Travelling on muddy, rock-strewn roads with hailstorms brewing overhead is no easy task, but it is life-changing. All the more reason to sign up for Quads4Quads 2018
It’s that time of the year. People get Novemberitis. It’s a frustrating time. It’s too early to close your doors and too late to start something new. Despite this, I know a crowd of people who are operating like machines at 110 percent. They are the ones who participated in the 2017 Quads4Quads event.
Quadriplegics, paraplegics, amputees and people with no disability (not that I think such people exist) all participated. This 1 000-km migration of quad bikes, MX bikes, big trailies and side-by-sides from Durban to Johannesburg will change your life. I promise you.
Every year presents its own challenges. The KwaZulu-Natal floods set the backdrop as we launched near Ballito in the pouring rain.
Day one, I found myself fishtailing up a 40-degree sugar-cane hill and grabbing at the quad’s 4×4 button for traction. Later that day, the mother of all obstacles was a rock-strewn, mud-covered mountain. Some of the motocross bikes were recovered as late as 8pm that evening. By “recovered”, I mean physically carried over the mountain.
Day two, the weather and the route was half wet and half dry with no consistency. Cautious fuelling and braking was the order of the day. A miscalculation while negotiating rocky hills and evergreen plantations on roads that seem to be tied to the edges of the mountain could have you falling a few hundred metres. Breathtaking is the word to describe the route, and also the scenery.
Day three, we were steadily moving north when the sky suddenly turned dark blue. Hiding underneath my quad bike five minutes later, I realised that body armour and helmets provide dual protection. Not only do they come into play when you fall, they are also quite effective in a hailstorm.
Lying flat on my belly observing the soil around me turn from a light brown to snow white while the temperature dropped radically and the lightning danced on the power lines directly above was one of those life moments I will never forget.
The last day was all mielie-field and train tracks. Racing a 100-t freight train with three locomotives for 40 km off road while Carnival City was waving on the horizon might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it surely did it for me and it was the perfect ending to an epic adventure.
May I leave you with a little advice? Forget about all the mundane stuff you do in a year. Plan for this event. It will change your life!
Heinrich Grimsehl is a prosthetist in private practice and a member of the South African Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (SAOPA). email: firstname.lastname@example.org