The Old Legs Tour – pedalling from Harare to Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners.
To prepare for the ride to Mt Kilimanjaro, now just 3 months away, Adam spends time on dodgy internet sites like www saddle sore bottom dot com and www pain wears black Lycra dot com. He came away from one of them last week with a personal fitness coach called Rob Lee. Rob, a former Endurance World Champion, has started Adam off on a program in which Adam has to monitor his heart rate and bounce it up and down. Adam’s program sure does make for disjointed group rides. Dave and I are good with Adam warming up at 90 to 110 beats a minute. Then Rob tells Adam, I think they communicate through one of those NCIS earwig things, to take it up to 125 beats and hold it steady. Which is also fine, sort of. Then Rob tells Adam to sprint to get his heart rate up over 150, which is a snag because Dave and I have been sprinting since the warm up.
Because of Rob, it took Adam 53 kilometres to tell me a riveting story about a crop of snow peas he once grew. And even then I missed the punch line because it came during a sprint session. I think in the end someone ate them.
I was going to replicate Adam’s heart rate training program on my Root Canal stationary bike but my heart rate jumps to 160 plus before I even get on the bloody thing.
Yesterday’s 110 km ride took us out past Blackfordby and down into the Mazoe Valley and out. The heavily corrugated road took its toll. Adam nearly crashed when he suffered a major back wheel wobble at speed. Because I went to Allan Wilson, I was able to quickly asses the damage as being terminal. I told him bummer dude, you’re going to have to walk home. Because Dave is a doubting Thomas when it comes to my technical expertise, he took a closer look and said all Adam’s spokes had shaken loose on the corrugations. We needed a spoke spanner. I told Adam bummer dude, where are we going to find one of them in the bush? Like I said, better you start walking. And then Dave said I had a spoke spanner on my bike tool in my saddle bag. And lo and behold, I did. I’ve spent the last year riding around thinking it was a tool to take stones out of horses’ hooves. Now I can’t wait for my spokes to go all loose so I can fix them.
Dave’s one big toe went all black from the pounding from the corrugations. Adam offered to sew a button on it but Dave said he’d rather whine and bleat. I told him to go to www I rode the Tour with 2 broken pelvises and a fractured spleen dot com and toughen up.
While we were suffering on the road to Blackfordby and beyond, Al and Patch and Mitch Whaley were powering up the Sani Pass on their way to Cape Town to partake in the Argus. And in Holland, Jaap has invested in a new sleek and shiny bike for the Mt Kilimanjaro Tour. It’s all coming together out there.
The way forward in Zimbabwe looks like it will be even bumpier than the Nyabira road. The thief in charge at the Reserve Bank unveiled our new Monetary Policy statement on Wednesday. If I asked my 5-year-old granddaughter to do a wax crayon drawing of her mother chasing guinea pigs in the garden, it would have more clarity. What a joke.
Central to the new Monetary Policy is our new brand new electronic official currency which they’ve called the RTGS. Strewth. They could’ve at least stuck a vowel in there somewhere. And what the hell is the plural of an RTGS? An RTGS? And what about the diminutive? If it’s another acronym, how about SNAFU? Or maybe there won’t be a diminutive because worthless doesn’t divide into anything smaller. Because the RTGS is going to be a floating currency, the biggest question is what’s it going to be worth? The Reserve Bank brow beat the banks to open trading on Friday at a rate of 2.5 RTGS to the US. On the same day tickets to a Reserve Bank hosted breakfast to explain the Policy were advertised at a cost of either 20 US or 100 RTGS. With that sort of incompetence at play, I’m betting the rate will run fast like a piccanin who just stole a banana in Mbare Musika.
There are mixed opinions on the RTGS. Eddie Cross described it as a massive step in the right direction, mostly because our Minister of Finance was forcing the government to live within its means. Pity the Veep didn’t get that memo. His Generalness chartered a private jet hospital last week complete with an onboard ICU with surgeons and medical experts to fly him to India to have his minor ailment treated. Which apparently is turning out to be a major ailment. Bummer dude. Renowned global economist Steve Hanke differed slightly. He said the Reserve Bank should be prosecuted for theft for renaming the US dollars in our bank account as RTGS and then devaluing them by a factor of 4 or 5 and counting. I’m going to go with Steve on this one.
South African Airways celebrated the arrival of the RTGS by announcing that for now, they’ll no longer be accepting local payment. For months SAA has been the only airline in town where you can pay using a local card. Small wonder they’re 21 billion Rand in debt.
The pensioners will feel the effects of the RTGS the hardest. Next week Dave and I are going on a tour of old age homes, to meet some of the people that we’re riding to Mt Kilimanjaro to help. It will be nice to be able to put faces to the cause. But I’m also dreading it. It will be a bit like walking into an SPCA kennel and having a million puppies tug at your heartstrings with their Bambi eyes. You want to help them all but you can’t. Unless others help us to help them.
Help us support our pensioners if you can.
Please donate and make a difference!
In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149.
And there are other ways you can help that don’t cost. Nicky and Jean who run a school in Harare called Open Minds have come up with a very cool idea. My granddaughter Jos goes to Open Minds. Jos and her friends have all adopted an old age pensioner as a pen pal and write to them weekly. I’m guessing the old folk are just loving those letters. And that’s the only way we’re going to get through all this crap they keep throwing at us is by sharing the love. So if you’re feeling down, adopt a granny or a grandpa.
In closing this week’s Swahili 101-
Kuacha Mwizi !! Wewe hawezi kula ndizi yangu na wantataraija kwa kulipa na RTGS – Stop Thief. You can’t eat my banana and expect to pay with RTGS.
Until next week, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can. Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.