RR: Cape Town SA

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Mark, Feb 27, 2003.

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  1. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Hi. I've been lurking for a while now (probably a year or so) with only the very occasional post.
    Some of your posts have motivated me over this time, others have been informative and many have made
    me chuckle.

    I thought maybe I should start contributing too.

    Had a fun ride last night.

    The usual riding buddies, Warren (the careful conservative one), Herman (the young apprentice) and
    I met up at six in Tokai Forest for our usual ride. Ordinarily a fairly uneventful hour and a half
    "up-and-down". - Up the contouring jeep track for an hour or so and down the steep and windy
    single track.

    I rode my wife's little hardtail bike as mine is in the shop having the rockshox rear shock fixed
    after it blew up on me last Friday (I have read the reviews and realise this is pretty common) We
    rode up for about fifty minutes to the start of a single-track switch back section that we call
    "Giant Hairpins". Warren opted out of doing the "giant hairpins" section as he was in a rush to get
    back down and home. Herman and I rode down the radical switchback stuff through (what used to be)
    forest. Very narrow and very steep off the side. Eight or nine 180° switchbacks with a total drop of
    about 300 meters. Fell off a few times. Nothing serious just on the more sandy, washed away bits of
    the trail. This area of the forest has recently been logged out and the resulting soil wash-off has
    caused parts of the trail to erode quite badly. I did notice that there have been attempts to stop
    this erosion with logs and stuff like that. Herman, however, emerged all bloodied and shaken up at
    the bottom babbling stuff about the trail being so narrow and so steep and bikes flying and body
    parts being dragged rudely across spear like branches, flinty rocks and rusty nails (okay, I put in
    that bit about the nails).

    A quick slap and a "pull yourself together man" calmed him down. We regrouped and decided to try and
    beat Warren to the car park. Rode like maniacs along the jeep track towards the last stretch of
    single track. This is a fairly fast routey 4-ish km stretch with a couple of jumps and berms. Herman
    went first and disappeared in a cloud of red dust. I went after and almost instantly got a puncture
    on a rootey drop off. (those xc tyres are too skinny for me) Replaced tube. Fiddled around with the
    little presta/schraeder conversion thingy on my pump. Lost it in the dirt. Found it again and
    carried on down. Just as I was setting off a guy came past me and asked if I had a pump as his
    girlfriend had a flat and was stuck further up without a pump. I lent him mine. Forgot to warn him
    about the silly presta/schraeder thingy. We arranged to meet up at the bottom.

    Got to the bottom expecting to find Herman, but he was nowhere. Waited about 20 minutes and was
    starting to get a bit worried when he came limping along with a flat tyre, a bleeding body and a
    broken rear derailear. It turns out he had mistimed a jump and taken a bit of a spill. I must have
    ridden past him, but didn't notice. He says he was walking down the jeep track to the right of the
    single track we had been on.

    I waited a while for the pump borrower to arrive, which he did, with pump, but sans girlfriend. By
    this time it was dark. He said they hadn't been able to fix the puncture, but he was taking a spare
    tube back up to her. "Good luck. Ride safely.", I said as I drove away and made a mental note to
    always carry a spare tube.

    All in all a fun evening ride.
     
    Tags:


  2. Shaun Rimmer

    Shaun Rimmer Guest

    Mark <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Hi. I've been lurking for a while now (probably a year or so) with only
    the
    > very occasional post. Some of your posts have motivated me over this time, others have been
    > informative and many have made me chuckle.
    >
    > I thought maybe I should start contributing too.

    <word surgery performed>

    > I waited a while for the pump borrower to arrive, which he did, with pump, but sans girlfriend. By
    > this time it was dark. He said they hadn't been
    able
    > to fix the puncture, but he was taking a spare tube back up to her. "Good luck. Ride safely.", I
    > said as I drove away and made a mental note
    to
    > always carry a spare tube.
    >
    > All in all a fun evening ride.

    Heheheheh - 'bloody' hell!

    Cheers Mark ',;~}

    Shaun aRe
     
  3. ----- Original Message ----- From: Mark <[email protected]> Newsgroups:
    alt.mountain-bike Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 10:10 AM Subject: RR: Cape Town SA

    > Hi. I've been lurking for a while now (probably a year or so) with only
    the
    > very occasional post. Some of your posts have motivated me over this time, others have been
    > informative and many have made me chuckle.
    >
    > I thought maybe I should start contributing too.

    <snip good RR>

    Hi Mark - Hoping you might be able to help. It turns out I'll be visiting Cape Town (or pretty close
    so I'm led to believe) next Easter as my best friend is getting married out there (I'm in the UK).
    Blasted long way to go *just* for a wedding so I got to thinking about maybe taking a few days extra
    and doing some biking while I'm out there.

    Thing is we hear (mainly in the popular press) all sorts of horror stories about the lawlessness in
    SA and about how dangerous it is for tourists, especially off the beaten track.

