Preserving the mountain bike soils of Kilimanjaro

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Africa’s highest mountain is a natural amphitheatre for riding. You can help make it even better. (Photo: Josue Fernandez)
Africa’s highest mountain is a natural amphitheatre for riding. You can help make it even better. (Photo: Josue Fernandez)
  • Mountains and healthy soil structures make for sustainable mountain bike trails.
  • Soil stewardship is mutually beneficial for mountain bikers and rural farmers, who need help in Tanzania.
  • You can help empower small farmers and build great Tanzanian trails, with the incentive of winning a very rare Specialized Enduro bike.

Mountain bikers understand the value of soil management better than most. Poorly built trails quickly go to ruin and trigger horrible erosion.

For African mountain bikers and trail builders, the issue is even more severe, having to contend with frequent drought and a very short soft soil rainy season, where rehabilitation can be done.

The plight of rural African subsistence farmers requires little explanation to experienced mountain bikers and trail builders on the second-largest continent. It costs a lot of money to build sustainable trails, often funded by privileged riding communities nearby, who pay for the use of all that pristine single-track.

Farmers in rural African don't have the same patronage. Tanzania contains Africa's highest mountain, but despite Kilimanjaro's majesty and its enormous potential for mountain biking, soil stewardship in the region has suffered.

Mountains and healthy soil structures make for sus
Mountains and healthy soil structures make for sustainable mountain bike trails. (Photo: Josue Fernandez)
You can assist in empowering small farmers and bui
You can assist in empowering small farmers and building great Tanzanian trails. (Photo: Josue Fernandez)

Building trails and training better farmers

Red Knot Racing organises Tanzania's best mountain bike events. Its owner, Brett Harrison, is passionate about improving soil quality by empowering Tanzanian subsistence farmers with superior agricultural knowledge.

The Red Knot Racing Development initiative has already delivered some remarkable results, with farmers delivering 700% harvest yield increases in only four years, after improving their growth and soil management.

With a harmonised soil managed system, mountain biking in the west Kilimanjaro region can finally start realising its vast potential. In preparation for the Kilimanjaro trails festival in February, mountain bikers keen on donating to the rather worthy cause of soil management and cattle grazing education can win a very rare mountain bike.

A raffle has been arranged to support Red Knot Racing's agri-education initiative and Kilimanjaro trail building. If you are a South African mountain biker and think a Kilimanjaro trail expansion sounds good (it does), the bike being raffled is a limited edition Specialized Enduro 29er.

 Win a limited edition Specialized Enduro 29er
Win a limited edition Specialized Enduro 29er. (Photo: Specialized)

ALSO READ: This Specialized mountain bike delivers affordable performance

A rare bike – of ability and purpose

Discerning followers of Specialized will notice this raffle prize is not the latest 2021 model year Enduro, with its 170mm rear suspension travel and portal linkage. The raffle bike is one of fewer than 15 Soil Searching Enduro bikes.

Unlike the Specialized Enduro you can buy from your local dealer, these Soil Searching versions were never for sale. They featured unique graphics and were distributed to select ambassadors globally, who do exceptional trail advocacy and construction work.

Specialized is one of the big four global cycling frame brands. Although the American company markets a terrific diversity of bike models and derivatives in the local market, its sheer latitude of product means that you hardly ever encounter a truly unique Specialized bike specification. This raffle eligible Enduro 29er is just that bike: a veritably rare Specialized.

If you are the kind of rider who cares about trails (obviously) and African agricultural empowerment (as you should), the raffle tickets are priced at $5 each. That donation could see you rolling down your local gravity trail on a carbon-fibre Specialized Enduro with true provenance and proven suspension by Öhlins and Fox.

Even if you don't win this rarest of Specialized Enduro mountain bikes, your raffle ticket will have supported half a day's training for a Tanzanian farmer and built 5m of new single-track mountain bike trail.

And like all true mountain bikers know: trail karma, is a thing.

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