The highlight of my week was meeting a group of ex Commonwealth servicemen and women at a function hosted by one of the charities that we’re riding to Mt Kilimanjaro for next year. They were wonderful old soldiers, so proud, so humble and so grateful for being acknowledged and remembered. It was an honour to meet them.

I sat to next to old soldier from Gutu. In his late eighties, he told me very proudly he’d fought with the King’s Royal Rifle Corp in World War Two. He stood up and thanked the charity for remembering him, for facilitating a UK government grant that was his only source of income and for the cataract operations that gave him back his sight.

Hugely enthused, I rushed home and ordered enough E-Pap to get me up to Cairo and plunged up Pig Hill, with Adam Selby in tow.

My body continues to send me mixed messages though. Two weekends ago, Strava reliably informed me that I broke my personal best time up Pig Hill whilst suffering a Dr Frank Douie inspired hang over. (Up until then I had no idea that Strava measured that sort of stuff.) Yesterday, enthused with E-Pap coursing through me and knowing that Strava was watching, I was half a minute slower. Which I’m taking to mean E-Pap in moderation and more beer going forward.

In preparation for Mt Kili, I’ve started work on my Swahili. I’m now fluent in 5 sentences.

Nenda polepole Bruce – ride slower Bruce and the ever popular Nenda haraka Alistair and Adam – ride faster you slackers at the back. To give them extra oomph, I tried to bolster these sentences with expletives but according to Google people don’t swear in Swahili. To mess with his head, I’ve gone with Tazama Dave, ni hiyo a Simba – look Dave a lion. But my standout favourite Swahili is Piga mimi a zabibu, Jenny – peel me a grape Jenny but I think I’ll use Kuacha ngumi mimi a.k.a.stop hitting me more often.

My body wasn’t only thing sending out mixed messages this week. In a week where our new Finance Minister launched a crowd funding appeal to deal with a cholera crisis that has already killed 25, the government blew 20 million on new cars for our new MP’s and a half a million on a private jet charter for a woman who lives in a blue roofed palace. The only good thing they did was to throw the architect of the cholera crisis, the ex-Minister of Health, in jail for abuse of office.

This week I’m pleased to introduce you to Carol Joy Church, our Old Legs Tour member from Germany.

CarolJoy Church, 39, born in Mutare and raised in Mutare and Harare, has been living in Germany for the past 18 years. In Zimbabwe cycling was not part of her life, but music – specifically piano and cello – was. After studying music therapy in Germany, she began working at a hospital in a picturesque but hilly area on the east of the Ruhr Region. Here, influenced by local attitudes regarding environmental awareness, she decided against becoming a car owner, leaving bike owner and bike user as the logical alternative. Thus began her journey into the joys, possibilities and straightforwardness of cycling, a no-brainer in the combination of transport, fitness, and relaxation. Some considered her daft.

In 2015 she learnt of the Blue Cross and was immediately attracted to this perfect way of holidaying in Zim. During this adventure she met fellow Old Legs To Be – Eric de Jong and Al Watermeyer. After a second run of the Blue Cross in 2018 full of beautiful country and immense climbs she is thrilled to be joining the Old Legs Tour 2019 whilst also in awe of the huge number of training hours to be spent on the saddle in the next few months.

If you are in Zimbabwe and would like to donate to our epic cause, transfers can be made to:

Bank: Ecobank Zimbabwe Ltd
Branch: Bradfield Bulawayo | Branch Code: 004
Account Name: Bulawayo Help Network
Account Number: 0041087600345101

To donate using PayNow visit

Donate through Ecocash
Account name – Michael Carter.

Next week we’ll launch our Just Giving page. And I’ll introduce you to more Old Legs. Until then, enjoy and pedal if you can

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

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