    I have a few questions if you wouldn't mind;

    What I'm wondering is is there a big mtb scene out there? How dangerous is it out on the trails? Are
    there any mtb tour companies I could go to / through (I'll have limited time and finding guides is
    always the best bet
    IME). Is it easy to hire quality bikes out there or do I really need to bring my own.

    Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

    Cheers Russ
     
  4. "Mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    <snip Tokai stuff>

    Good stuff.

    When I was in SA a year ago I had planned on riding there (baboons still up there?) but was
    unable to rent a bike because it was early season and all of the bikes that were built were
    already let out.

    Beautiful country.

    For the other guy that was asking about crime, etc. as a tourist I had no problems in the major
    metro areas or back in the bush. Like any country, there are areas that you don't want to go at
    night, or without a local guide.

    And you don't want to ride around in the bush without a guide because there is hungry shit that
    will eat you.
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Russell Pinder <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > ----- Original Message ----- From: Mark <[email protected]> Newsgroups:
    > alt.mountain-bike Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 10:10 AM Subject: RR: Cape Town SA
    >
    >
    > > Hi. I've been lurking for a while now (probably a year or so) with only
    > the
    > > very occasional post. Some of your posts have motivated me over this time, others have been
    > > informative and many have made me chuckle.
    > >
    > > I thought maybe I should start contributing too.
    >
    > <snip good RR>
    >
    > Hi Mark - Hoping you might be able to help. It turns out I'll be visiting Cape Town (or pretty
    > close so I'm led to believe) next Easter as my best friend is getting married out there (I'm in
    > the UK). Blasted long way to
    go
    > *just* for a wedding so I got to thinking about maybe taking a few days extra and doing some
    > biking while I'm out there.
    >
    > Thing is we hear (mainly in the popular press) all sorts of horror stories about the lawlessness
    > in SA and about how dangerous it is for tourists, especially off the beaten track.
    >
    > I have a few questions if you wouldn't mind;
    >
    > What I'm wondering is is there a big mtb scene out there? How dangerous is it out on the trails?
    > Are there any mtb tour companies I could go to / through (I'll have limited time and finding
    > guides is always the best bet
    > IME). Is it easy to hire quality bikes out there or do I really need to bring my own.
    >
    > Any help you can give would be much appreciated.
    >
    > Cheers Russ
    >
    > Hi Russ and others.

    Regarding your questions:

    The MTB scene is pretty big. Outdoor stuff generally is pretty popular. There are more "busy" places
    to ride and then there are more remote or quiet places. (same as anywhere I'm sure).

    About the "danger on the trails". I suppose the only danger would be the same as any country. Rocks,
    branches and the hard ground generally. I can't imagine coming across any potentially dangerous
    criminals up a mountain on a mountain bike trail.

    There are, however, parts of Cape Town that should probably be avoided, but then as a tourist you
    would probably be very unlikely to find yourself visiting these places.

    Cape Town is a very sprawled out city. The actual city centre is pretty small and compact, but the
    suburbs sprawl for probably 75 square kilometers. The good thing is that this sprawl occurs around
    a whole range of mountains, most of which have been declared National Park. There are plenty of
    places to ride.

    The place in my RR is one of the more popular areas with designated "bike only" single track. It's a
    "pay to play" area and one could simply turn up, pay the fee, get a map and ride.

    I'm not sure about the bike tour companies or bike hire. If I were you I would bring my own bike. I
    know of one company (called "The Baz Bus" - I think) that does bike tours to some of the more scenic
    parts of Cape Town. They seem to do a drop off type thing where they take a bus load of people with
    a huge trailor of bikes to an area then let you ride to some other place where they pick you up.
    (Ananzi.co.za is a good SA search engine. MAybe you can find some stuff there)

    Where are you actually visiting Russ ?
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Guest

    P e t e F a g e r l i n <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > <snip Tokai stuff>
    >
    > Good stuff.
    >
    > When I was in SA a year ago I had planned on riding there (baboons still
    up
    > there?) but was unable to rent a bike because it was early season and all of the bikes that were
    > built were already let out.
    >
    > Beautiful country.
    >
    > For the other guy that was asking about crime, etc. as a tourist I had no problems in the major
    > metro areas or back in the bush. Like any country, there are areas that you don't want to go at
    > night, or without a local guide.
    >
    > And you don't want to ride around in the bush without a guide because
    there
    > is hungry shit that will eat you.
    >
    > The baboons are still there. We frequently see whole troops of them. It's
    pretty freaky riding past twenty or so primates with teeth as long as your finger. They are often
    all over the trails. I always have this weird thought that I shouldn't make eye contact as it may be
    construed as aggression. They run pretty fast too. I'm not sure if you would be able to outrun them
    on a bike. I think generally they are pretty used to humans though.
     
