While he may originally hail from Durban, Ron Rutland lives the life most travellers aspire to. Coming from what he describes as an “unworldly upbringing”, he always enjoyed stories of travelling, yet likely never imagined having his passport covered in as many entry and exit stamps and visas as he does today. With his enthusiastic and down-to-earth approach to life, it’s hard not getting caught up in the contagious excitement of meeting the man who cycled through Africa by himself.
Ron was educated at Westville, and went onto Pietermaritzburg University. After completing his degree he wasn’t sure what to do next, and his “gap year” turned into a decade of playing rugby in Brisbane and Hong Kong, getting into banking in London, starting a business in Thailand all the while fitting in as much travelling as possible throughout it all.
After travelling extensively around Asia and living in Thailand, he decided to try his hand at a new venture, namely Cape Town 10s, created together with Bob Skinstad and Robbie Fleck. This eventually brought Ron back to his homeland, and he moved to the Mother City for the first time. As anyone who lives in or has ever visited Cape Town can attest to, the environment caters to all outdoorsy activities. As a great way to explore the city, Ron began trail running and mountain biking, whilst still playing rugby and continuing with charity work. During this time he read a lot about people who have done bike trips across the world. He decided to take a break from rugby (even though the end goal of the trip was to ultimately watch the Rugby World Cup in London) and go on an adventure.
It wasn’t a charity ride, but rather Ron’s African Adventure, a way to experience and properly explore the continent he was born on. His bike was named after a close friend Lettie who was battling breast cancer at the time, and served as a constant reminder of his health, vitality and mobility. The trip was about getting back to the simplicity of life and not being tied down by materialistic things. Once the trip was financed, everything Ron owned was on the bike. This idea is echoed in his philosophy of life, approaching everything with a down-to-earth attitude and starting from scratch every time he moves. He therefore likes to keep his wardrobe to a minimum.