I undertook a project to help document Ryan Meiring riding from Cape Town to Johannesburg on a single gear BMX. It was in support of CHOC to help raise awareness and funds to give to CHOC to continue the support that they are able to give to many families.
The project was well planned and executed by Ryan. All I had to do was drive the support van, take pictures along the way and post the pictures to social media sites to gather a following and help raise funds that the social media hype could help create. This was not easy in the middle of the Karoo where we were the only people around for hundreds of kilometres.
And so on monday the 22nd of October we left Johannesburg for the drive to Cape Town, leaving ourselves a few days to prep any final things that needed prepping, although we were pretty much ready to go at any point from that day. The drive was uneventful but long and interesting. Neither of us had driven the N1 for many years and we got re-aquainted with the landscape and looking at what we would be driving/riding through on the way back, even though our route was much further north than the highway we were currently on, the landscape would be somewhat similar.
One of my favourite places in the world is the Karoo, and nowhere makes it more obvious that you have arrived in the Karoo than crossing over the great Orange river from the Free state into the Northern Cape. We stopped at the orange river knowing it would be a great mental barrier to have crossed that on the way back, meaning we would be finished with the Karoo stages of the ride which would probably be the hardest and most mentally challenging place to be. The area around the river and the river itself are beautiful and this takes you back to a time where this land was rough and rugged and not for the faint of heart. It is still like that today, and that is one of the reasons (there are many) I love the Karoo so much, it’s harsh, desolate and untouched by modern man. So with a brief rest and a few pictures taken we got back on our horse (or otherwise known as a VW Caddy) and continued the long drive to Cape Town. We stopped at few times to take pictures along the route and we were just astounded by the beauty that the vastness of the Karoo holds. Most people drive through and just want to get through it and never take in the thoughts of what it is like to live in a place like this and the history and people that make up this huge area. We were also happy that this was not our route back as there were so many trucks on this route. We arrived in Cape Town safely and starting preparing ourselves for what we might encounter along the way, for Ryan it would be punctures, tiredness and getting himself up everyday to do the next 80k’s and for me it would be how to get the best shots from each day and when to post them to social media sites and how to make sure that all my equipment is charged.
To break up the few days we had in Cape Town Ryan had organised a T.V interview with Expresso show, so we went very early in the morning to the studio with Ryan dressed in his cow suit! Got to meet some interesting people and had a lot of fun doing it! Once that was finished we headed on over to Bloubergstrand to get some pictures with Table mountain in the background. I wanted to show where we were, how small the bmx was and the general idea of what everything looked like to our viewers. So we did a small shoot in blouberg and then readied ourselves for leaving on friday.
And so we left on 26th October 2012. Our route, which we didn’t know before we left, is called the forgotten highway, it is one of the routes that the Voortrekkers took into the country. It has so much history along this route, it is unbelievable! We stopped at farms and guesthouses along the way, and people were happy to help us out with accommodation and food. The route was through the desert, with very arid Karoo bush and lots of dust and sand. It’s such an amazing achievement that people prosper in such hostile landscapes. And prosper they do!
Throughout the whole trip there are so many stories and interesting people we met along the way, too many to talk about unfortunately. But I hope the pictures tell you as much as they can, but there are so many words to describe how caring people are, how well we were treated and looked after along the way. It really makes me love this country and the people in it.
When we started this trip I actually had no idea what we would go through, how it would be and how the pictures come out either. I was astounded in every way. There is so much to learn from the land within and all it’s people. Being a guy from Johannesburg, you get caught up in the rat race, forgetting that you have a whole huge country waiting to be discovered, thinking that where you live is what it’s actually like out there. That could not be further from the truth. I don’t mind Johannesburg, and it may be the financial capital of Africa, but it is backed up by the rest of this country with all it’s riches and history and interesting places and people. The only way to really discover what this country is really like, is to get out there, stay in the small towns, visit the small and obscure monument or piece of history, see how it all ties together to make up this country and ultimately you.
You will be amazed at what it has to offer!
I wanted to capture the wide open spaces, the feeling that he was all alone and the vastness of the distance that he had to cover each day.
The cold had set in and it was going to be an uncomfortable day.
The history is everywhere!
Those hills were a killer!
Found some random people just having a braai in the desert.
Had to do one picture for the sponsors.