Eugene recalls his first cycling adventures ‘borrowing’ his uncles’ bicycles and being so tiny he had to cycle under the bars. Eventually one uncle realized his passion for cycling and bought him a second hand bicycle. This was the start of his life-long bond with cycling. After having completed several Argus Cycle and Double Century races, he was ready for a different kind of challenge. He decided to conquer Cuba by bicycle. Why Cuba? It is such a unique country, politically ostracized by the USA, economically barely surviving to feed its population yet rich in culture and history. To many people it is still an enigma. His planning was meticulous. Spanish lessons he took, blogs he read, people he spoke to, maps he poured over, travelogues he imbibed. Nothing could prepare him for the real Cuba. This was a solo cycle adventure into unknown territory. His achievement: he cycled 2500km in 4 weeks from Santiago de Cuba to Pinar del Rio, crossing the Sierra Maestra Mountain range. His longest ride was 240 km in a day. His experience: priceless! He encountered the generosity of ordinary Cubans in the countryside who have to endear hardship and food scarcity on a daily basis. His photographs (his other passion) are testimony to a fascinating society frozen in time by socio-political restrictions. His taste for solo cycle adventures had just begun. His next goal was Morocco. Again, not the tourist north, but the lesser known south, the land of the Berber. He planned his route thoroughly again using the Internet as well as talking to people who have lived in Morocco. He had heard that the Berber people were well known for their hospitality. He learned no French hoping his smattering of Arabic greetings learned in South African Muslim homes would suffice. Well, the Berber speak Berber; so sign language, facial expressions and drawings (his engineering design talent kicked in here) pulled him through. The Berber people lived up to their reputation and one family adopted him for several days! His achievement: he cycled 1500km in 2½ weeks starting in Marrakech traversing the Atlas Mountains and ending in Agadir at the coast. His longest ride was 114 km. His experience: priceless! There is nothing like the solitude of a solo adventure to provide you with the space and time to reflect and recharge! To view his blog go to Morocco Cycle Adventure.
His next cycle adventure was to conquer Northern Chile’s Atacama Desert! Of course it’s the austere terrain that is the attraction. This time, his friend Curt provided a support vehicle. Curt, being an honorary park ranger, is interested in national parks and photography. They started their journey in the little town of Arica close to the Peruvian border and ended in the Port City of Valparaiso. Eugene covered 2000km in 4 weeks. His longest ride was 142km. To view his blog go to Cycling the Atacama.
Eugene’s next cycle adventure is from Windhoek in Namibia to Cape Town, South Africa. He will link up with his partner Curt once again. On this adventure they will be driving an awareness campaign for the South African Haemophilia Foundation & Namibia to promote greater awareness about haemophilia.
Eugene has the strength of character to set a goal and to work towards it. He is a champion to his friends. His everyday lifestyle bears testimony to his belief in health and well-being. He commutes by bicycle to work every day come rain or shine. So, if you see a cyclist on the road to the Cape Town CBD on a stormy winter’s day, in all likelihood it will be Eugene.
Eugene’s journey can be followed via his blog: www.cycling4haemophilia.blogspot.com