Two South African-based Zimbabwean cyclists have become the latest to complete the arduous Johannesburg-Bulawayo journey.
Mbonisi Moyo and his friend John Mawethu Mbona embarked on the journey on July 1 at 02:30 am and arrived in Bulawayo on July 4 at 12:15 pm.
The duo said they enjoy cycling and by embarking on this journey they are trying to motivate more people to take up cycling.
Moyo, who cycled the same journey in 2021, said he took lessons learnt in his initial trip to improve on this one.
“From the previous trip, I noted a few things that we needed to improve on and we implemented them on this journey. On the previous trip, we did not give ourselves enough rest and that affected us. This time around we were getting enough rest hence we managed to finish the journey at least about 10 hours earlier,” he said.
“We started on Saturday around 2:30 am and it was the three of us. Along the way, after covering about 200km, he said he was not feeling too well, so he went back home. We then continued just the two of us. On the first day, we cycled a total of 381km then we put up about 50km before Louis Richards and freshened up. We rested for about four hours.
“We left there around 7 am and cycled all the way to Musina, where we rested a bit and had some food. We were there for an hour tops. We then crossed the border and had a few stops in Beitbridge where we bought sim cards to connect to the GPS because the ones that we had from the South African side were no longer working this side.”
Moyo said they faced a number of challenges on their journey ranging from poor roads to limited resources.
“There are also accommodation costs that we need to factor in, food costs and data to connect to the GPS. If we could have more clubs, then we can have more people investing in sports and it would be more cost-effective to do long-distance cycling. The other challenge that we faced was the road surfaces. The roads are very bad, especially just after Makado, we were really slowed down. Our average speed drastically dropped but we had to soldier on,” he said.
“This sport is quite fun, but it is very capital intensive. The resources that are needed are very expensive, from the bicycles that we use to the accessories. The tyres and tubes are quite pricey. All things being equal we would need a car that would escort us, carrying some of our equipment, first aid kits and spares for the bicycles. But because we do not have such, we carry all the necessities on our own.”
Mbona said the journey was marvellous and for someone who was cycling such a long distance for the first time it was quite bearable.
“I was joining my friend for the first time. He did this trip two years back and I’m really glad that this time around I got to join him. From Beitbridge, we stopped in Gwanda where we had a lengthy rest. We arrived there yesterday but we only left this morning around 6 am. From Gwanda, our next stop was Mbalabala where we got a few fruits before continuing all the way to Esigodini. From Esigodini, we stopped at some shops along the way where we got more water and proceeded straight to Bulawayo,” he said.
“Cycling is something that we love doing and we have been doing it since we were young. We really do wish there were more people who would take up this activity so that we can have more of these long-distance cycling events. We really wish to be in touch with cycling clubs from here at home, it would be more fun if we could do it with more people. If we had access to local cyclists, they would have met us half way, making the journey more bearable. There is also safety in numbers, we cycle for days, and sometimes to beat the record we even cycle at night, so moving in groups would be safe.”