Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time to say Goodbye

Snow at Lake Yamdruk, Tibet


A bike tour around Ireland, across Scotland and then on to Holland; a 3-day bike tour through the Baviaanskloof; another 3-day tour from Cape to Agulhas; a ride through the Himalayas from Lhasa to Katmandu. Some spectacular riding in Swaziland after we DNF'd a Swazi Extreme.

Two Sabie Experiences, a Sani2C, a TransBaviaans. Magalies Monster, Sudwala Mankele, a 24 hours at Northern Farms, Lionman, Sabie Classic. Sabie Shenanigans and Midlands Mally. A few proper adventure races, and a lot of sprints.
A wartrail where we had to outcycle a snowstorm up Lundean's nek.


Plenty of Groenkloofs, Spruits, Dark & Dirties and weekends in Waterval Boven.

Even an Argus tour or two.

I was a champion, I DNF'd, I was last, and I finished everywhere in between.

I broke a derrailleur in the Himalayas and on a Magalies Monster; broke the seat post bolt on a Sabie Shenanigans and another one on TransBaviaans a few weeks later. Broke a front derrailleur on Sabie classic mud and fitted the new front derrailleur after the first Sani2C stage, because there was no time to fix it inbetween. Phoned a friend late one Friday evening for instructions on how to make the rigid's 7-speed backwheel work on the Schwinn's 8-speed shifters 'cos the broken spokes would not have lasted for Lionman the next day. I learnt how to fit shifter cables at a very muddy (aren't they always?) Sabie Experience. I experienced the enlightenment of tubeless; the transformation from v-brakes to hydraulic disks; the upgrading to a proper (and working!) front shock.

I got horribly lost in the midlands at night during a Midlands Mally - and during some daylight Rogaines, and on some adventure races. On bunted Mountain bike events too -Wartrail and Induna, among other. I rode much faster than I should have on some downhills on Sani2C and in Sabie. Came off my bike very hard at a D&D ride a week before G4 challenge. And lots of other times, too. Some scars, some blood, lots of fun.

The Schwinn could do it all. Proper singletrack, pannier-touring on backroads, dirtroads and singletrack; locally and abroad; into headwinds, in thunderstorms, and by moonlight; through mud, snow and rivers.

It's time to say Goodbye to the trusted Schwinn - it's in the bike shop to get a new frame.

It had a full life, and will have lots of stories to tell when it get to the place where good bikes go. I hope the XTC would match the Schwinn's undying spirit!

Some of my favourite memories of the Schwinn:

An old castle in Ireland. Heard about it at the youth hostel where i stayed the night before, and spent the whole morning searching for it.


Giant's Causeway, Ireland. There was some very good singletrack against the mountains above the sea after this - one of the prettiest coastlines the Schwinn had the honour to ride.


Some spectacular singletrack on the Great Glen Way in Scotland. Have to go back there one day to go ride in GlenAfric ... without panniers  ...  notice the slick there on the front wheel ... which is what i did the singletrack below with.

More Great Glenn way.

Getting caught in the rain in the spruit ... those white things are not flowers, it's hailstones.

Team Dark&Dirty just before the Transbavians start. In the middle is Hans Wolfaardt (airbus plane crash May 2010)

Baviaanskloof

Just before the pannier-clips broke off in the Baviaanskloof. Nothing cable-tie couldn't fix.

Potala Palace, Lhasa
Some prayer flags at the top of Yulong pass, Tibet


The hardtail at a campsite next to Rongbuk Monastry, a few kays from Base Camp.
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