African Beginnings

2 Jan

I, Piet, grew up in Johannesburg, a city where renegade minivans are the main form of public transportation.  Biking represented a way for me to explore Joburg at a young age in ways that would not have otherwise been possible.  

An early biking companion and friend of mine in high school wasChris Froome, who later was to win the 2013 Tour De France. Chris and I were both prefects at St Johns College. On one particular ride, Chris and I were mugged and Chris’ saddlebag was stolen.  Incensed, and with youthful enthusiasm if not so much wisdom, we hotly pursued the assailant as we tried to coordinate the police to intercept him. When the police were finally able to intercept the mugger, they viciously beat him in front of us. As children of Johannesburg, this violence was not entirely unusual.

Laurence was then a talented mountain biker who I met through the high school cycling club. Being a few years behind us, he was affectionately known as “The Kid”.  Laurence and I frequently headed off to races in Pretoria together in the back of his mom’s Land Cruiser. After high school, Laurence and I compiled a highly complimentary set of skills. We joined forces on hammerhead a year ago when he came to the USA to do a masters program at Brown University. 

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