Bike puts fun back into cycling

2019-03-21 06:01
= Carlien Jooste and Neill Kemp, founder and owner of E-Bike Adventures, on their electric bikes at the beautiful Intle Game Lodge situated on the old Loerie Road.                              Photos:MONIQUE BASSON

= Carlien Jooste and Neill Kemp, founder and owner of E-Bike Adventures, on their electric bikes at the beautiful Intle Game Lodge situated on the old Loerie Road. Photos:MONIQUE BASSON

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YELLOW . . . red . . . or white?

Definitely white.

With the colour of the safety helmet out of the way, pre-ride training of the electric-bike (e-bike) can begin: back brakes are on the left, while the front brakes and gears are on the right. Just like those of a mountain bike.

The only difference - the e-bike has several technical components such as an electric motor, making the ride easier, as well as phone apps and heart rate monitors.

To increase or decrease the speed of the motor, press the small black button on the right.

Easy.

Or at least until you encounter your first rocky downhill or steep uphill - especially if you have not ridden a bicycle in over 20 years. And are completely unfit.

Pedal it out

Then it was time to get onto the sturdy e-bike - perfectly adjusted for my height - with avid cyclists and owner of E-Bike Adventures, Neill Kemp.

After a few wobbly practice rounds in the parking lot and some nervous screeches, we took the narrow dirt tracks of the breathtaking Intle Game Lodge situated off the old Loerie Road.

Neill smiled, “Keep your eyes peeled for the common and the more unexpected wildlife and indigenous flora along the way.

“Here you can get close to a wide variety of buck grazing, drink in the grunt and mumbles of wildebeest in the distance and spot a giraffe - all while the bark of a zebra and the chatter of birds fill the air.”

While trying to stay on my side of the narrow dirt track as we were making our way to the look-out point some 3km from the lodge, I asked Neill, who always had a passion for cycling, about the start of his business, “When my father bought an e-bike, he was really excited that he would now be able to ride with my brother and me because the bicycle would enable him to keep up with us.

“The inspiration behind E-Bike Adventures is to get more people riding and experiencing the beautiful trails in the area. Without the effort that is involved in mountain biking.

“We are now opening up the opportunity for everyone. Even if you are not an avid cyclist, you will still be able to enjoy the activity as it is suitable for all fitness levels.

“However, you must at least have some cycling experience.

“Children are also more than welcome as long as they are taller than 1.5m and can ride a bike.”

As we approach a rocky downhill, he said: “The secret is to go fast. The slower you ride, the higher the risk of falling off the bicycle.”

So, fast I went - but not even close to the maximum 35km/h that the e-bike can reach on a straight.

Look-out point

One more corner, and the look-out point - complete with a wooden deck for romantic picnics and wedding ceremonies - lies before us: offering a spectacular sight as you look down onto the panoramic views of the mountains, Gamtoos River and farms.

After a quick rest and something to drink, it was time to turn back - with a firm push to conquer the first, and small, uphill.

The road back was a bit more challenging with all the uphills.

At the third and fourth uphill I had to get off the bike and push it to the top - but only because I am unfit (completely unfit).

Approaching the lodge, Neill lent a helping hand as I caught my breath for the next stretch of road.

Helmet off and with my feet safely back on the ground, it was time for a gourmet lunch at the signature Intle restaurant with beautiful views and a splash pool to cool down.

More information

For more information, contact Neill Kemp at 082 310 4480. Alternativley, visit www.ebikeadventuressa.co.za.

Intle Game Lodge Route

Starting and ending at the Intle Boutique Hotel, the route has a selection of game: giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and kudu. The route is 12km (1 to 2 hours) with 360m climbing. The trip includes lunch at the signature Intle restaurant.

  • Technical rating: 2/5

Tsitsikamma Route

The Storms River Village mountain biking route is 25km (2 to 3 hours) with about 500m of climbing. The route follows the old national road through the Storms River Pass. The 5km descent to the river passes through indigenous forest and offers wonderful views of the gorge.

  • Technical rating: 2/5

Crossways Route

Starting and ending at Crossways Farm Village just outside Jeffreys Bay, the trail is 28km (2 to 3 hours) and has 600m of climbing. It has some tar and gravel roads, jeep tracks and single tracks with some steep downhills uphills.

  • Technical rating: 3/5
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