Get on your bike and be amazed

For all those folk grumbling and mumbling about the “millions, mess and mayhem” resulting from the roadworks to create the cycle paths around here, there is one easy solution to your pain: become a cyclist yourself.

There has never been a better time – in modern Cape Town at any rate – to get on a bike. It’s true that motorists still reign supreme on our freeways, but an unbelievable amount of money, labour, effort and thought is going into making it possible for Capetonians of all ages and levels of fitness to ride a bike for pleasure, or to get to work.

On morning runs with my mates, we’ve sometimes been forced to walk around, over and even into the long deep trenches excavated on Spaanschemacht River Road for the foundations of the cycle paths. Most of what is dug out goes back in again and is compressed before the layers of tar complete this labour-intensive procedure.

Cyclists don’t have to wait till those irritating Stop and Go signs go.

They can start planning their future bike trips with help from the City’s free, fold-up Cycle Map which was available last week in the re-opened Tokai library.

It’s packed with useful information about Cape Town’s 400kilometreskm of cycle ways, plus everything you need to know about the rules of the road, choosing the correct and safest routes and how much puff you will need tackling any of the various journeys.

They are described under the headings Commuter, Recreational and Off-road. A new biker would be unwise to tackle the mountain trails winding up the side of the Constantiaberg as they are graded “moderate to extreme”, whereas the flat, four kilometre 4km gravel path around Lower Tokai Park is deemed “perfect for families with kids”.

There are some wonderful rides in the Durbanville Hills, up the West Coast and on wine farms such as Hillcrest, Meerendal and Boschendal. On the Paul Cluver estate in Elgin-Grabouw, the trail starts in the amphitheatre and treats the rider to Raka, a bridge built on a massive tree trunk and a suspension bridge called The Swing. For an additional thrill there is the Mamba – a roller coaster experience through a river valley with six bridges.

Road encroachment

A good friend has the distinction of being the only person we know bitten by a cockroach.

We were dining at her Bergvliet home the other night when we heard how she and her husband had been battling with cockroaches.

Over a two-month period, they’d had about 20 big ones in their house, and when the husband set about discovering how they go

t in, he discovered a gap between the dishwasher pipe and the drainpipe.

Blocking that hole stopped the invaders but not the couple’s curiosity about where the roaches were breeding.

When her husband lifted the cover over the manhole – where all their drains meet – the exposed cockroaches scurried for hiding places, some flying out and landing at the couple’s feet.

It was then my friend “felt something like a wasp” biting her lower leg.

According to Google, cockroaches are omnivores and eat plants and meat and have been recorded known to eat human flesh but only of the living in “extreme infestations and limited food”.

The most serious bites have been on ships where they have gnawed the skin and nails of the sailors, who resorted to wearing gloves so the serrated jaws of the cockroaches were unable to bite their fingers.
The bites may cause irritation, lesions, swelling and minor wound infections. My friend got away with suffering from shock!

Touching tale

On the strength of FMR’s review of the movie Beyond the River we went to see it at the Blue Route and loved it.

The plot was inspired by the heart-warming true story of how Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini, two men from vastly backgrounds, were brought together by their determination to win gold in the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon, one of the toughest river races in the world.

Screen legend Grant Swan played the role of Steve (Cruickshanks), a man hiding grief and guilt over a personal loss by being so obnoxious he alienates his wife and friends.

Newcomer Lemogang Tsipa made his debut as Duma (Ntondini), a young, unemployed Zulu man from a shack in a poor KwaZulu-Natal village who gets drawn into cable theft by a reckless friend desperate for drug money.

The cherry on the top was the movie’s postscript showing the faces of the real men and revealing that in 2017 Ntondini was in his second year studying law instead of dodging it.

What brought about this change in his lifestyle would make another film.
Obviously it had to do with winning gold in the Dusi race but the process had the potential to be a cracking good story.

‘Bee’ careful

It was news to me that Meadowridge Primary School has for years been running a large recycling depot which people, who previously frequented Bergvliet High School’s venture, are pleased to use.

A large number of bees are being attracted to the tins, probably because they have been brought in unwashed and with traces of the sticky or sweet ingredients.

A bee sting is not as horrible as the thought of a cockroach bite but some people are dangerously allergic to them.

No IT or TV

Before the days of the internet, what did bored old people do? I asked my 10 brothers and sisters and they hadn’t a clue either.

fionachisholm@iafrica.com

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