  7. "Mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > Russell Pinder <rus[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >
    > > Hi Mark - Hoping you might be able to help. It turns out I'll be
    visiting
    > > Cape Town (or pretty close so I'm led to believe) next Easter as my best friend is getting
    > > married out there (I'm in the UK). Blasted long way to
    > go
    > > *just* for a wedding so I got to thinking about maybe taking a few days extra and doing some
    > > biking while I'm out there.
    > >
    > > Thing is we hear (mainly in the popular press) all sorts of horror
    stories
    > > about the lawlessness in SA and about how dangerous it is for tourists, especially off the
    > > beaten track.
    > >
    > > I have a few questions if you wouldn't mind;
    > >
    > > What I'm wondering is is there a big mtb scene out there? How dangerous
    is
    > > it out on the trails? Are there any mtb tour companies I could go to / through (I'll have
    > > limited time and finding guides is always the best
    bet
    > > IME). Is it easy to hire quality bikes out there or do I really need to bring my own.
    > >
    > > Any help you can give would be much appreciated.
    > >
    > > Cheers Russ
    > >
    > > Hi Russ and others.
    >
    > Regarding your questions:
    >
    > The MTB scene is pretty big. Outdoor stuff generally is pretty popular. There are more "busy"
    > places to ride and then there are more remote or
    quiet
    > places. (same as anywhere I'm sure).
    >
    > About the "danger on the trails". I suppose the only danger would be the same as any country.
    > Rocks, branches and the hard ground generally. I
    can't
    > imagine coming across any potentially dangerous criminals up a mountain on
    a
    > mountain bike trail.
    >
    > There are, however, parts of Cape Town that should probably be avoided,
    but
    > then as a tourist you would probably be very unlikely to find yourself visiting these places.
    >
    > Cape Town is a very sprawled out city. The actual city centre is pretty small and compact, but the
    > suburbs sprawl for probably 75 square
    kilometers.
    > The good thing is that this sprawl occurs around a whole range of
    mountains,
    > most of which have been declared National Park. There are plenty of places to ride.
    >
    > The place in my RR is one of the more popular areas with designated "bike only" single track. It's
    > a "pay to play" area and one could simply turn
    up,
    > pay the fee, get a map and ride.
    >
    > I'm not sure about the bike tour companies or bike hire. If I were you I would bring my own bike.
    > I know of one company (called "The Baz Bus" - I think) that does bike tours to some of the more
    > scenic parts of Cape Town. They seem to do a drop off type thing where they take a bus load of
    > people with a huge trailor of bikes to an area then let you ride to some other place where they
    > pick you up. (Ananzi.co.za is a good SA search engine. MAybe you can find some stuff there)
    >
    > Where are you actually visiting Russ ?

    Suppose I'd better find out where it actually is but I was pretty much expecting to leave wherever
    the wedding is and move to the trails for a few days with a hire car.

    Thanks for the info - sounds pretty encouraging, I'll do a hunt round and then may come back to you
    with some questions if that's OK

    Russ
     
  8. "Russell Pinder" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    > Thing is we hear (mainly in the popular press) all sorts of horror stories about the lawlessness
    > in SA and about how dangerous it is for tourists, especially off the beaten track.

    I and my wife were in Cape Town a year ago, and had a great time. If you're not an idiot or an
    asshole, you'll be fine.

    >
    > Is it easy to hire quality bikes out there or do I really need to bring my own.

    We rented from this company:

    http://cybercapetown.com/tours/Downhill/mountainb.php

    They were great. Our guide Barry would do up a hand-rolled cigarette while waiting for the group to
    catch up, then roll off and kick our asses. The guy is an animal. We did Table Mountain and Cape
    Point. We had a third day scheduled at Tokai, but I spent the day puking and shaking off a 104
    degree fever instead. The perils of travel. My advice is to stay away from over easy eggs ;-).

    CC
     
  9. "Corvus Corvax" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Russell Pinder" <[email protected]> wrote
    > >
    > > Thing is we hear (mainly in the popular press) all sorts of horror
    stories
    > > about the lawlessness in SA and about how dangerous it is for tourists, especially off the
    > > beaten track.
    >
    > I and my wife were in Cape Town a year ago, and had a great time. If you're not an idiot or an
    > asshole, you'll be fine.
    >
    > >
    > > Is it easy to hire quality bikes out there or do I really need to bring my own.
    >
    > We rented from this company:
    >
    > http://cybercapetown.com/tours/Downhill/mountainb.php
    >
    > They were great. Our guide Barry would do up a hand-rolled cigarette while waiting for the group
    > to catch up, then roll off and kick our asses. The guy is an animal. We did Table Mountain and
    > Cape Point. We had a third day scheduled at Tokai, but I spent the day puking and shaking off a
    > 104 degree fever instead. The perils of travel. My advice is to stay away from over easy eggs ;-).

    Thanks for that

    Russ
     
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