Travelling from Jozi in your luxurious family car to spend the festive season in Cape Town is old news for Pretoria engineer Sven Kleine.
The 48-year-old father of three girls took up the challenge of cycling from Pretoria to Sedgefield last year, not for a cause, but the experience.
Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, Kleine said he has cycled all his life, dating back to his days at school. He still rides to work.
He said toward the end of 2019 he took about two months off work and decided to ride to the Western Cape.
“I’ve been doing long hours over the last few years and the company actually forced me to take some leave. My wife said she can’t come with me because the kids were still in school. I said I would ride my bicycle on my own and my wife should try to meet me somewhere along the road,” he said.
Kleine said he departed from his home in Irene on Saturday November, 23 and rode via the back routes through small towns until he arrived in Sedgefield in the Southern Cape the next Friday.
He said he felt sick and needed water. So he stopped at a petrol station and bought snacks and water.
However, he couldn’t eat as he was severely dehydrated and stumbling.
He said petrol attendants were alarmed at his condition, and a group of people who had been filling up at the filling station approached him asking if he was okay.
“I said I’m not 100%, but I’ll probably be okay, and he asked where I was from. When I said I come from Pretoria, he shook his head and said I must be confused,” he said.
Kleine said the group eventually helped him and he later felt better after drinking water. He then proceeded to Bothaville, where he slept at a bed and breakfast.
His wife had made reservations for him at various bed and breakfast establishments along his route where he could sleep overnight and then continue his journey in the early hours of the morning.
Some of the routes took the engineer from Bothaville on farm roads to another Free State town called Boshof and later from Vanderkloof in the Northern Cape to Britstown.
Eventually, he reached his destination. Kleine said most of the routes were off-road tracks.
His luggage was light and included spare clothes, tools in case the bike broke along the way, first-aid supplies and a torch.
While cycling to Britstown in the Northern Cape, he met up with his wife and kids who left home a couple of days after he departed.
Because his wife could not drive through the back routes, she met up with him at various destinations until they arrived at their final destination.
“By the time it was December, I was already in the Garden Route. There was no real cause. I didn’t do it for charity or anything. I just did it because I like cycling and enjoy the country and wanted to see the country and go on different roads.
“I have driven to the coast many times, and all you ever see is Bloemfontein, Colesberg, Graaff-Reinet…” he said.
Kleine said he did not experience any issues during his journey because he tried to avoid busy roads and left the towns where he slept over as early as 03:30.
Instead, many people he met along the away were kind to him and were interested in his bike journey.
He added that there were no threats, he never felt in danger, even when he rode past informal settlements.
“It’s not complete madness. I have ridden my bike my whole life, and I commute to work and back every day. “