THE CY­CLING IS­SUE

Land Rover AFRICA Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - An­ton Pre­to­rius

There are many types of cy­clists. Those with two-tone tans and bi­cy­cles parked in their living rooms are your regular cy­cling nerds. But those with mud stains on their faces and bike racks on their Dis­cos are a some­what dif­fer­ent breed. In­stead of be­ing herded into start­ing pens like cat­tle in an abat­toir, they pre­fer ven­tur­ing off beaten tracks and onto twee-spoors (where only Landys dare go) and feel­ing like they’re the only cy­clists left on the planet.

Cy­cling routes in Africa, and South Africa in par­tic­u­lar, rank among the most scenic in the world. Whether you’re look­ing to test your tech­ni­cal abil­i­ties, or look­ing to marvel in the beauty and seren­ity of a moun­tain pass or a na­tional park, Africa has some­thing to of­fer ev­ery adventure cy­clist. Land Rover own­ers and cy­clists have a lot in com­mon. And why wouldn’t they? Of­ten, you’ll find both ven­tur­ing off the beaten track with adventure cours­ing through their veins, look­ing for places where few dare to go. It’s no sur­prise that more and more Land Rover own­ers in South Africa (and Africa) are tak­ing up cy­cling. Over the last decade, the num­ber of South Africans who have taken up cy­cling as a sport have in­creased twofold. Whether it’s for en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons, sav­ing fuel when com­mut­ing to work or sim­ply to stay fit and com­pete in sport races, thou­sands are im­mers­ing them­selves in the sport. Cy­cling is ar­guably the coun­try’s fastest­grow­ing sport. In re­cent years, it has evolved from a leisure ac­tiv­ity to a bil­lion rand busi­ness, sur­pass­ing golf as the new cor­po­rate sport of choice. Some bikes can fetch the same eye­wa­ter­ing prices as a new ve­hi­cle, with some cy­clists known to spend up to R180 000 on a bi­cy­cle and all its ac­ces­sories. To­day, South Africa boasts some of the largest cy­cling races in the world. Dur­ing March, thou­sands of peo­ple from across the globe ar­rive in Cape Town to par­tic­i­pate in the Cape Town Cy­cle Tour (for­merly known as the Cape Ar­gus). Capped at 40 000 en­tries, this event is con­sid­ered the largest in­di­vid­u­ally timed race in the world. Some de­scribe South Africa, and Cape Town in par­tic­u­lar, as the moun­tain bik­ing (MTB) mecca, with around 750 MTB races held na­tion­wide each year. The Absa Cape Epic, an eight-day stage race, is the most tele­vised MTB race of all time. Nearly 1 200 cy­clists from across the globe com­pete in this ar­du­ous event de­scribed as the ‘Tour de France of moun­tain bike rac­ing’. This year, Jaguar Land Rover have been an­nounced as one of the main spon­sors. Co­in­ci­dence? I think not. In this fea­ture, you’ll find all the need-to-know on adventure cy­cling. Our read­ers share their top trails and routes and why they love cy­cling so much. We also look at the tools and equip­ment that can bet­ter your cy­cling ex­pe­ri­ence.

Life is like rid­ing a bi­cy­cle. In or­der to keep bal­ance, you must keep mov­ing.

– Al­bert Ein­stein

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