I’ve been sitting here for the last 4 years reading the blog of Eric ‘Chicken legs’ De Jong and thinking “Is this the guy who was my best man at my wedding in 1982?”
I mean, he was crazy then but this – riding to Cape Town from Harare?! He was not a cyclist! I was a cyclist in my distant past and knew, or thought I did, what it would take to do that. He did it! Whaaat!!
And seemed to have fun and raise money for Pensioners in Zimbabwe. This is my friend who had managed to shoot himself in the foot for real!!! The next year they rode from Kilimanjaro in Tanzania whaaat!!!
And he managed to talk more people into this?? The money raised was extraordinary and then the Lock Down Tour.
Riding the borders of Zimbabwe with buffalo, lion and Pearls fishing owls. I started to realise that all my cynicism was actually me avoiding confronting that I had not stepped out of my comfort zone for years and had been content with being safe and watching life from a distance.
I noticed that I did not actually READ what the pensioners were dealing with. I did not want to know. I had to confront why, and what was there for me was I felt guilty that I had a great life and thinking there was nothing I could do.
I was scared that I was too old. I wasn’t good at the detail in organising any thing. What if I failed? I’m 62 years old I haven’t ridden more than 40km in a week for at least 18 years, blah blah blah!!
I finally decided, having just retired from my business, it was time to create something to challenge me.
During the Covid lockdown South Africa, another bunch of intrepid adventurers staged an Old Legs Tour, for the same cause, so why shouldn’t Perth?
I called Eric and declared that I would take it on and Old Legs Australia was started. This Epic ride will be the 5th edition, following Cape Town Kilimanjaro, Lockdown Zim and Lockdown SA.
What I noticed straight away was the lethargy that had preceded my 8km circuit round my house disappeared and over the last 6 weeks have increased my riding to 240km per week.
I traded the lethargy of being unfit for the lethargy of muscles being tested for the first time in years! My quads feeling like I’ve squated 300kg!
This is now my reality and I’m wondering how am I going to be able to get to 400km a week and I’m training on tar, not on a mountain bike track where the average speed is about two thirds of that on tar.
I can see the only thing that may make the difference is, staying connected to, this is EPIC and we will do GOOD and I have some great people joining me on the ride.
I hope they are FUN – to balance me out as I tend to be grumpy and bad tempered when tired and hungry!!!
We will ride from Perth, Western Australia, along the Munda Biddi trail, to Albany, 1050km and follow the coast back to Perth, taking in additional mountain bike tracks.
The total distance we will ride is 2,000km, riding for 26 days with 4 rest days averaging 77km a day with roughly 5 hours, in the saddle per day.
We are riding to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s Pensioners. The mantras are to have Fun, do Good and do Epic whilst riding along roads less travelled.
If you think that you’d like to join us for an Epic adventure, have fun and do good, for part of or the whole ride, please message me, we’d love to have you.
The team, so far consists of Charlie Lenegan, Vic Authers, Paul Cutler, Garth Steinbach, all ex Bulawayo. Gordon Kent, Roger Green and Ross Old ex Harare.
A great way to contribute is to share this post to create awareness.
Like us on Facebook under Old Legs Australia, or our Website.
* Names and images may have been changed for privacy reasons
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Thank you – Nicky Passaportis ZANE Australia
Please donate to support pensioners struggling to survive in Zimbabwe
Any assistance is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to giving our pensioners a better quality of life and lift the pressure of money worries which is very debilitating emotionally.
(Donations made to ZANE in Australia, are tax-deductible)