Only hours before the tour started, Hugh Butler got back on a bicycle for the first time since he last rode in the 1950s. This time it was on an e-Bike. Four days later he cycled almost not stop up the 1500m Swartberg Pass in the Karoo, South Africa with nine others - and he was not the oldest.
Octogenarian Robin Binckes of Johannesburg was so impressed with his first experience on an e-Bike with e-Biking Africa in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve that he bought his own e-bike and persuaded nine others to throw off the shackles of old age and join him cycling. The route was through the Karoo and over and through the Western Cape's spectacular passes on quiet gravel roads dating back to the 1740s.
Shrugging off dizzy spells, cracked ribs and other ailments, a group of his friends that had no e-biking experience joined him on the "Don't Let The Old Man In" Tour.
The Karoo is open, quiet and blessed with a huge number of boutique lodges and guest houses for people wanting to enjoy its extraordinary hospitality, flora, scenery and peace.
Robin concludes that the tour was the most enjoyable 8 days of his eventful 80 years. The e-biking was just part of it. It was the people he met and the people on the tour that made it so special.
The tour bikes were sponsored by E-Biking Africa which operates half-day activities in a nature reserve in Gauteng and e-Biking experiences where tourists e-bike Cape Point, the top of Table Mountain National Park and the Winelands. They offer small group guided tours aimed at first-time e-Bikers and customised small group tours of the Karoo Passes.