Friday, July 16, 2010

Please bring back the summer

The last two weeks I have been walking up and down like a bear with a sore tooth. It's the winter. I cannot stand this miserable weather anymore. This morning I realized that if I don't do anything about it, I might just hurt myself with a blunt butter knife. My Facebook comments sounds as if I have lost the only love of my life, I am even sulking because the World Cup is over. I don't even fancy watching football that much, but somehow I miss that too. This winter is pulling me down into a depression and the sooner the sun comes out, the better for myself and the people around me.

So this morning I decided to change my attitude and got dressed for a nice bike ride. When I left the house I could see that the weather was NOT going to contribute to the "nice" in "nice bike ride", but I was not going to let that drive me back to the knife drawer again. I didn't know where I was going, but I wanted to discover at least one road that I have never been on before. From where I live this is rather difficult. When you live with the ocean to the west of you, with nothing but city to the south and the east, then your options are limited to only one direction. So this morning it was to the north again. The temperature on my clock said 8 deg C, but with the wind chill factor it was definitely much colder than that. I stopped at the beach to take a picture just to show what the weather was like. Completely overcast. If this wasn't South Africa I would've expected snow coming from those clouds very soon. Fortunately very little wind and no rain. At least I could see the silver lining in that observation.

I drove towards Melkbosstrand and then onto the N7 towards Malmesbury. I still didn't know where I was going, but I was hoping to find a new road where I could turn off, and this presented itself about 20 kilometers further on. Kalbaskraalpad. I have never been on that road, so without any delay I turned off and headed towards the little village called Kalbaskraal. This was nothing more than an old railway town and before I could stop to take some pictures I was already through the town and out on the other side. I got to a T-junction and decided to go left...further away from Cape Town. This was a narrow tarred road, but has not seen any maintenance since Madiba's release 16 years ago. It was running parallel to the railway line and both were heading towards Malmesbury. I was looking for words to describe the surface of the road, but all I could think of was "hubbly-bubbly" and "humpty-dumpty". Don't ask me why I thought of that, but there was enough bumps and potholes to make it worse than any gravel road I've ever been on. But it was fun. I even stopped at some point to take a picture or two. At this point I realized that my body temperature must've fallen to close to the outside temperature and that I needed a cup of coffee badly.

I wanted to avoid going into Malmesbury so I took another road back towards Durbanville. I was getting really cold now and not even my heated grips could get the blood flow normal again. I was thinking about heated seats and heated jackets but later the thought of a hot cup of coffee became permanently stuck in my head. I knew that the closest town now was Phillidelphia, so I headed straight back there. I stopped to take a picture of Paardeberg and was wondering if there was a road going up there. I will have to check my map because I had no intentions going up there while I was already half-way frozen. And with the mist hanging at the top, I was convinced that there weren't any roads going there today.

At Phillidelphia I stopped at the Pepper Tree Restaurant. The warm reception was just as could be expected from any small town in South Africa. I was handed a cup of coffee before I could even ask and they even brought me a blanket to cover what must've looked like a frozen corpse to them. I took a glimpse in one of the mirrors to see if I really looked that dead, but I soon realized that this is just kind-heartedness of the people living in Phillidelphia and nothing more. I obviously didn't use the blanket, I am a biker for heaven's sake trying to uphold that mean biker image, but I have to admit I did enjoy the cup of coffee. After getting feeling back into my hands, I could finish the rest of my breakfast with a fork and knife. At this point I could say that I was feeling better again. A new road, some time on the bike, and a nice breakfast. The only thing that probably could've lifted my spirit even more was sunshine.

After restoring the blood flow and cleaning my visor, I jumped on the bike again with renewed energy and headed home. I need more of this is my life. I need more summers and less winters. I need to see more places and meet more people. Isn't this one of the reasons we are on this beautiful planet, to live, to discover, to enjoy? It is amazing how much life a bike ride can put back into anyone, despite the low temperature or the lack of a defined destination. At least I know that I am still alive, that I will get the opportunity to do this again, and that summer WILL eventually come back again.

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