Inspired by the Camino de Santiago – pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – the Bikamino is a pilgrimage of a different sort. A journey by bicycle; through the ancient heartland of South Africa, past copper mines which pre-date European colonialism, to the wildest of coastlines – the Namaqua Coastal Route. The Bikamino, though set to expand in 2020, launches in 2019 as a three-day/72 hour experience which can be raced or ridden from Okiep to Hondeklipbaai; from the 2nd to the 5th of May 2019.
The lure of the event is the landscape and the people. A region like no other Namaqualand provides endless unspoilt horizons; seemingly harsh but surprisingly fertile soils, rich in minerals and floral biodiversity; and some of the most welcoming people you will ever meet.
Part of the adventure of the event is choosing your bike, your route and how you will take on the challenge. There are two route options, a red and a green route. The red is shorter and rougher – more suited to mountain bikes. Longer and smoother the green route is – navigable by hard-men and –women on gravel bikes. Either way riders will receive the route as a GPX file along with a map to ensure they reach the designated check points where they will have to have their Bikamino passports stamped.
Between the start and finish locations there are two designated overnight stops; for the riders who choose to make use of them, stopping to sleep is a personal choice after all. Riders wishing to complete the Bikamino non-stop will need to add bike lights to their essential kit list; but racing through the night, under the spectacular Namaqua stars is encouraged. For riders wanting to soak up the experience and take full advantage of the region’s reputation for superb hospitality the 72 hour cut-off is more than generous enough. Along with the overnight stops, at Naries and Kookfontein, where dinner and breakfast will be served riders can also stop for lunch at Nigramoep and Kommagas.
To join the first ever Bikamino and to research exactly what the adventure will entail visit www.bikamino.com. The event takes place from the 2nd to the 5th of May, with riders arriving in Okiep on the afternoon of the 2nd and departing from Honeklipbaai on the afternoon of the 5th.