Colin Cooper and his 947 x 7

Our loyal friend Colin Cooper has been at it again. As if riding the highest peak in every one of South Africa’s provinces on a Buffalo Bicycle wasn’t enough, Colin decided to ride an epic 947 x 7 on his Bicycle. This entailed riding to the start of the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge (and riding the race itself on 15 November) from Groot Marico over seven days, doing the average 947 race distance on each day.

Colin’s route was set to take him through Lichtenburg, Ventersdorp, Parys, Krugersdorp, Hekpoort and Meyersdal before he embarked on the 947 Cycle Challenge itself.

“From the time of the Egyptian slaves to only some 50/60 years ago all workers gained much of their energy from bread and beer (pyramid building slaves were “paid” 3 loaves of bread and 2 flagons of beer daily). So I am going to do the same and ride on home baked bread and Guinness,” Colin wrote before setting out.

Colin on his Buffalo Bicycle

Despite 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) weather at one point on his journey, Colin still managed to do the 947 x 6, only missing one day. In fact, he reckons that the 947 race itself was a breeze compared to some of his other “laps”.

“Africa is the great equaliser. After many expeditions on the Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle, I have been brought back down to earth with a bump,” he wrote after his first day on the bike. “Day one from Groot Marico to Lichtenburg left me sick, battered and bruised. One of the few days when I wanted to throw my bike in the ditch after only 50km. As it turned out I struggled on for another 38 km before getting to Lichtenburg on the worst dirt road in Africa. Full suspension guys would have battled. My full support team ( Maggie ) was waiting in the shade of a Karee outside the Lichtenburg Old Age Home. After hurling on to their pretty shrubbery I lay on the pavement for half an hour. Finally got up and rolled the last couple of kilometres into the camp. Day two was now an enforced rest day of catching up with fluids in the 38 degree heat. Still lets get back on the bike and see what happens, can’t get worse.”

Rest and recovery

Kudos to Colin for pressing on! After a rough Tuesday recovering, he was back on the bike on Wednesday and Thursday. He had a great ride on Friday and managed to keep going through 95km on Saturday, despite horrible headwinds all day.

A much better day on the bike!

Colin’s partner, Maggie, who acted as his support crew

“Sunday, race day, Bianca [my daughter] and I had camped at the Riversands start venue and had a great evening in the Craft Beer Bar before taking an early night. We rose early, 04h00, due to the PA system being tested. No problem – an early coffee and breakfast of dragon toast and egg. Fine food for racing. Bianca’s start on her restored Zini was at 07h30 so she left me to stew in camp for another two hours for my start.”


Bianca’s restored classic steel frame Zini

“My legs felt good and all the pre-race hype had been about how tough and hilly the course was, so I predicted a time of around five and a quarter hours at an average speed of 18kph which would have made it one of the fastest days of this trip. I also had a plan! The plan was to start right at the back of my group and hitch a slipstream from any big guys in front of me. No shame.”

“The Momentum 947 turned out to be one of the strongest and fastest rides I have done on a Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle. The route was significantly easier than expected and not even one “Walkies” was needed. True, the short pull up off Louis Botha near Houghton was bordering on pushing but every time I passed a Cervelo or Pinarello I got a fab mental boost. Another long pull was up to Randburg, but by latching on to one big guy after another I managed to pass hundreds of riders over the last 40km.”

“One exciting section was the roll down past the Lion Park where I pedalled furiously, slipstreamed everyone I could and got the bike up to 69 kph. Most interesting experience. Another Qhubeka rider, Bradley, rode on and off with me and also helped pull me along.

In the end I finished in 4hours 36min at 20.6 kph! Almost 45 min ahead of schedule and the Guinness and cheese sandwich were great.”

Colin, after finishing the Cycle Challenge

Well done, Colin! And thanks to you and Bianca for your continued support.

To find out more about Colin and Bianca’s adventures on their Buffalo Bicycles, visit their website, Heavy Metal Bikes.