A Fat Bike Challenge for the Garden Route

Calling all Mountain Bikers! Have you ever taken a ride on the beach?

Fat Biking in a Marine Protected Area, Goukamma NR (pic by Pascal Dobrautz)

Have you ever wanted to cycle in a Marine Protected Area? Well, this Easter, during Sedgefield’s Slow Festival (14- 16 April), you can enter the Garden Route Fat Bike Challenge and explore jeep tracks across vegetated fossil dunes and ride along some of the most spectacular sections of beach in the Garden Route.

“To have a cycling event again during the Slow Festival has been a long time coming,” said Mark Dixon, race organiser. “And this year we are excited as AMD Odyssey will be organising an inaugural Fat Bike race.”

Starting from the Slow Festival hub at the Village Green in Sedgefield, the route will take cyclists into the beautiful Goukamma Nature Reserve to the east of Sedgefield. Rarely accessed by the public, cyclists will ride to the centre of the reserve along single and jeep track, along ancient dune systems, steep and flat sections, giving spectacular panoramic views of the ocean before dropping down a thrilling descent to ‘Bischoff’s Picnic Site’ onto the coastline for a fast 9km beach stretch alongside ancient fossil dunes towards Kingfisher Creek (yes the event time does coincide with low tide), or as it is more commonly known, the Sedgefield Lagoon Mouth, to finish back at the Village Green.

While the relatively short route of 30km may seem easy, there will be a few surprises to make this a memorable event; such as sections of the beach which have been washed away where competitors will have the added adventure of negotiating their way on foot across a field of boulders for a few hundred meters.

Why Fat Bikes? Simply due to the growing popularity of this form of mountain bike coupled with the super wide tyres that handle the sandy tracks and the beaches. “Fat Bikes aren’t as easy to ride as they look” says Dixon. “They are great for a relaxed slow paced ride, but when you want you build up speed, they can give you a solid workout due to the extra resistance from the wider tyres. Yet it is these wide tyres that make the route possible as they allow the bikes to float across the soft sand without doing any damage that could result in erosion.”

The event will be open to those who don’t have fat bikes too- normal mountain bikes with lowered tyre pressure will be fine.

For more race details and how to enter visit the Slow Festival website (www.slowfestival.co.za), www.amdodyssey.co.za or call Mark for more information on 082 213 5931.

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