Open letter to fellow members
I was prompted to put pen to paper by a picture doing the rounds on social media recently. A picture which inevitably also found it's way onto our various whatsapp chat groups. Yes u all know what I'm refering to - yet another dig at E bikes and why they shouldn't be part of the cycling landscape. I hear the same thing over and over almost on a daily basis - "it's cheating" , "it's only for old people", "they don't belong on the same trails as the rest of us normal bikers". The list goes on.
Cast your minds back 5 to 6 years. Many cyclists including our very own peers and cycling buddies who rode with us then and still do now, scoffed at the idea of the 29inch wheel. "Looks stupid" they said, "will never catch on "they said, "Just another standard created by the cycling industry to make money from us " they said.
Now with the perfect vision of hindsight, 99% of mountain bikes present at any of our group outrides are in fact 29rs! Might I add in my opinion many amoungst us would be better off from a performance and handling perspective on a 27.5 but that's a discussion better left for another day.
Back to E bikes. A few weeks back our store sold one to an elderly gentleman who suffers from Parkinson's disease. He is no longer able to drive, infact battles to walk or even comunicate coherently.
When this individual however got onto an e bike he was completely transformed. After just a few meters on the bike, the uncontrollable shaking had disappeared and he and I could hold a conversation as "normal" as any other. Now I'm no Doctor but I have read articles by experts in the medical profession substatiating the claims that cycling and the use of an e bike in particular has this very effect on most patients suffering from Parkinson's. In my book it's just outright amazing to have witnessed it with my own eyes! We have medical doctors in our club whom I'm sure could shed further light on the subject.
On a personal level id like to share my own story. As I'm sure a few of u are aware, I suffer from epilepsy. I have had this condition since 1986 when I was involved in an accident during my national service stint in the defence force . What u may not know is that the accident has also left me with a condition known as right sided hemiparisis. In essence this means the entire right hand side of my body is 40- 50% weeker than my left, something I have learned to live with and infact embrace as part and parcel of whom I am today. Sport however is a huge physical challenge as my body is totally out of sync with itself. Cycling in particular has proven to be a huge challenge due to the vast difference in symmetry and power output from my left leg as opposed to the right. Nevertheless i believe I hold my own amoungst u on our various and numerous rides together as club mates. At this juncture might I add that every four years my condition has enabled me to qualify for the Paralympics should i wish to participate. My condition is also all on file and verifiable with our very own Dr Mike Smit.
This is not something I've spoken about b4 but felt the time was right now due to the availability of e bikes and how they have impacted on my life. As some of u may know I have had an e bike of my own since Giant launched them a few years back as one of the first manufactures to do so in South Africa and i was most privileged to be included in their then fledgling ambassador program. Since I've been riding one notwithstanding the usual" that's cheating remarks" my cycling experience has been entirely revolutionized. I am now able to complete a ride without the usual after effects of total fatigue , pain and general discomfort usually experienced when I get home and get off my bike! All I can say is thank the Lord for these amazing machines which are enabling me to continue cycling now and hopefully many more years into the future.
FYI E bikes are now being used and ridden by the likes of Nino Schurter, Christoff Sauser and Arian Luthi to name just a few. These elite athletes use them as training tools to compliment and add to their training regimes. Last year Julian Absalon won the innaugreal European E bike championships. The list goes on...
To the naysayers - perhaps the time has come to stop and think for just a split second before u blurt out the inevitable insult about to role off your tongue the next time u come across a cyclist on an E bike. Instead embrace the fact that another individual is able to enjoy this sport we all love and enjoy so much albeit with a bit of electrical assistance...
Yours in cycling
Road cycling safety
Thank-you to all our club members who have positively adopted the use of front and rear lights for all our club road rides (day or night).
FACT: The use of lights during the daylight hours reduces the number of accidents.
Please keep the following in mind when using lights on a bicycle:
1. Set your lights to flash only when the beam is no longer visible on the road ahead.
2. Set your front light to strike the ground at a maximum of 30m ahead.
3. Mount lights less than 1.5m from the ground, helmet mounted lights are not allowed on the road.
4. Rear lights must legally be of a diffuser type, if you have a strong rear light please ensure its focus point is on the ground, I would recommend about 5- 10m behind you.
Adhering to the above recommendations will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your light, without blinding following cyclists, or approaching traffic.
A group ride report:
The A’s and B’s teamed up for a Dards, Airfield, Lion Park, Polly’s ride; however at the top of Foxhill we made the call to turn around due to very thick mist.
