Day 11 of the African Bikers mountain bike tour across South Africa’s Garden Route would turn out to be one of the most unique cycling experiences of my life. Instead of cycling up steep mountain sides or zipping down narrow single-track trails, our group of eight would be cycling several kilometers along the shores of a sandy beach.
Our day began with a long drive from the guesthouse in Mossel Bay, South Africa to a small dock, where we were met by several scraggly men in possession of a small fishing boat. The men hoisted our bicycles onto the boat’s main deck and then lowered the boat into the nearby water with their truck.
After we all jumped on board the boat, it was just a short ride across the water to the bank on the other side, where we then unloaded the bicycles and began our beach-side ride.
I had thought that we would be riding along the shores of the beach for the entire day, but that wasn’t the way it turned out. Our ride did begin on a small section of sandy beach, but then it turned inland after a few kilometers and we traveled quickly through a desolate farmland area before eventually returning to the beach to begin our long day of cycling in the surf.
Once we hit the beach there was nothing else to do but to point our handlebars towards the horizon and ride! I immediately made my way into the shallow water, splashing about and trying to ride as deep as possible into the salty surf before the waves overtook me (which they never did). Others soon followed and we had a blast cycling in and out of the South African sea water all day long.
Riding along the beach was fun, but not exactly easy. We deflated our tires just a bit to gain more traction with the slippery sand, but even that didn’t help in some locations. We were constantly on the look out for the best sand to ride on. Sometimes the best sand was close to the water. Other times it was closer to shore. Most of the time, however, it was somewhere in between.
After our beach ride was over, we loaded ourselves back into the van and drove just a short distance back to our Mossel Bay guest house where we showered, washed our clothes, and removed ourselves of the salt and sand that was now covering our entire bodies.
After a quick shower, we drove down to the shore of Mossel Bay and ate lunch at a beautiful outdoor eatery. The sun was out now and we welcomed it after our cool ride along the shores of the strand earlier that day.
After lunch we walked along the edge of Mossel Bay’s beach area, exploring the tide pools, taking photos and feeding the local dassies.
Then later that night we went out to dinner at a local golf-themed restaurant and called it a night sometime before 11 PM. The following day would be our final day of cycling in South Africa.