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  1. This episode of Trail Daze is dedicated to the people of Knysna and surrounding areas, who were affected by the devastating wild fires during June 2017. Our sincere condolences go out to those who lost so much, in particular, the tragedy of losing loved ones. For the making of this episode, we were lucky enough to visit the Garden Route in all its splendour, and I’m glad to be able to showcase that beauty here. Nature always bounces back stronger than before, and we're certain that the people of Knysna will persevere to rebuild and strengthen their towns and community once again. Ewald Sadie Following part 1 of our Fatbike adventure, we leave the quaint seaside town of Sedgefield en route to Buffalo Bay for our second and final overnight spot. More unscathed, pristine coastline, lined with jagged coral formations greeted us as we enjoyed another perfect South African autumn morning. Seemingly endless banks of black mussels lined the shore with luminous green seaweed breaking the different shades of black and grey. On our left, the tall cliffs that have dominated the skyline for most of our trip started to shrink and we stopped off at one of the caves for a mid-ride snack. Approaching the Goukamma river/lagoon mouth, the perfect Autumn temperatures gave way to an angry African sun, and we were forced to take a dip and refresh before doing the final stretch along the tar road to The River Deck. Three options of accommodation are available in Buffalo Bay, two of which requires you to bring your own camping gear, and the other (River Deck) offers a permanent canvas tent setup, good ablution facilities and bedding/towels - perfect for not carrying around too much luggage as in our case. With the sun now on maximum, we pulled into our final destination for the day and proceeded with our lunch-time tradition of ice cold beer and fresh fish & chips. Up again at the crack of dawn, we started prepping for the next leg of our journey which would include some fibreglass and paddles. We weren’t yet 100% sure if this would work but proceeded to dismantle our bikes and loaded all our luggage in our very flexible yet seemingly waterproof kayaks. A few nervous paddle strokes later and we were all set and heading off, snaking along the farmlands en route to the Goukamma mouth where we would abandon our water crafts (to be collected again by the friendly people at The River Deck). Cattle and Egyptian Geese kept a watchful eye over us as the first rays of the day popped over the hills and created some amazing reflections. But even the most amazing natural scenes couldn’t hide the fact that we weren’t ‘paddling-fit’ and we soon started to realise this rowing thing might take longer than anticipated. The banter died down, body language changed as the river bent again in the wrong direction. Arriving at the mouth, we were glad to have done this part of the mission, but also relieved to get back to using leg power to continue the rest of our trip. Day 3 was absolutely epic, it started off with a fully laden dawn kayak up the Goukama river leading to a perfectly smooth cruise past Buffelsbaai. Things got a bit tougher when we climbed out at Brenton-on-Sea and then crossed the boggy marshlands across to the old railway. A scenic ride across the railway bridge lead us into Knysna where we enjoyed some ice cold beer at Mitchell's Brewery. Dayle Holmes The short stint along Buffalo Bay beach towards Brenton-on-Sea flew by and soon we were heading up the tar climb into town. A part of this day that I was not particularly looking forward to as the gradient is not very fat bike-friendly. Let alone loaded up with luggage and under another angry African sun. Rolling over the crest however into Brenton-on-lake, we could see our final destination across the Knysna River lagoon, with only a swamp and a bridge to navigate. We followed the ribbons of ’singletrack’ revealed only during low tide, and made our way along the edge of the lagoon onto and across the decommissioned Knysna Lagoon railway bridge. As we rolled through the harbour and straight into Mitchell’s brewery, our mini fat bike adventure had come to an end and there was only one more thing to do… The timing of day 2 ended up bang on with it hitting low tide for the duration of our ride gracing us with hard untouched sand which we named the "fat bike super highway". Dayle Holmes On our last bit of trekking towards Knysna we had to climb over the neck of Brenton-on-sea. It was tough as hell after 3 days of riding with the sun baking down on us at 35 degrees. Ewald was keeping his watts high, I cursed the heavens as Dayle was flatboxing up the hill training for Sani (not really). All worth it though, when we reached Brenton-on-lake we were treated to some boggy-marsh single track goodness! Danie du Toit This project is made possible by: RiverDeck GPS: 34°02'02.6"S 22°56'22.6"E Riders : Dayle Holmes | Danie du Toit Accommodation: RiverDeck Accommodation Restaurant: RiverDeck Restaurant All images by Ewald Sadie www.esphotography.co.za instagram: @ewaldsadie
