Bike to moon

2015-05-05 06:00
Cyclist Andrew Wheeldon has cycled the distance between Earth and the moon.


Cyclist Andrew Wheeldon has cycled the distance between Earth and the moon. PHOTO: supplied

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A Capetonian has “travelled to the moon”.

Cycle activist Andrew Wheeldon has travelled 384 400km, the distance between our planet and the moon, on his bicycle – a feat he has been working on for over three decades.

“When I am cycling, I have never felt more alive. This is the crux of why I keep cycling mile after mile, year after year,” he says.

Since 1 January 1984 Wheeldon has recorded his cycling adventures, including many ultra-distance cycling events.

“The moon (as a concept) arose about six months ago when a friend, on hearing of my total distance to date, mentioned that it sounded like it was close to the Earth-to-moon distance. So I looked it up, and it was close.

“From that point on, the moon mission became a central goal,” he explains.

Wheeldon completed the journey with a trip up Chapman’s Peak on Saturday.

“Chapman’s is perhaps the most iconic climb in Cape Town, if not the most severe – but certainly one of the most beautiful,” he says.

“It has a special presence and is a significant part of the Cape Town Cycle Tour. The recent fires which brought about a deeply burnt face now somewhat resembles a lunar landscape.”

The proximity to many of the areas in which local cyclists live makes the route an ideal venue for the “moon landing”, Wheeldon says.

“As it will also be full moon on the day that I reach the moon distance, it will be perfect for early evening sightings,” he says.

As a driving force in lobbying for cycle lanes across the city, Wheeldon hopes his achievement will have a deeper impact on many cyclists.

“My hope is that in some small way this will show other cyclists what indeed is possible by bike – even if it takes 31 years, three months and four days to achieve!” he says.

“The places you really can get to, the sights you can see, the experiences you can have – all is possible.”

Wheeldon also hopes to encourage more Capetonians to take to the streets – on bikes, of course.

“If Cape Town, and SA for that matter, experiences an increase in the levels of cycling, we will witness greater health of our people, less congestion on our roads, reduced pollution levels, and greater understanding,” he believes.

Cycling bridges all divides, Wheeldon maintains.

“If we ride together to our places of interest, we meet and share stories as one. We are in close contact and are able to talk and help one another – be it up hills or over obstacles. The bicycle journey connects us all, like no other journey can. It is for this reason that I continue to ride, and encourage everyone else to join me,” he says

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