Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10 Years of Epic Riding

Just incase you haven't noticed the ABSA Cape Epic is rolling through the Western Cape for the 10th time. Its an amazing story of a race that started as an idea in mountain biker Kevin Vermaak's head. Now it is a world class event attracting the best riders in the world year after year.
Stage 1 of this years epic proved once again that this is not an easy race and you have to earn your right to cross the finish line in Lourensford. There was high drama in the openning stage with many of the favorites suffering at the hands of the harsh african conditions. The most spectacular was Mennen getting hit by a buck ending his race, others suffered in the sand and with punctures.
Our favorites are Sauser and Kulhavy riding for Burry Stander Songo. Follow the race live at www.cape-epic.com
Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Friday, January 04, 2013

Burry Stander 1987 - 2013

In unbelievable news that can only be described as the worst nightmare Burry Stander was killed in a road accident on Thursday 3 January 2013 in Shelly Beach Kwa-Zulu Natal.
At 25 years old he was one of the best mountain bikers in the world, and he was just getting started. However it is not his success, ability and potential that make is loss so tragic but rather his humility, the fact that he was just one of us. He readily accepted the challenge of being a pioneer and carrying the hopes of a whole nation and being a role model. He was incredibly mature is this sense. He proved to all of us that we can be the best in the world, that we have what it takes. He proved that you can be a South African, live in South Africa and be a world champion. You don't need an attitude and don't need to be "based" in Europe. The irony of course is that he was killed in South Africa in his home town by a motor vehicle.
I had only met Burry a few times but regarded him as a friend, everyone who followed or knew him felt that way because that's the type of guy that he was. The emotion that has surfaced by everyone following his death is testament the quality of his character. The loss of any life is tragic, especially a cyclist hit by a car and especially Burry Stander. Burry a was not only a person, son, brother, husband and cyclist, he was a hero who touched and inspired so many people that his loss is enormous because it is profoundly felt by thousands of people together with his family and friends.
That inspiration that he provided can live on in many ways by those who felt it. Most significantly it should serve as a grim reminder of how unsafe our roads are and hopefully be a catalyst and inspiration to bring action to make our roads safer. Personally I will carry his memory and use it as strength when I ride, when I feel the pedal stroke pain and think that I can't anymore I'll remind myself that Burry would do anything to feel that pain because that is what he lived for. 
Check out the Burry's Bicycles facebook page for ongoing action to make cycling safer.
Checkout the iol news story that sums ups this tragic event.

Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Riding into 2013

So 2012 is winding down, holidays are here and after next week it will pretty much be the new years. Its the best time to ride, sun comes up early, its warm, holidays and you have time on your hands. 

If you have entered for the big races in the beginning of next year then this is perfect training time to clock some proper miles. If you are taking it easy its the ideal time to hit some trails new and old, discover some new routes.

2013 promises to be another huge year for mountain biking in SA. ABSA Cape Epic has its 10th edition, an amazing achievement and August sees MTB world champs taking place in Pietermaritzburg KZN. Plus there are all the other races on the calendar that will keep you honest and on your bike.

We'll take a break for a couple of weeks so see you on the other side.

Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Shop more, Ride more

It is the silly season, time to spend all your hard earned cash. What would be even more silly would be to waste time and loose out on valuable riding time in the process. So our answer is to make it short and sweet, get your stuff online and then get out on your bike.

At our bookshop you will find the best MTB books available so you can learn how to train properly, fix your bike and learn some essential MTB skills. Our pick of the bunch are the TOP MTB trails book to take you to some new places during the holidays and the Joe Friel Paleo Diet for athletes to get you lean and strong for 2013.

The other essential tool for the holiday riding is a GPS so that you can explore some new trails and make sure you find your way back again. The Garmin Edge 800 bike GPS will be ideal for this.

If you need bike stuff then checkout the online stores on our shops page or find your local bike shop and see what is new.

Share your tips and experiences at our 
blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks to all of you mountain bikers

Together we have reached another milestone in our quest to share the love of mountain biking. Our Facebook page has 999 likes so the next one will be 1000. That is 1000 more people who are happy to share the love of mountain biking. Thanks to all of you for being out there, committing and spreading the word.

We created our site back in 2004/2005 just as mountain biking was gathering momentum. Since then we have been sharing info, helping out and most of all having a blast riding our bikes with more and more people in more and more locations at more and more events. From humble beginnings our site mtbonline.co.za now services more than 13000 people per month who view more than 1000 pages a day from our site. The most popular pages are our shops page, races, mountain bikes for sale and MTB buyers guide.

Over the years we also added our average guy blog, newsletter and our facebook page to provide more regular info and as additional platforms to share more.

