E-bikes welcome at the Great Zuurberg Trek

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The Hayterdale trail network near Zuurberg, Addo Village, Eastern Cape, makes for great mountain biking (Photo: Jacques Marais Media)
The Hayterdale trail network near Zuurberg, Addo Village, Eastern Cape, makes for great mountain biking (Photo: Jacques Marais Media)
  • E-bikes are great for those riders recovering from injury, or restarting their fitness journey
  • One of the Eastern Cape's best trail networks, is scheduled to host an e-bike specific mountain bike race
  • The Zuurberg area is ideal to test the traction and stability of your e-bike

E-bikes have made mountain biking more accessible than ever, but the competition and events aspect remains unclear.

Although South Africa’s once burgeoning mountain bike events calendar is struggling to navigate lockdown, the issue of combining riders on e-bikes into traditional events has been complicated.

Riders are often frustrated and disheartened when passed on a stage race, by an e-biker. What is tolerated and encouraged on training rides and trail networks, does not necessarily harmonise in a race environment.

E-bikes allow riders of modest fitness, to conquer inspiring mountain trails (Photo: Jacques Marais Media)

Making a place for e-bikers

Despite some segments of the mountain bike community being indifferent toward e-bikes, there is an argument that more riders, of all abilities and ages, make for a better overall riding community.

At the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour, no less than 250 e-bikes were entered. The potential for e-bike events is inarguable and now one of  South Africa’s best trail environments is welcoming pedal-assisted mountain bikers.

The Great Zuurberg Trek, scheduled for 10-12 September, will be configured primarily as an e-bike event. And it has the kind of gradient and terrain, to make the best of e-bike benefits.

If you want to ride your e-bike in wild and beautiful Eastern Cape terrain, this is the event (Photo: Jacques Marais Media)

A treasure of trails and terrain

Three days of racing will see e-bikers loop some of the finest Eastern Cape wilderness with two 60km stages and a final day comprising 50km of distance. Those numbers are slightly shorter than a conventional mountain bike stage race, with battery endurance being a consideration for organisers.

Even the mildest e-bikes on sale in South Africa, have generous suspension travel and roll larger tyres than conventional stage racing mountain bikes. These attributes make e-bikes more capable of descending loose and technical singletrack, of which there will be much on offer at the Zuurberg Trek.

Where the South African mountain bike events calendar has traditionally prioritized brutal climbs and fatiguing distances, with Great Zuurberg Trek will allow e-bike riders to spend a weekend discovering exactly how rewarding their bikes are to ride.

To deliver flexibility for teammates who might be of very divergent fitness levels, riders on normal mountain bikes will be allowed.

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