WITH GREAT RISK COMES GREAT REWARD – AND NO REWARD IS GREATER THAN THE THRILL OF RIDING.
I’D CARBO-LOADED, PUMPED MY TYRES, SLITHERED INTO MY LYCRA AND WAS MAKING MY WAY TO THE START OF THIS YEAR’S CAPE TOWN CYCLE TOUR when my cellphone pinged with a text. Ah, I thought – someone sending me goodluck vibes.
I had a score to settle with the race. 2016’s Cycle Tour had been one to forget – well, for me, anyway. I was in the start chute when a cowboy in Lycra barrelled into me, sending me crashing to the ground. That was the end of my race, and I hadn’t even made it to the timing mat.
This year I was determined not only to get to the start, but to get to the finish. However, the Cape Doctor was having none of it: the text message that I (and 34 999 other riders) received was that due to extreme wind, the Cycle Tour was being cancelled, for the first time in 40 years. Thirty- five thousand riders, all carbo’d up and nowhere to go!
Nine days later, the Cape Epic also pulled a first: shortening one of its stages by 40 kays, because of extreme heat. And two months after that, extreme rain forced the Sani2C to scrap the second leg of its MTB stage race.
Thanks to climate change, cycling is becoming an extreme sport.
The organisers of all three races cited ‘ rider safety’ as the reason for their decision.
That’s the thing about cycling – anything can happen, and it often does. One minute you’re riding along happily, and the next you’re on the ground, clutching a shattered collarbone.
Every time we get on a bike, we take risks. But risktaking is a matter of letting your fears go, and bitchslapping your demons so you can reap the rewards.
In this issue we investigate the art of crashing; because if you ride a mountain bike, you
will crash. That’s just the way it is. Your rewards for this risk are a lifetime of good health ( give or take a broken bone or three), endless thrills, and the pure joy of being on a bike. So turn to page 48, and embrace the crash.
We also assembled a crack team of bike testers to rate five top new- generation dualsuspension bikes. They put these speed machines through rigorous testing, and thoroughly sussed out (see what I did there?) their performance. Turn to page 78 at your own risk – after reading about our Dual- Suspension ShootOut, you’ll want to reward yourself with the topscoring weapon.
Risk-taking is a matter of bitchslapping your demons so you can reap the rewards.