Lets get this over and done with right from the outset. Lance Armstrong (that really good cycling dude) was wrong – its all about the bike! Lets reverse a little and start the story where it should be started …… at the beginning ….

Being a firmly entrenched member of the “proud spectator parent” club, I have spent literally hundreds of hours watching my kids at swimming, running, ballet, cycling, quadrathlon, canoeing and horseriding events. This in essence means spending chunks of time delivering your kid to the event, waving goodbye and then sitting with likeminded parents for a few delish hours till a speck in the distance forms into your child, you then heave yourself up, dash to the finish line and yell like blazes when they cross the line – first or last.

In a nutshell, myself and some other spectator moms have added to our Bucket Lists, that, where possible we will take part in the events where possible and age permitting. To the total embarrassment of the children we dusted off our bikes, squashed into musty cycling clothes searched for helmets and entered our first race. We even gave ourselves a name – BOKKIES ON BIKES.

The first race day arrived and it was a cross country night cycle and there we were at the start pleased as punch that we were there. The race involved night circut riding completing as many of the 5km loops as you could in 1 hour. Manditory was your helmet and a head torch. My bike had a total of 6 lights strapped to it – I looked like a mobile Christmas Tree.

Anyway back to the start – I am next to Jamie at the start, lighting up the whole start of the race – believe me the photographers didnt even need a flash.

I look at Jamie. “Good Luck Boy”

Jamie looks at me. “Your helmets on backwards Mom”

Good start.

51 minutes later the Bokkies on Bikes completed the loop. Jamie did 4.

Now we set our sites on a bigger prize – a 30 km endurance ride aptly named the Kouga Challenge. At our current speed of 5 k’s in 51 mins we were set to complete the 30 k’s in 6 hours – we didnt care we were the Bokkies on Bikes. To our joint relief the first race day was cancelled due to totally unacceptable weather conditions, a second date was set.

Now as any cyclist knows, events start at really uncool times – 6 am and maybe if you are lucky there is a 7 am start. The morning of the race comes – the sun isnt up yet, and it is pouring with rain, I get up – I am going to do this thing, I sms the other Bokkies and no way are they getting out of bed. So off Jamie and I go, in the pitch black, pouring rain, freezing cold morning. Down a pitch black, very muddy long dirt road. Half way to the venue another Bokkie phones – “I’m on my way – if you are doing it I am too”, she says. Our champion (read fitter than us) Bokkie is already there.

When we get there there are experienced cyclists bailing, throwing words like hyperthermia, bike damage and only for ducks around.

We start – and we cycle, cycle, cycle ……………. uphill, and downhill. These events in essence are very much like life – the downhills are great, the uphills are expected and a bit of a get off and push, but, what really gets to you is the long, slightly uphill grind that never stops – not enough to make you stop but enough to make you think twice about your situation. People were constantly stopping asking us if we were OK – we must have really looked pitiful. So we chatted and cycled – The Bokkies VS the World. About 4 hours later we damply made it to the finish – um – actually I missed the finish and rode right past it.

We had done it – Bokkies on Bikes live to cycle another event.

Which gets me back to…… its all about the bike. The nature of any event, just by entering, means that you have mentally said to yourself – “SELF I am going to ride this event, do my best and finish it” – so there is the “Its NOT about the bike” theory straight out the window.

Choosing and maintaining your bike is where the ITS ALL ABOUT THE BIKE, comes in. You get the best equipment you can, in order to make your mentally prepared for journey as easy as possible. The bike is something you choose, and something you nurture because you know when the chips are down it is just you and your bike.

This is all very much like life – liken your life to you and your bike. You choose the people you surround yourself with, once you have chosen them you have got to nurture them and maintain them. Leave them to rust and you will not go very far. The better you look after your bike – the further you are going to go with the least possible complications. A good bike will not alter the uphills, downhills or the constant grind – but hell it will make it all a lot easier and smoother.

You can also choose not to ride certain bikes, or, let your bike fall into disuse. Maybe you havent got the energy anymore to keep on fixing a troublesome bike. Ya know what – its OK.

Keep your bike well oiled and the tyres pumped and any challenge you have to endure will be a medal winning event.


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