The Adventures of El Pancito: First Chariot Micro-Adventure

It was a matter of time that young Gabriel Gonzalez Ringdahl (aka El Pancito*) would head off on a micro-adventure** by bicycle. Having completed a 7km hike in the Darkensberg at 3mths, a 70km cycle trip at 6mths seemed like a moderate start to his cycling adventures. We tested the Thule Chariot so generously given to us by our friends Carla and William when he was around 3mths,  however despite the fabulous suspension system it was still a little on the bumpy side for such a small tot to head out on a proper adventure. Now a sturdy 6mth old  weighing over 8kg, el Pancito has been well accustomed to excursions in the chariot as a walker, so this next step was to test and see how he faired on a little trip into the Karkloof to meet some friends for the New Year at the beautiful Mbona reserve. Our trusty team included our dear friend  Cath Traynor, a surrogate auntie and bike and adventure enthusiast from the Cape. We were so grateful to have her chaperone us on this maiden voyage and document el Pancito’s first baby bike ‘steps’!

*el Pancito: means little bread/roll in Spanish, what we nick-named Gabriel when he was baking in the oven

** micro-adventure: Simple expeditions and challenges which are close to home, affordable and easy to organise. Ideas designed to encourage ordinary people to get Out There and Do Stuff for themselves, even in these tightened financial times. (The term was coined by round the world cyclist and adventurer Alistair Humphries)

The first few kilometres of the 70km round trip journey involved some of the Howick and Karkloof well worn trails.
The first few kilometres of the 70km round trip journey involved some of the Howick and Karkloof well worn trails.
Setting off from Howick, we followed the steep Curry's post road to access some of the quiter forestry roads that abound with some of the finest single-track in the country.
Setting off from Howick, we followed the steep Curry’s post road to access some of the quiter forestry roads that abound with some of the finest single-track in the country.
Other team member included Gabriel's Bunny
Other team member included el Pancito’s Bunny.
We were tempted to try some of the techincal single-track, but knew that would be a bad move - never wake a sleeping baby!
We were tempted to try some of the techincal single-track, but knew that would be a bad move – never wake a sleeping baby especially on Puff Adder Pass!
We couldn't done it without our great friend Cath!
We couldn’t done it without our great friend Cath!
Cycling through the eucalyptus and pine plantations
Cycling through the eucalyptus and pine plantations.
Terrain included well graded road, jeep track and regular road.
Terrain included well graded road, jeep track and paved road.
Heading for the Karlkloof road, now 13km into the trip
Heading for the Karlkloof road, now 13km into the trip.
Let sleeping babies lie.
Let sleeping babes lie.
We were so lucky with the weather, scorching heat and storms are common at this time of the year.
We were so lucky with the weather, scorching heat and storms are common at this time of the year.
Roads were generally quite, surprisingly it was the SUVs with mountain bikes on carriers that failed to slow down as they raced past us kicking up dust!
Roads were generally quite, surprisingly it was the SUVs with mountain bikes on carriers that failed to slow down as they raced past us kicking up dust!
Team Selfie
Team Selfie.
After a good hour nap it was time for a boob and stretch stop.
After a good hour nap it was time for a boob and stretch stop.
And a little jiggle on the handle bars.
And a little jiggle on the handle bars.
Hello to the nguni cows.
Hello to the nguni cows.
We met a very friendly Gogo.
We met a very friendly Gogo.
All fed up and ready for the road again...
All fed up and ready for the road again…
Then after another butternut and sweet potato stop we continued on the beautifully undulating road (with a little more protesting).
Then after another sustenance stop (butternut and sweet potato) we continued on the beautifully undulating road (with a little more protesting from the back).
Not long to go, although some steep climbing ensured a slow pace..
Not long to go, although some steep climbing ensured a slow pace..

Bridge9 (Large)

Last k's el Pancito took another forty winks, thankfully as the mother really was busting a gut to get up those hills at a smails pace!
Home at last! During the final k’s el Pancito took another forty winks, thankfully, as the mother really was busting a gut to get up those hills at a snail’s pace!
Then is was time for more micro-adventuring with the Drews at Mbona.
Then is was time for more micro-adventuring with the Drews at Mbona.
Heading across the grasslands
Heading across the grasslands.
Bridget, Gabriel, Sophie, Sarah, James and Matt.
Bridget, el Pancito, Sophie, Sarah, James and Matt, no-one is too old or too young for a micro-adventure!

Check out some seriously inspirational chariot-riding with el Pancito’s ‘chariot buddy’ el Huevito here in Patagonia: http://www.whileoutriding.com/south-america/chile/parque-national-conguillio-chile.

Some pics of our first Chariot test ride when Gabriel was just 3mths!

Dad towing the chariot effortlessly.
Dad towing the chariot effortlessly.
Obligatory refuel stop.
Obligatory refuel stop.
Have a chariot day!
Have a chariot day!

Bridget Ringdahl

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

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9 thoughts on “The Adventures of El Pancito: First Chariot Micro-Adventure
  • Nuncle Ian

    How lovely to see the beautiful Natal midlands being visited by such a special guy (with mother and friends in attendance). Felt quite homesick for my youthful times out in the ...

  • Awesome, Bridget! Sounds like a great trip. I hope El Pancito and El Huevito get to tour together one day!

    • Bridget Ringdahl

      Yes that would be super cool! How is lil Huevito doing these days - hope you have another chariot update soon...keeps us inspired!

  • Small adventures rock! However, I have no doubt there are some BIG ones in store for this baby too. Lovely, Bridg, glad you are writing again. xxx ...

  • Scilla Edmonds

    Brilliant! Your story had me enthralled. This could be the beginning of a movie on the life of a famous cycler. Just wonderful! I remember, Tammy,( a little girl I taught in ...

  • Julia

    Hey Bridget, what a charming story. Im so glad you braved the traffic, storms and heat to take Gabriel on his first little adventure. You do us all proud, yummy, sporty, funny mummy

  • Such a little trooper. Well done on establishing the adventuring spirit and may he continue to enjoy many micro and major adventures with his lovely Mum and Dad. ...

  • Hey Bridget..Is this your latest post? I suppose El Panchito is consuming all your time... are you still doing the treks in India. I have recently discovered Costa Rica, and intend ...

    • Bridget Ringdahl

      Thanks Pete!! I need the nudge.. el Pancito is all time consuming... but we have done a few more micro-adventures since. I REALLY need to get these posted... Will work on at least 1 in ...

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