  2. Discussing this mission over a few beers - mostly what equipment we didn't have and still need to get - the plan manifested into a three-day ride along arguably some of the most scenic stretches of beach in South Africa. Being novices at this, we decided to keep it simple and ride from Wilderness to Knysna, averaging about 30km a day stopping at backpackers along the way. That may sound like a short daily stint, and it is, but with so many unknowns of fatbikability, heavy luggage and never intending to pedal all day to begin with, we agreed that this would fit in better with our beer drinking schedule. Fatbikability (I’m claiming the term if it hasn’t yet been) is limited among other things, by reef or otherwise long sections of jagged rock that won’t be kind to the very exposed and vulnerable fat tyres. Reaching a section of coastline that is simply impassable, could force us to double back and find a way around - typically along the N2 or a quieter alternative if available. This would make the pedal considerably longer, and needless to say road riding was something we wanted to avoid at all cost. Google Maps gave us the green light in terms of impassable sections, however Murphy has a knack for showing up in situations like these. Opting to stay in backpackers instead of camping, meant we saved a bit on overall weight, however the combined additional weight of racks, panniers and camera/video equipment still affected the average speed as to be expected. Our luggage consisted of fresh clothes for three days, basic toiletries, water/snacks and some plastic, as meals and beers were to be bought in the towns we were staying at. A great way to spend three days. We were blessed with amazing weather and got to see some epic scenery along with lots of childish banter and post ride beer drinking. It was a real eye opener to see how easy it is to trek along our coastline taking only the bare necessities and a bank card. Dayle Holmes Starting our journey in Wilderness immediately had me planning my opening shot of us crossing the Kaaimans River bridge from Victoria Bay’s side, however multiple cautionary tales of muggings and close calls with scum had us deviate from this plan. It’s unfortunate that such beauty has to be tainted by evil, but such is the story of South Africa I guess. Leentjiesklip was to be our new starting point from where we would pedal to Sedgefield, timing our ride with low tide to access the hard sand closer to water. Inevitably, the shape of the coastline forced us up and away from the hard stuff from time to time, meaning energy-sapping, slow progress as the sun baked down from above. Having grown up in the Garden Route region, I thought I knew most of the gems scattered along the coast. I didn't. The fat trek trip allowed us to see the most scenic less-touristy places. The best thing for me about the whole vibe was getting around via no means of combustion. Just three fetties. Danie du Toit Starfish, blobs of jelly, low tide reef formations, colorful coral, lone fishermen, and a cool breeze from the ocean escorted us to our mid ride stop at Gericke’s Point. We passed long stretches of unscathed beach only accessible during low tide, with not a soul in sight. Flocks of Cape cormorant huddled together further ahead or performed low level formation flying millimeters above the water. It really is a very special landscape to be passing through, only leaving temporary tracks to be erased by nature in minutes. Arriving at Sedgefield, we pulled in to Afro Cafe where we would be stationed for the night, and headed straight for the downstairs restaurant, Pili Pili. The next two hours would consist of consuming fresh hake & chips and as many ice cold beers as seemed appropriate. Bikes washed, we lounged about and killed time as the midday sun scorched the earth, before heading downtown to sample the local pub life. It was such a treat having lunch and beers at our first accommodation stop, klapping a hard afternoon nap to then leave the bibs at home and head to town for some golden hour pub hopping. Bliss. Danie du Toit Up at the crack of dawn, we headed downtown once again to stock up on snacks and fresh water for the next leg of our journey, but Murphy had other plans. The freehub body on Dayle’s bike disintegrated and had to be rebuilt roadside, as we were in the wee hours of the morning and the local bike shop not open yet. Luckily, having racked up years of first hand technical experience in the bike industry, Dayle literally MacGyver’d his wheel back to (almost) new by using a bottle cap, leatherman, some dental floss and some patience. The South African coast is scattered with small interesting towns which are often missed when using a car, I can see this being one of many fat trekking trips to come in the future. Dayle Holmes Stay tuned for the next part of this trip as we head out to our next stop, Buffelsbaai... This project is made possible by: Leentjies Klip GPS: 33°59'42.8"S 22°33'55.8"E Riders : Dayle Holmes | Danie du Toit Accommodation: Afrovibe Restaurant: PiliPili All images by Ewald Sadie www.esphotography.co.za instagram: @ewaldsadie
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