Writing from a Volcanic MTB Paradise

I am writing from 1 500 meters above sea level which isn’t high for you guys on the reef, but the amazing part is that we are in the middle of the Indian Ocean, on the slopes of an active volcano on the insanely unique island of Reunion. We are here as part of an invited group to recce the MTB routes and opportunities for MTB and adventure tourism as Saffers. The trip has been incredible to date with two rides under the belt and two more to come. Look out for a full feature in the next issue.

Congrats to our new SA Champs who were victorious at the recent event held in Stellenbosch.  A well organised event with good crowd support. It was great to hear good feedback from all that took part and supported. I watched large portions of it on live streaming and besides the shocking attempt at commentary it was fantastic to be able to see most, if not all the action.

Massive congratulations to SA’s most unrecognised sportsman and ambassador, both for the sport of mountain biking and for the country: Greg Minnaar. Greg has taken two victories on the UCI downhill circuit this year and was edged out of taking the season title after crashing at Val di Sole this last weekend, thereby handing Aaron Gwinn the honours after Gwinny took the victory. Greg currently holds the record for the most wins ever on the UCI World Cut circuit recently edging past Steve Peat’s record. An unbelievable performance by undoubtedly the smoothest rider on the circuit.

Finally I would like to appeal to the Table Mountain Parks Board to make a sensible, and what would be a well-received, decision to give mountain bikers alternative options to ride on the mountain. There are enough routes that can be opened as a temporary measure that will allow us MTBers the chance to get off-road without compromising other users of the mountain or damaging the terrain. We are not talking about cutting tracks or encroaching on sensitive areas, but a temporary compromise that will give us alternatives to Tokai and what appears to be a very long rehabilitation process after the devastating fires – I am thinking of shared jeep tracks and old walking paths that are virtually unused. These exist and with positive will, should offer temporary solutions.

We are fast approaching spring and the release of all the new bikes as well as the beginning of the summer stage race season – a great time to test a new bike so why not come and join us on 17 October for our Bike Test Day at Delheim? Book your place soon as entries are limited!

See you on the trails

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Competition Winner

Congratulations to Katherine McIver of Pinetown, you have won a Camelbak K.U.D.U.™ 18 hydration pack courtesy of Cape Cycle Systems. We hope it keeps you both hydrated and safe on the trails for years to come.

Sus the Editor’s Review: Saris Bike Rack – What a great rack!

I set off to the Houw Hoek MTB tour with my new Saris Thelma 3 bike rack firmly attached to my vehicle. It comfortably handled three bikes albeit my 29er and the two kids’ 20″ bikes.  All the bikes nestle snuggly into the unique wheel trays that cup the wheels holding the bikes firmly in place and keeping them from rubbing against each other. The frame is heavy (18kg) and really solid, so I don’t see a lady easily hitching the rack to the car on her own. It comes with a nice backboard fitted with good lights and licence plate holder. The wheel cups are adjustable and will take all size wheels. They also fold down completely making storing it more practical. There are some considerations: you will need to get an adapter for the tail-light jack as it’s not our standard fitting – my reverse lights still don’t work. Unless you remove the handlebars of the centre bike you will not fit on three bikes.  And there are a number of SUVs where the exhaust pipe sits directly in line with the locking handle which will result in a burnt rubber handle – I had my exhaust diverted for a minimal fee and no more problems (this is a problem that will affect most bike racks on these types of cars).

It is really handy to be able to get into the boot with the bikes on the rack and the Saris can do this; problem is that the weight of the rack combined with the bikes may damage the back board as the entire weight sits on it – I wasn’t prepared to take a chance. I loved the ease of loading the bikes, the ratchet straps are superb and the wheel cups are genius.

The Saris Euro Freedom carries two bikes and is a lot easier to assemble than the Thelma. It is fairly compact and at 15kg is still a very sturdy unit, but is a lot easier to hitch. I really liked the simplicity and yet, well thought-out design of this rack. It was easy to load the bikes, they were secure, and the frames never touched. The centre upright has two moveable brackets that have the same ratchet straps as the adjustable wheel cradles that ensure your bikes are completely secure. I really liked this rack but it has the same issues with the light jack and handle. It also tilts but with only the two bikes is not a problem.

Both Saris racks are well priced and are exactly what the market needs: a good bike carrier that you don’t have to take a bond out for!

The Saris Euro Freedom 2 is currently on sale for R4 155, while the Saris Euro Thelma 3 is on sale for R5 595, directly from the distributors’ website: www.bicyclepower.co.za.

Eds review

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