Enjoying the Wolwefontein trails around Darling.
Image by: Jaques Marais.
EVENTS EVENTS EVENTS!
It feels like early Christmas, almost as good as getting your very first bike! The easing of covid restrictions has meant that organized events are back on the calendar! What a win! I suspect that like most things; when it is taken away from you, you realise just how much you value and miss it. Big things like not being able to see family and friends, small (big) things like not having to wear a mask and fun things like EVENTS! We have adapted, we have changed our lifestyles, habits and exercise regimes. But like watching a football or rugby match on tv in an empty stadium this Covid enforced life has wrung hollow… our lives feel like the crowd effects that are played along with the game to portray what is obviously a false sense of normality. We have toed the line and as the uptake of vaccinations, lockdowns and extreme cleanliness has become a way of life so has the downward trend of Covid cases and slowly, very slowly we are seeing things taking on a vestige of normality.
I’m still not sure that I’m happy to see traffic again but I tell you what I was super stoked to see the Absa Cape Epic being run again! The joy of meeting up with mates and seeing familiar riding faces under the gantry of Ride2Nowhere in MacGregor. Training albeit mostly indoors for the Wines2Whales Switchback and feeling butterflies in the lead up to the event! All just beautiful! Oh and hearing the sounds of fans cheering on the Bokke – music to my ears.
The local bicycle industry seems to be flourishing however with all the Covid induced restrictions, a global cycling boom complicated by production pressure - not only from demand but also production stoppages, logistical issues and market priority i.e. bigger markets get products first - has meant that stock on most items has been put under significant pressure. From bikes to chain checking tools, clusters to tyres its hit and miss – and let’s not get started on the price increases. A bicycle service with a new cluster, chain and chainring can easily set you back more than a car service. The end result is sure to be downgrading on components – this has already happened on a number of bike brands in order to attempt to keep prices down. It may also result in more DIY minor servicing, greater care of components, longer times gaps between major services, running components until they are completely blown. Certainly bike finance has to come into play now – most premium bicycles are now either close to or cost more than a decent brand, smaller cc motorbike – without talking e-bikes.
There have been some really encouraging Covid side-effects and one of them has been the growing move to “touring” and slack-packing. Either on your own or with a couple of mates and hitting the road less travelled. Credit card, the slack-packing essentials, minimum kit and of course a trusty steed. Hitting the long, dusty backroads of SA has also led to an ever growing move to Gravel bikes. The road-cyclo-mtb hybrid. Dropbars and thicker wheels, different gearing and faster rides – a definite consideration when in the market for a road bike now days. Seamus Allardice, ex editor of Full Sus has embraced the lifestyle and not only gives us some advice on gear, tips for the road but also shares his last solo ride somewhere out there. Seamus also puts trips together and can often be seen on his socials sharing his love for the outdoors, small dorpies and the adventure lifestyle with others.
See you on the trails (you may not recognize me with my buff on … but wave anyway!)