Joy Ride


Bicycling (South Africa) - - (DEPUTY) ED’S LETTER - Jono deputy edi­tor @ JONATHANANCER

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.

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