Bicycle riding in South Africa (1886)

Bicycle riding in South Africa

As in cricket playing and in rowing, so likewise in the skilful art and holiday exercise of riding upon wheels, Colonial youth and manhood, in different quarters of the globe, keep up well with the similar performance of their brothers in England. Mr J F Marshall and Mr Broon two members of the Cape Civil Service, lately made a bicycle trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, a distance of nearly 600 miles, by which they accomplished in eleven days and thirteen hours. This speed ought not to be compared with that of long bicycle journeys in Great Britain. Those who have experienced the difficulties of South African travelling will know that such an undertaking in that country  involves great labour and fatigue in climbing range after range of high mountains and going over roads so bad that it is often with difficulty the trek-oxen goes along them; while considerable hardships must be endured from the intense heat, the want of water and the bad accommodation, besides the forced walking over miles of sand and roads, dragging the machines and knapsacks and sometimes fording rivers. Two cyclists, from Port Elizabeth, Messrs Hallack and Girdlestone, occupied eighteen days and twelve hours in riding to Cape Town. We have to thank Mr Marshall for a sketch of himself and his companion riding by the mail-cart road through the forest of Homtini, in the district of knysna, which is one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. The scenery here is very grand and the forest, extending hundreds of miles, is still the haunt of the wild elephant, the leopard, the baboon and various species of bucks and other large animals. The newly discovered gold-fields in this region have excited new activity of speculation. It should be mentioned that the bicycles used by Messrs Marshall and Broon upon this occasion were specially made for them by Messrs Singer and Co, of Coventry.

Illustrated London News, Saturday, October 23, 1886; pg. 420

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