Page 29 - Cemair SkyNews Aug/Sep 2017
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FEATURE / ANDY SULLIVAN

                                             he sport of Mountain Biking (MTB)   Cost: Dual suspension bikes in the ‘mid’
                                             is one of the fastest growing leisure   range will start at around R30k and
                                             and fitness activities currently   depending on models go up to around R70k.
                                      Texciting South Africans. The         A few good models to look at are the Scott
 ON Y'ER BIKE                          the old to the young, the fit to the not so fit,     R600 to R3k for the pedals, and from around
                                                                            Spark range, and the Merida 96 range.
                                       attraction is that it welcomes everyone from
                                                                               Shoes and pedals range from around
                                       families and friends. For many it combines
                                       fitness and adventure with fresh air and fun.
                                                                            R990 to R5k for shoes.
 Pro racer Kevin Evans of Evans        Getting Started: The beginner        Intermediate MTB Trails: Again, there are
                                                                            many to choose from around the country,
 Racing gives CemAir Skynews           Equipment: A good place to start is with your   but here in Plett we suggest raising the
                                                                            challenge by taking on the Harkerville
                                       bike. Your priority should be comfort and
 some hints, tips and suggestions      security so I would recommend a 29’ hardtail   green route or the Cairnbrogie Trail Park on
                                                                            the Airport Road. Wherever you ride, most
                                       bike. The wider wheels give you the stability
                                       and reassurance when you take on your first
                                                                            mapped trails will clearly mark the level of
 on how to up your MTB game,           ride. Great brands that you could look at are   expertise suggested and will have different
                                       Merda Big Nine, Scott Aspect, or Scale. Take
                                                                            options. The key thing to pushing yourself
 whether you're a beginner,            your time when deciding, try a few bikes   is taking on more varied terrains and longer
                                                                            distances.
                                       and go with the one that feels the most
 intermediate or expert.               comfortable.                         Other suggestions: Start paying more

                                          In addition, you will need the basic
                                       kit including a good helmet, riding shorts   attention to your bike setup, especially to
                                       and gloves. Clipless shoes and pedals are   your suspension setup and tire pressure.
                                       something you should consider but are not   These make a huge difference to your riding,
                                       essential for the purposes of getting started.   including comfort and control. Get as much
                                       However, definitely consider these once you   info and advice from your local bike shop or
                                       have a few kilometres under your belt and   the retailer that you use to get a better idea
                                       you feel more confident.             of what you should be looking for.
                                       Cost: It really does depend on your budget.   Let’s look at racing: Expert
                                       The 29’ hardtail bikes range from R8k to
                                       R20k, but remember to focus on comfort   Equipment: If racing is the next step, then a
                                       when making your decision. Likewise, all   good dual suspension bike in good working
                                       the accessories you need range in price   condition is essential. Make sure that your
                                       depending on what you would like to spend.   bike is serviced and fine-tuned prior to the
                                                                            event. If this is your first race, take your bike
                                       Beginner MTB Trails: There are so many MTB   to your local shop and they will be able to
                                       routes, trails and courses and most of them   help you out with this.
                                       are easy to find by searching on Google. We
                                       are based in Plettenberg Bay and advise   Cost:  Top end dual suspension bikes start in
                                       ‘starters’ to look at simple trails, like the   the R80k price bracket and can head north
                                       Harkerville Forests which has mapped out   of R100k quite quickly.
                                       trails for all levels. There you can start with   Races to get started:  A good place to start is
                                       the yellow or blue routes, about 12 - 14 kms.
 Photo courtesy of Dr. Evil Classic    the route nearest you before you get started.  vary and range from the popular Sabie
                                       Most routes around South Africa cater for
                                                                            with a one-day race and there are plenty of
                                       everyone, so just check the information on
                                                                            these on the MTB Calendar. The standards
                                                                            Marathon and the Knysna Oyster Festival,
                                       Other Suggestions: Try find some friends
                                                                            right the way through to ultra endurance
                                       who ride. Riding with others who know the
                                                                            24hr races like Trans Baviaans or the 36ONE
                                       sport will help you to fast track your skills
                                                                            MTB Challenge.
                                       and improve your riding style. It will also help

                                                                               Once you become more accustomed
                                       you to push your own fitness levels.
                                                                            to these, you can then look at three-day
                                                                            stage races which include some of Kevin's
                                       Now you are on your way:
                                                                            favorites: the Dr. Evil Classic or the KAP
                                       Intermediate
                                                                            sani2c Adventure. Entries to the latter can be
                                                                            hard to come by.
                                       Equipment: As you're now looking at getting
                                       better times and further distance from your   Other Suggestions: Riders at this level would
                                       MTB outings, this is a really good time to   be quick to offer you their advice, so never be
                                       look to upgrade your bike. That next step   scared to ask.
                                       should include looking to a dual suspension
                                       bike, which will give you increased traction,
                                       control and comfort.
                                          At this stage you might already be using
                                       clipless pedals and shoes, but if you are not,
                                       then this would be a great time to start!
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