So if you have benefited from our info and like what we do why not share the MTB love and invite a friend, because the more the merrier.

Share your tips and experiences at our 
blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Thursday, November 15, 2012

MTB Trail Bucket list

If you take a look at all the different MTB trail options available in South Africa you have to ask yourself where have you ridden and where would you still like to ride? Most of us just head out to our old favorite but there are many other options and new trails coming up all the time. Now days there are many different groups of people involved in trail building and the results are evident with many quality marked trails around the country. 

We have just updated our trail listing with some links to trails in south of Johannesburg and in Karkloof KZN. One of the greatest pleasures in mountain biking is riding a new trail that you have never ridden so spoil yourself and break some new ground. Start that MTB trail bucket list and experience the variety that we have on our doorstep.

Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Thursday, November 08, 2012

An Epic Fail

The fairy tale mountain bike film An Epic Tale turned into an epic fail this week as a small bomb hit South African mountain biking with David George from the Nedbank 360Life team testing positive for EPO use in August. Unbelievable and a huge disappointment to everyone but not complete surprise to some pros. David came from road cycling and had spent time in Europe where he had been warned about suspected EPO use before. 

Twitter was full of scathing comments immediately after the Cyclingsa news broke. One of the first was Robbie Hunter ": 15 year time bomb just went bang....". Christoph Sauser also didn't hold back tweeting @Sauserwind "wish that guy never turned to mtb". Downhiller Gred Minnaar had this to say @gregminnaar "I don't even know why I'm disappointed in David George's positive test, it was only a matter of time.... You can only dodge so many bullets". But my favorite tweet was from Amarider @meurant  "At IMBA summit doping was 10sec joke. We then spent 3 days talking trails and advocacy. Doping affects those with commercial interests..."

Nedbank pulled their sponsorship of the team leaving innocent riders Kevin Evans and James Reid out in the cold. Many say they should punish only the guilty and leave the innocent?

Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Friday, November 02, 2012

10 Years Untamed 2013 ABSA Cape Epic Route

Ten years ago Kevin Vermaak had an idea to put on an 8 day mountain bike stage race across South Africa, some believed and some thought he was crazy. Little did they know that 10 years later it would put South Africa on the mountain biking map, bring the worlds best riders to our shores year after year and start a mountain bike stage racing trend.

This week the tenth edition of the ABSA Cape Epic Route for 2013 was reveled. The anticipation and excitement of the route is almost as big as the event itself, this year they have not disappointed with some virgin routes and great stage locations. Merendal, Citrusdal, Saronsberg in Tulbach, Wellington, Stellenbosch and Lourensford are the stage locations for 2013. Looking at the distances there is only one big stage of 145km otherwise distances are around 100km or less. Don't for a second think that this means that it is an easy route. The Epic is always hard so shorter distances usually mean rough terrain, technical riding and steep climbs. But you can make up your own mind by checking out the route video, with 7000 views in just 2 days it is clear that there is great excitement about the 2013 event..

Highlights of the race will be the prologue at Merendal with great views and awesome singletrack, the remoteness of the Cederberg, and then more world class singletrack in Wellington and Stellenbosch. By now riders will have started their training for the start in March next year as a good 4 to 5 months of training are needed to if you want to cross the finish line after 8 days of riding. For some training tips, program and guidance checkout the Epic training guide.

Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to start mountain biking FAQ

Over the last few months we have been answering a few common questions that keep popping up from newcomers to mountain biking. All of these tips and answers can now be found on The How to Start Mountain Biking FAQ - Newbies Guide page at MTBOnline.co.za

The questions answered there are
I am starting mountain biking, what bike must I buy? 
I have a mountain bike and want to start riding, do I need to join a club? 
How can I get into riding if I don't want to join a club? 
Where can I go and ride that is safe and not too difficult?
What to wear on your first cycling date.
How do you know what to expect when you enter an MTB race?
How can I learn to do maintenance on my bike?

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to expect when you enter an MTB race?

Mountain biking is so much fun because of the variety of terrain and discovering the unexpected on a ride. If you are going out on a trail ride then this is exactly what you are after. But if you are going to ride in a race then the more you know the better, otherwise you may just not make it over that finish line.

On a road ride all you need to know is the distance and the expected amount of climbing and you will be able to pace yourself properly using some of your training rides as a benchmark. With a mountain bike race you will also need to consider the type of terrain. If you are on district roads, farm roads and smooth track then its going to mean an "easier" ride. However if the route has rocky tracks, tight singletrack, technical descents, loose climbs and steep up hills then you can be sure of a tough ride taking longer than you would expect. At the start it helps if you start with riders of similar ability and speed so that you can pace yourself. Once you are into the ride you can assess terrain first hand and  review your speed and pace.

