While most of us spent the holiday relaxing, 25-year-old Jolandie Rust cycled around South Africa. Her trip of 5 951km started on 5 October 2009 and came to an end when she arrived in Parkview on 10 January 2010. The aim of this trip was to raise money for her dream of cycling around Africa. Successfully completing this trip made Rust the first woman to cycle around South Africa solo. Perdeby was lucky enough to ask her a few questions.
How long have you been cycling? I have been cycling since I was a little girl although I only started “long-distance adventure cycling” in 2004.
Who inspires you the most? People in general who go out to live their lives to the fullest. My friends are a great inspiration to me in how they support me and believe in me without fail.
How did you keep yourself motivated during the journey? By putting one foot in front of the other (or one pedal at a time rather). My mantra whilst on the road is “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” from Dory in the movie Finding Nemo. Also by being so grateful for all the good things and all the beauty that surrounds me, even when the going gets tough.
What was your favourite leg of the journey through South Africa and why? It’s hard for me to have to name just one favourite, but I’d say the Eastern Cape really was a highlight for me. I fell in love with the province and its people. It was also one of the more challenging provinces.
Was it different cycling around the country for the second time? The first time was a short trip through the country, at a total of 1 500km. This one was much longer at a total of 5 951km, and more intense. I got to see more of the country and really experience every province and its people.
What other long-distance journeys have you done? In 2004 I cycled through Israel. Not that big a country, but an amazing experience! I think that was where the adventure cycling bug bit me. And then cycling from Johannesburg to Cape Town in 2008.
What other sports do you enjoy? I love sports. All sports. But personally, I mostly take part in more “adventure” sports. Like river rafting, kloofing, hikes etc.
Do you think cycling long-distance is as much a mental challenge as a physical one? Definitely! There is of course the physical preparation. But if you are not prepared mentally, for me that’s even worse than not being prepared physically.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? My trip around Africa. It has been the most challenging so far and I gained great personal growth through it.
What are your goals for the future? My focus right now is on my trip around Africa. It is a two-year project once it’s launched, so all my time now goes into it.
What is the most important thing cycling has taught you? No matter how hard it is, how tired you may be or how impossible a hill may seem. If you just keep at it, one foot after the other, you will get there and you will reach your goal!