The ride was changed to Polly’s, Lion Park, Airfield, Polly’s, hoping for better conditions in that direction.
On the way down little Polly’s we passed the D’s returning due to thick mist.
Nevertheless we pushed on believing it would clear. The mist was relatively thick on the Lion Park road at first, but started to clear by the time we reached the Lion Park. My rear radar detector came in handy to warn us of any passing cars in the mist.
Fortunately the road was very quiet and traffic wasn’t an issue at all.
That was the end of the mist and we were grateful for the cool conditions as we pushed through to the Airfield and back.
A couple of riders turned early at Lion Park due to their recovering from various ailments and another two cut their ride short at Dards.
The remaining 5 riders enjoyed 95km, at 25.5km/h.
In total we burned up 9000kj, and happily replaced 1900 of those with deliciously thick chocolate milkshakes at Steers!
Great ride, thanks everyone.
Tues and Thurs Rides.
Over the next 8 weeks or so, on Tuesday’s, we will be riding Hilly routes. This will be helpful for those doing Maluti or for those, just wanting to be better climbers.
Tues 12 Feb. 4 Hills, Morcom to top, Devilliers, Howick Rd and up QE Park.
Tues 19 Feb Old Howick Rd Hill from VV up to Xways.
Tues 26 Feb Sweetwaters Rd up to Hilton, Down Old Howick, loop.
Tues 5 March Hilton College, up Old Howick Rd, leaving from Athlone Circle.
Thursdays for now, we will be doing the normal Town Route. Later will do some track or some interval’s at Makro.
Saturday 9th February.
This Saturday we going to do a gravel ride on MTB’s. (90km). Leaving from Cascades. Will update details on Whats App.
Thanks to Alec for leading the ride this weekend and Sheila for doing backup.
Alec will be leading more often as we I have joined Absolute motion training plan and have to follow what is given to me and like Sunday where it was a low heart rate for two hours meant I was holding up the group which is not ideal as this split the group leaving the backup car with me to far back for it to make any effect for the group.
Alec is different to me as he leads from the front and is very constant rider and I think if you all stay as a bunch you will benefit from his type of riding.
Last Saturday 4 of us left from steers at about 5:15 on the desert run and saw a lot of wild life weather was just right it was one of my best rides of the year so far ending 41.5kms 742m at easy 20kmh.
This Saturday’s ride will be from Woodburn Steers at 05:00. The route is Foxhill, Dards, Vans Loop returning on the Dards and down Fox ending at Steers we are looking for someone to do backup.
7 Of us started at Steers at 5.30am on Sunday morning
Alan, Gavin, Ollie, Ian and Zaheer Turned off and did Dards route at Umlaas road.
Myself and Geoff paced each other nicely to end of tar past old runway and back to Pmb
Chris did well on MTB And did the whole ride on his own. Well done Chris
A big thank you to Sheila for backup and Tracey keeping her company.
82Kms 3Hrs 14 25.2 Average.
I have been observing the response to the awareness that the club has been creating, with regards to front and rear lights. This applies to the D Group, I’m not sure about the other groups.
Firstly, thanks to those who have responded positively. However, I still notice members arriving for weekday and Saturday rides with lights that aren’t working properly and run out of battery life halfway through our Saturday morning rides. I would like to suggest that the reason for this is that front and rear lights are being charged over the weekend, and the lights are then being used for about 3 hours with the Tuesday and Thursday rides and then halfway through the Saturday ride, the batteries are flat.
Most of the lights being used at the moment have a battery life of 4.5 – 5 hours. I would like to suggest that you charge both batteries after each ride.
Please remember that without an adequately visible light, you’re not only endangering yourself, but also those in the group with you.
Thursday 31st: 22 of us left VV at 4:50 and headed to the carpark in front of Builders’ Warehouse, where I held a briefing as I had promised the group we’d do something different. It’s quite difficult to get a circuit without robots, where we can ride fast, safely.
So, as an experiment, we started at the robots opposite Seattle at the garage, and went up the hill and over the bridge, past the Mall and turned left into Chase Valley Road, down Town Bush, left at the slip road, round the circle at Builders Warehouse and returning to the slip road opposite the garage. Using the slip roads helps us to avoid the robots. It’s a route of 2.8kms and the plan was to do 10 loops, 28kms in total.
Average speed varied from 26.6, going down to the slower riders. 8 of us worked hard and kept our heartrates up, managing up to 38kms in some places. From all accounts it was enjoyed by all and they’ve asked for more.
