Craig Stevens in South Africa
With a lot of the misconceptions that go with wild countries like South Africa (i.e. rape, murder, corruption and all round general nastiness,) you could understand people not eagerly queuing up to go to the country. Hell even I, having spent the first fifteen years of my life there, was a bit sketched out about going back.
I spent the end of December and all of January there, so as to escape at least half of the grotesque English winter, and I fell madly in love with South Africa all over again. From its beautiful landscape, people and culture, to its oceans, animals and general exciting craziness that go with day to day life there, this country has it all.
The entire riding portion of my trip was spent with the natural born spayed’er himself, Clive Lees (who also happens to be the drummer in my air band along with air bassist Faye Edy, hot Dan, and the pretenders). Clive is in a league of his own when it comes to unique characters and so made for a lot of laughter every day. Our base of operations for our gang, the secret brotherhood of the cobra, was a cottage in Umdloti beach. This cottage, which came to be known as the Viper Den, was one of the most picturesque, beautiful homes you could wish to stay in.
The Viper Den was hosted by hot Dan, Leigh king and Bruce hairy Banoinoi, three of the most beautiful, genuine people I know… absolute legends! General goings on in the den ranged from skinny dipping, hosting air gigs in the kitchen and lots of braais (BBQ’s), to watching team 300 sculpting their guns on the back porch every evening.
The riding scene in South Africa was so refreshing. Instead of the stereotypical English BMXer who scans your bike to see what set up you have to decide whether they’re going to acknowledge your existence or not, a SA rider will genuinely come up and high five you just for being another rider. Kick ass!
We rode the Durban beach park most days, but it would have to be either an early morning or late afternoon session as it gets way too hot to even contemplate riding at Midday. There was a really tight little crew of locals at the park and even a flatland posse consisting of Mr. Hanky and the Blind Cobra! Mr. Hanky, aka Sean Lee, owns and runs BMX Direct, one of the country’s premier BMX distributions.
Mr. Hanky was kind enough to act as tour guide for most of the trip. One of the place’s he guided us to was Richard’s Bay, home to Kyle’s trails, a ten foot concrete spine and the Afrikaans MMA Christian fighting team. The trails were super fun, although I was a little freaked out when I went to the river to get water for the jumps and was told to watch out for crocodiles. Kyle was a very cool dude and the only person who digs at the trails! He was a treat to watch ride, and nice enough to let us stay at his house and take us out on the town.
We spent the remainder of the trip patrolling the north coast of Natal. We surfed good waves and rode crazy spots in the middle of the bush surrounded by mud huts. To say that I had the time of my life would be a huge understatement. Thank you so much to all the people that made it happen. You know who you are. Clive, you’re my boy! Oh, I got engaged while I was there and as I was about to drop to one knee and pop the question a dead body washed up on the beach, but that’s another story altogether!