- Mountain bikes are a great way to train in the bustle of Soweto.
- There is a vibrant cycling scene, with all calibre of riders.
- And of course, all good Soweto rides, must include Vilakazi Street.
Soweto might not be the first location that comes to mind when you think of great South African singletrack mountain biking, but that doesn’t mean it lacks an all-terrain riding scene.
As part of a campaign to raise awareness regarding the diversity of domestic riding locations, Signal bikes created the Show us Your Local series. For the Soweto chapter of its adventure, the crew followed Mpho Nxumalo around.
The 37-year-old warehouse operator lives in Phiri, Soweto, and bought his first mountain bike two years ago. Affordability was a prerequisite for Mpho, but he didn’t want to suffer a needlessly compromised cycling experience, by buying a 'cheap' bike, as opposed to an inexpensive one.
He settled on a Signal S930. It features a 6061-series aluminium frame, SR Suntour air-sprung fork with 100mm of suspension travel and a lockout switch.
As with any predominantly urban riding location in South Africa, traffic in Soweto can be unpredictable. Fortunately, Mpho can confidently engage Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on his Signal S930, to securely stop and avoid misfortune.
Feeling better and experiencing more
Mpho’s health and fitness have improved remarkably since becoming an all-terrain rider and he uses his Signal to explore all of Soweto.
With lockdown having limited travelling ambitious for all riders in 2020, Mpho might have an opportunity to fulfil a significant cycling goal this year: an ascent of the Tokai mast, one of Cape Town’s iconic climbs.
Something that all riders share, is that freewheeling sense of community, anchored by a common bicycle obsession. The Signal crew discovered that Soweto’s riding scene might be uniquely localised, but it shares much of the active contentment found anywhere else - including a fondness of good coffee.
Mpumi Mtintso has been a visionary bicycle entrepreneur and cycling empowerment activist in Soweto. He has a deep understanding of how to link the areas valued history, with a selection of rewarding bicycle tours and gave the Signal crew some direction.
For a cycling experience enriched with meaningful cultural reference, Mpho’s Soweto training rides are unrivalled. A Buccaneering dash past the home of Orlando Pirates before navigating the revered Vilakazi precinct. Where else can you ride a bike from a legendary football club’s home to a street that produced two Nobel laureates.