GPS sees Freedom Challenge rider disqualified
ORGANISERS if the annual Freedom Challenge regret to announce having had to disqualify and exit from the Race to Rhodes a rider for having a GPS with him.
Race manager Meryl Glaser told Wheels just having a GPS is clear violation of Golden Rule #5, which states no GPSes are allowed precisely to make the cycle race from Pietermaritzburg to Rhodes and for some to Cape Town a real challenge. “The race director has to ensure a fair and even contest for all participants and the only way to do so is by having one clear set of rules by which all participants must abide. The rules clearly state that you may not have a GPS,” said the organisers on the blog.
The other issue with the use of GPS is a more recent development, which sees cyclists saving track files and sharing them with other cyclists who then cycle over land without the consent of land owners.
Glaser told Wheels more than half of the Freedom Trail goes through private land and managed conservation areas. Traversing through these areas is governed by specific access agreements between the Freedom Challenge and the affected parties.
She said most of the landowners require notice of any riders and some parts of the trail are subject to seasonal closure or only open for the challenge.
“Instances of trespassing on private land and leaving gates open on farms are becoming more common and this puts strain on the relations between the Freedom Challenge and the landowners, since any cyclist seen on the trail is assumed to be a Freedom Challenge rider,” explained the organisers.
To ensure that drivers do not bend fences or leave gates open, the challenge this year erected many cycle bridges over fences. Casual challenge riders have been departing in small groups for a week, with the professional racers leaving from the City Hall at dawn on June 13. — WR.