A holiday tip for students: ride a unicycle for 2,500km… off-road!
Written by Fred Hatman
The seed of the idea for the Freedom Revolution Tour was germinated in the interestingly assembled brain of Johnny Cronje.
He fancied doing something a bit different during the long holidays that students are insanely lucky to get.
As a medical student at the University of Cape Town he had a lot of time to – as students do – lie around and occasionally water the seedling so that it finally took root. As it sprouted forth, he began to nag everybody in the Cape Town unicyclist community to join him in riding a one-wheeler off-road from Durban to Cape Town. They all ran for cover and phoned people in white coats to come to take crazy Johnny away.
But somebody listened and saw the beauty of it all. Donna Kisogloo then convinced boyfriend and business partner Alan Read that he should also get excited.
This made Johnny very happy indeed. So everybody (well, Johnny, Donna and Alan) all got excited together, made and ate a lot of popcorn, washed it down with barrels of beer and cider and talked very animatedly about how this ride could be made possible.
It then, amazingly, did start to look possible. To them. Nobody else.
Johnny then drew up a proposal to enter into the Kris Holm's Evolution of Balance Award for 2010. It won. It won 1,700 Canadian dollars as well as one single-speed unicycle and other monowheelie bits and bobs. This made our daft trio very happy indeed. After prolonged celebrations involving popcorn and beer were over, they realised that people were starting to take them and their crazy off-road ride seriously.
After a suitable period of shock, during which they slowly absorbed the fact that they were sane, the preparations began in earnest. Unicycling colleagues were pulled in to help make it all happen. Andrew Whitehouse, an ad agency design guy, created the CounterBalance image and designed the unique maze logo that is at the top of this page. Brent Boswell, the founder of the AmaOneTya unicycling website, concocted the widgets and other techy stuff that make up the back-end of the website you are now browsing with, we hope, great interest.
Unicycles are such that, if you're thinking of riding them very great distances, you need a van to carry all of the spares and tools that keep them going. A driver for the support vehicle was needed, preferably one that could blog and make a right hooha about the tour. The team knew of a guy who had done exactly that on the Heart & Sole tour earlier this year, a rather cavalier adventure that carried Geoff Brink on a unicycle along many roads from Durban to Cape Town. So Fred Hatman was dragged kicking and bellowing "Don't even think about asking me to do this" into the mix. He's writing the words that you are reading right now. And will be writing many thousands more as the Freedom Revolution Tour unfolds. Sucker for punishment.
So this is a team effort. As it must be. It's a team experienced in what they do. But each and every one of them is being challenged to leap enthusiastically out of comfort zones and break new territory in a concerted effort to help the cause. And the cause is beautiful. To help the Bobs For Good Foundation to give a spanking-new pair of school shoes to children who would otherwise continue to walk the hard road of life.
And that, we think you will agree, is just not right.
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