Mountain Bike Magazine - Summer 2021

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Mountain Bike Magazine

Mention the greater Kruger National Park to anyone and they get weak knees at the prospect of real soul food & time out in the remote African bush.

Ask anyone who loves to ride mountain bikes why and they'll tell you it's the love of exploring open spaces with fresh air in your face.

Blend these two powerful emotions and you serve up a unique, visceral elixir of joy, excitement and sensory bliss.

I probably sound drunk. Well in truth I was - drunk on endorphins, nervous energy and pure exhilaration. How does one describe the sensory overload of 3 days traversing the remotest depths of a Big 5 game reserve, by bicycle?

The smells, the sights and the sounds of an almost mythical, largely untouched space. Each sense inhaled aboard your bike, following fresh animal spoor on hoof & paw carved animal paths, trodden over time, among a small, intimate group of like minded people.

In today's mad world we have increasingly rare opportunities to feel truly alive, outside and connected to planet earth. This makes it very difficult to match what we enjoyed at the pioneering Ride for Conservation.

Truth be told, if like Simba, I'd been trampled flat by a wildebeest herd, it would have been the perfect way to leave this earthly incarnation. Fortunately our entertaining and knowledgeable guides kept us safe and informed, but free to explore like the fat kid in Charlie's chocolate factory.

For me, a bush and MTB lover, hailing from slaapstad, this experience was simply delightful. I live too far from Kruger, especially the remote Northern region of Pafuri to visit more than once every 10 years. During the ride I often had to pinch myself to be sure that I wasn't dreaming. Riding and walking through a forest of bright yellow-green fever trees teaming with spoonbills, fish eagles and storks. Staring out over endless mopani trees, punctuated by more baobabs than I ever imagined could exist in 1 space, many over 1000 years old! Playing beer blikkie touch rugby, tummies full & slightly drunk on the vast expansive plains of the Limpopo river, with distant echoes of elephant herds. Night drives under the thick, sparkling river milky way stars, stopping to look into the startled reflective eyes of a rare Pel's fishing owl or a civet cat peering down from the trees. Almost all of this by bicycle - let that sink in a while. This is what Africa looked, smelled, felt and sounded like, once upon a time.

Enjoy our 13 page cover story and insane images captured by global photographic legend Martin Bissig who jumped through all kinds of covid protocol travel hoops to join us and support the cause in the bush he's grown to love on trips to SA

If that's not enough to justify the R80 (forgo one burger and slaptjips you don't need as much as we need your support ???? then just know you have another 140 large format pages of deep, photo driven bed or toilet side reading to keep you riding through the holidays.

We do a deep dive into the Epic Series from Cape Epic underway right now to the very different Wines2Whales reverse route and new races in Wales and Croatia. Test great locally available wheels on a brand new flow trail. Interview wildly talented Zandri Strydom. Get to know Matt Beers. We explore the Garden Route with Zane Schmahl. Go deep inside the Olympics with Saffa announcer Max Cluer. Meet Loana Lecomte, test a Norco revolver, visit the coolest bike riding places like Lebanon, St Helena and Argentina. And much more - 150 pages of uncut mtb stoke!

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