THE CYCLING ISSUE
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