On Tuesday 22nd March at 12:00 we were sent on our way from Carel Du Toit school for the hearing impaired after a warm welcome were the children, aged 3-6, sang us a song for good luck and well wishes. We cycled out; little wobbly, as fully loaded bicycles tend to be, with a procession of children.

We had tested out our bicycles before, but not with a full load and the extra 35kg makes cycling very tough. The uphills don't only drain the muscles, but the mind as well. With our increased surface area, any small wind makes a huge difference in the amount of extra energy needed to cycle.

After 57km on our first day we cycled into Drakenstein Veterinary Centre (Between Paarl and Franschoek), to be greeted with a warm welcome by my family, with warm pies and ice cold beverages. Susan, Alex and Pia provided us with a great braai and soft beds after day one.

Day 2 provided us with perfect cycling weather as we headed the Franschoek and then tackled the Franschoek pass. This 660m ascent taxed us (remember we carrying an extra 50km - bicycle + load) but the scenery and the descent more that made up for the initial battle. We made it to Villiersdorp and while buying supplies at the local OK, was approached by a guy called Lee who made a few calls and got us a patch of lawn for the night at his sister’s small holding. After getting a little lost we eventually found Heather and Bruce Barrow who graciously offered us a safe place to sleep. They were already entertaining guests and despite this made us glorious supper and a beautiful breakfast the next day. Heather's parents had also done some bicycle touring and recounted some of their experiences of cycling thought France.

Beating our previous record of 63km on day 2, day 3 saw us doing 69km. This long haul saw us cycling from Villiersdorp to Robertson. For lunch we devoured a tin fish bunny chow (Ria's brilliant impromptu invention of cutting the top half off a load of bread, excavating the centre and filling it with tinned Sardines - pic below). After our feast we decided to have a nap and turned into a small abandoned clearing. Not as abandoned as we thought as we met a German and fellow bicycle tourer who has just been cycling around the Western Cape for the last 5 weeks. With this we headed off to Robertson but the setting sun made getting there in time unlikely. The harsh semi-arid terrain made it impossible to find a suitably sheltered area to camp away for the road side. Luckily we happened to come across some abandoned railway houses (pics below). These uninhabited and run down structures were just what we needed and we bedded down for the night.

We departed early on Friday morning and slowly meandered the 54km through to Montague. This was by far the most enjoyable day yet as we stopped repeatedly, spoke to locals and did some wine tasting along the way. In Montague we stopped at 'De Bos', a quaint little place that offers beds and camping facilities and was recommended by the German tourer. We were not disappointed and have subsequently decided to spend a rest day here.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we will head off to Barrydale and from there Ladysmith, Outshoorn and the George.We'll keep you posted when we get to our next internet port