The route profile will also tell you where the major climbs are and how steep they are. This is vital info that you must use to pace your race and conserve your energy especially if you are expecting big climbs towards the end when you will be tired. Race routes will often be harder or at least seem harder than your training routes. That is because they also cater to fitter faster riders than you and you will be riding faster than normal so it becomes harder. So find out as much as you can but still go into it expecting the unexpected because being over confident can lead to real disappointment.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

MTB'rs take note - How to ride a road bike properly

If you happen to find yourself on a road bike for what ever reason we will forgive you as long as you ride like this  guy

Share your tips and experiences at our blog or leaving a comment on MTBOnline Facebook

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Which bike computer, gps, app do you use?

A couple of years ago cycling was simple, all you needed was your bike and off you went. You would go as far as you felt comfortable and as fast as you could handle. I remember getting my first speedo for my Raleigh bike, a cable driven bar mounted speedometer with a needle just like a car, for the first time I could see how fast I was going and how far I had gone. That was the beginning.......

Then along came a electronic bike computer, small accurate and packed with features. Next was the heart rate monitor that gave you even more performance data. Then came the GPS, even more data, now you could navigate and track your routes. Today we also have power meters, some more data to keep us informed and make our rides interesting.

The internet and mobile devices introduced connectivity so now you can get mobile devices that can do all of these things, measure, track, calculate and record and you can access it centrally off the internet. But it still makes it difficult to workout what device, system and manufacturer you should go with. It all comes down to priorities.

If you want serious performance analysis and training information then go with a dedicated heart rate or power measurement system. If you want to navigate, track and measure while out riding then go with one of the GPS bike computers. Lastly if you want a bit of everything with little fuss and don't need packed features in either then go for one of the mobile apps than run off your mobile device.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

More world class MTB action in KZN

This past weekend was the Hilton Dirt Fest and it sure did live up to its name. The previous weeks Hill to Hill in KZN was literally a wash out but the dirt fest was just plain dirty. Once again I was blown away by the awesome riding conditions and trails in KZN. The trails in Hilton were varied and endless with almost no district road and plenty of single track and forest trails. With the bulk of the riders coming from Gauteng and riders in the Western Cape claiming the Utopia of mountain biking the riders in KZN just seem to get on with it quietly and confidently. If you haven't already spent time on KZN MTB trails then you better make a plan because you are missing out. 

Single Speed World Champs SSWC12 this weekend in Winterton. More beers less gears is how this bunch rolls. If you are a nutter or want to see some nutters then you need to check this out. Follow the action on twitter @sswc_2012

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Its Bike Showtime!

Its bike show month with Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany just ended and Interbike in Las Vegas just starting up. Both shows showcase the latest in bicycle developments from commuter bikes all the way across to serious downhill racing rigs. Both shows are mainly aimed at the industry but also open to the public for the last day or two. Besides the halls and halls of exhibits they also have the ever popular bike demo days where you can ride and compare the latest 2013 model ranges.

The trends at the both shows this year seem to be the continued change and battle for wheel sizes in mountain bikes with many manufacturers releasing 650B or 27.5 inch bikes to fit in between the traditional 26inch size and the big 29inch wheels. Fox also released the 27.5 inch sid shock versions. Lights also continue to develop at a rapid rate with LED technology allowing smaller higher powered lights with lower power consumption, a great improvement over those old 5W clunkers with bottle sized batteries.

Electronics also continue to develop with Shimano showing off electronic hubs for commuter bikes and Fox displaying their electronic controls for shocks that allow the front and rear shock to communicate.  More at Eurobike and Interbike.


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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Listen to your body

Effective and efficient training has as much to do with following a good training program as it does with listening to your body and taking it easy. I was reminded of this fact last week while trying to do an interval session. After a couple of weeks off following some flu and a niggling cold I was keen to put in some hard efforts to get back up to speed on my now wobbly winter program. After a good warm up and into the third interval I found the going tough and literally gasping for air at the end of the interval. First thought was just ignore how I feel and press on, this is a hard training session after all. But on second thoughts I conceded that maybe this was not a good idea and I should rather tone it down, which is what I did despite feeling down at not being able to complete the intervals.

A week later I was feeling a lot better and did the very same interval exercise. This time I breezed through all 10 intervals and felt great. Thinking back to a week ago the penny dropped that I had made the right decision last week by listening to my body. By doing so, I had not lost out on some training but had in fact allowed my body to rest and recover allowing me to put in a good training effort a week later. Valuable lesson learned.


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