Saturday 2nd Feb: 9 of us left the Jockey Training Centre, with weather looking a bit dodgy. When we arrived at the Lion park loop, the mist started closing in and it became very dangerous to ride as the road was also extremely wet. We came out of the mist just before the Lion Park where we turned and headed back through the mist. We decided to return to the Training Centre as the mist was too dangerous on the R103 to ride in so, instead of doing about 90kms, we did 32kms. A big thank you to Eddie for doing backup, which was very necessary in that mist.
Tuesday 5th: The advertised ride was from the bottom of Hesketh up to Adams and would be sprints. A whole bunch of us met at the robots at McCarthy/Chase Valley in order to ride through town together and warm up our legs. When we arrived at Hesketh, there was a huge group of D riders, numbering 22, with Alvin and Ollie joining us, taking the number to 24.
We did one warm up ride to Adams and then 5 sprints from the bottom to Adams. After the 5th one we rode to the top and turned at Murray Road, back down to the garage. I must compliment the group on the effort they put in, would also like to welcome Spha (his first ride with the D group), and it was good to see AK back on his bike as well.
Saturday 9th: Ride will start at the Jockey Training Centre, 5a.m. and the intention is to do 100kms – we are running out of time to do long rides in preparation for the Argus. We will also be needing a backup driver.
Ride safe, stay alert, stay alive,
STAY WIDER OF THE RIDER PROTEST RIDES PE AND DURBAN
The PPA will be hosting a protest ride in PE on Saturday 16 Feb at 7h00 starting from Wayne Pheiffer Cycles in Summerstrand. Please join us in support of our campaign. We will be handing over a letter with recommendations to improve the safety of all cyclists in PE.
We will also host a memorial/protest ride in remembrance of Richard Da Silva, Jarred Dwyer and more recently Craig Diedericks who have died tragically in accidents along the M4 in Durban. The ride takes place on Sunday 24 February at 6h00 starting from the Bike & Bean on Snell Parade Durban. There is no entry fee and we will once again deliver a letter with recommendations to the local authorities in Durban. Everyone is welcome to join us.
MTB Ride report for 2 Feb 19.
February already. Ye gods. And it ain't gonna slow down, neither.
Despite Friday having something of a damp finish, much like a politicians speech, Saturday dawned dry. Misty, to be sure, but dry nonetheless. After a quick CAT scan, a ride was deemed to be on.
Joining Team Rowland was Liz Botha, Docmike, Lloyd, New Mike, DisaPierre, Marian, Daan, Simon F, and the newly non-T-shirted Gert, clearly taking Andre’s rather rude comments to heart.
The recently returned Dogbite Dave was on hand to take the D’s, said group including his lovely wife Bev, Team Horsely, Jayden, newbies Richard and Erik, Long Lost Larry, and one or two others that I have omitted due to advancing age. Mine, not theirs.
Both groups headed into Cedara to see what was rideable. Quite a lot, as it turned out, although one needed to be careful. Pierre wasted no time in testing this thesis, losing his front wheel on a slippery fallen tree, and demonstrating his involuntary dismount skills. With only light injuries. After dusting him off and remounting him, we continued into the forest, taking every singletrack opportunity we could find. All of it was okay, but slippery. My apologies to Marian, who is not partial to wet roots at the best of times, but did a great job nonetheless. We did the Brett’s Law / Kim’s Way / Phil’s Nana complex, Dead Dog, Andre’s ST, and then set course for Pack of Dogs. Liz was next to go down, followed by Docmike, both with no lasting damage.
There is road maintenance being done on the jeeptrack past Nurses Dam, with large items of noisy yellow equipment. This must have scared away all the nurses, because we didn’t see any, and we didn’t even have Justin with us. Docmike was unwise enough to make some comment to Ali about the performance of the Welsh rugby team, which provoked a strong and extended reaction. I spent a little more time at the front of the pack than usual.
Pack of Dogs is doable, take care of the fallen sticks, and the brambles around the bridge at the end. Almost everyone had some bramble-related injury. We turned for home here, routing via Naartjie hill, and the contour path via Wall of Fame ST. Very sticky. On the last little section past the back of the nursery, a stick leapt into my derailleur, twisting it into new and interesting shapes. This also stopped it from working. Docmike, anxious to make amends for upsetting my wife, helped me bend it back enough to get home.
Which we did. Coffee is good for almost anything, as this proved true as we caught-up with the D’s, and tried not to mention the rugby.
Garmin Stats: 32km’s, 2h12 riding time, 610m of climbing, all at an average speed of 14,6km/h.