GRINDROD BANK UMNGAZI PONDO PEDAL
A three- day mountain- bike ride, through unspoilt Wild Coast terrain. Featuring goat tracks, dramatic ocean vistas, mangrove swamps and weed- smoking locals, the Pondo Pedal is the most unique MTB race on the local calendar.
LAST YEAR’S EVENT
I received an invite to this ride completely out of the blue. Up until that point, I’d never heard of it. To get there from Cape Town is a helluva schlep – I drove to Grahamstown, spent the night there, then carried on to Umngazi – but after riding the event, I can confirm that the effort is worth it. The route includes goat track with actual goats on it, district roads, hand- built singletrack, and jaw- dropping ocean views that pop out of nowhere. I have to claim this as my ride of the year – mainly thanks to my partner and me coming second overall, and winning the third and final stage!
Cannondale Flash – in hindsight, a dual- sus would have been better suited to the rough terrain.
Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, Port St Johns
WHY DO IT?
It’s wild and untamed; and the distances are short enough that if you can handle yourself on a bike, you’ll be back in the pub by 10am, enjoying your first round of G& Ts for the day.
The beauty of this event is that it’s a cloverleaf format from start to finish. Each day begins and ends at the exquisite Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa resort – with accommodation included for the final day, too. That means there’s no manic rushing to pack and leave when you finish; just a slow descent into boozy giddiness, as you sip fine wine or gin on the banks of the Umngazi River. The Day 3 beachfront finish is also jolly good fun.