GPS sees Free­dom Chal­lenge rider dis­qual­i­fied

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING -

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.

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