The Year Of My Bike

In 2017, with­out even try­ing, one ca­sual cy­clist caught stage-race fever. Dave Mose­ley never in­tended to ride all year long; but some­how, the wheels of for­tune sim­ply turned in his favour. IN 2017, MY IN­TEN­TION WAS TO CY­CLE MORE. CY­CLE FOR FUN, TO WORK,

Bicycling (South Africa) - - INSIDE - BY DAVE MOSE­LEY

For cy­clists, the most com­mon New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is ‘ I want to ride more’. One rider made this prom­ise, in­tend­ing to com­mute more reg­u­larly. In­stead, he fin­ished seven of South Africa’s top stage events! He shares his ex­pe­ri­ences from all over the coun­try, and ex­plains why you should do them too.



A five- day tour of the Klein Ka­roo and Over­berg re­gion of the Western Cape, hosted by South Africa’s braaimas­ter – Jan Braai.


I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to par­tic­i­pate in three Tours de Braai in 11 months. I was in­volved in the recce ride in De­cem­ber 2016, then did the first event in May 2017, and the sec­ond in Novem­ber.

May’s ride started in near-per­fect con­di­tions, with 20- odd ex­cited if slightly con­fused par­tic­i­pants.

The start time for each day was 9am; not ear­lier, not later. Jan Braai had in­structed rid­ers that we don’t break­fast in rid­ing gear, and that there is ab­so­lutely no need to be ready for break­fast at 6am. Cue stage-race ro­bots kit­ted up, hel­mets on, and knock­ing on the din­ing room door at 6am. It took a few shakes of the head from Jan to get ev­ery­one on board, but from day two it was smooth sail­ing.

Ev­ery day was a high­light, but the mem­o­rable mo­ments for me in­clude the passes the Tour de Braai trav­els over: Mon­tagu Pass on Day 1 (with your first braai and pinot noir at Herold Wines, just 18km in), and Rooiberg Pass on Day 3 (with a braai, cour­tesy of De Krans Wines, at the top of the pass). On top of that, the 90km ride from Oudt­shoorn to Cal­itz­dorp, in the shadow of the Swart­berg Pass and through the Groen­fontein Val­ley, will in time surely be­come the iconic stage of this event.


May – Trek Crock­ett, with 700x38 tube­less tyres. A very ca­pa­ble bike that han­dled the five days of gravel rid­ing re­ally well. I bat­tled slightly on the rocky down­hills of Rooiberg, but over­all the bike was a fun ride.

Novem­ber – Mom­sen R355, with 700x40 tube­less tyres. A far bet­ter-specced ride than the Crock­ett, and the R355 only weighs in at 9.5kg. The slightly wider tyres felt like a huge step up on the ride, and are prob­a­bly the ideal size for this kind of gravel rid­ing.


Ge­orge to Swellen­dam, via Oudt­shoorn, Cal­itz­dorp, Rooiberg Lodge and Rivers­dale.


If you’ve con­quered ev­ery stage race in South Africa, or need a new chal­lenge that doesn’t in­volve porta-loos and en­ergy gels, then the Tour de Braai is the ride you’ve been look­ing for. The chal­lenge is also to tackle the tour on a gravel bike. Moun­tain bikes are wel­come, but the Tour is squarely po­si­tion­ing it­self as the num­ber- one tour for gravel- grinders.

The rid­ing is doable if you’re rea­son­ably fit, but far more fun if you’re a wellsea­soned cy­clist. The days aren’t ag­gres­sively long, but the gravel roads and night­time ac­tiv­i­ties do even­tu­ally add up to make this a chal­lenge worth train­ing for.


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