Cape Town – The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle tour is days away and among the competitors will be a a 28-year-old taking part in his 21st tour, women who have completed it more than 25 times, a veteran and his wife, a young couple and a young cyclist who is determined to finish, writes Kieran Legg.
The Stegmann Duo
After completing 21 Cycle Tours, his wife has finally been coaxed into joining him. John Stegmann, 75, has had a long, personal history with the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, and is cited as a key figure in the inception of the big ride.
He took part in the first tour in 1978, when picnics seemed mandatory and cars could drive along the route.
Until now, his wife Pam Stegmann had always followed in a Kombi, dishing out treats when friends and family got peckish and picking up those who had thrown themselves too eagerly at the mountainside – or as the rules became stricter – waiting at the finish line.
The couple, who live in Plettenberg Bay, have taken a long break from the event but are back for one final ride.
“Our daughter is coming from London and asked us if we wanted to take part… I couldn’t say no,” says John.
He says the Cycle Tour is the only chance cyclists get to have the roads to themselves and skim around the city’s streets.
The tour has been a collection of memorable moments for John. He has always ridden fast, but a few times his confidence got the better of him.
Once he was cycling along and finishing off a banana. “I decided to toss the peel in the bush and as I threw it, it went one way and my bike went the other and I crashed,” he says. “I learnt my lesson very quickly.”
He says this time around he will treat it as a fun ride and isn’t afraid to walk up the hills “It makes them seem shorter.”
Pam, 75 has never ridden in the event, but says she has suffered through 21 years of preparation and nerves.
“I’m looking forward toit ,” she said. “I’m hoping to stop for a cup of tea.”
“If you are asking what time we are aiming for,” joke the pair. “The cut-off (10 hours) – we’re hoping to beat that.”