs, I think you’re right. We may have taken a wrong turn somewhere...

Seething, perhaps a degree or two below boiling: “yes, David, yes, you are right. We most likely took a wrong turn in the first 10 minutes when I specifically pointed that we should be going straight...”

Oh, okay. I didn’t hear you. Why don’t we go your way now?

Patience eroded. Exasperated: “Go my way now? I’m going to f... bleeeeeeeeeeeeeep...”

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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