Tanqua Kuru take two - mountain bikes now welcome

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The race that proved why South Africa has the world’s best gravel riding terrain. Is back. (Photo: Retroyspective)
The race that proved why South Africa has the world’s best gravel riding terrain. Is back. (Photo: Retroyspective)
  • A gravel race that delivers riders into the vastness of the Tankwa Karoo, is now also open to mountain bikers.
  • The Tanqua Kuru is all about showing the value of adventure riding mindfulness – available in abundance, around the Tankwa Karoo.
  • There is also a shorter option this year, for novice adventure riders. All the quirky trimmings and artistry that have become a signature feature of the event remain unchanged.

The Tankwa Karoo isn’t for everyone. With its lack of greenery and trees, the Tankwa’s sheer vastness and perceived desolation can be intimidating. Especially for city dwellers – who constitute the majority of gravel and adventure riders.

But as organisers proved during the first Tanqua Kuru, this is a place where you can’t hide on the bike. Riding through the true Tankwa Karoo both humbles and inspires. It is adventure cycling therapy, at its best.

Karoo riding
Tanqua Kuru route stops are themed very differently from a stage race. With freshly baked goods, charcuterie, olives, breads, and fresh fruits. (Photo: Retroyspective)

You can ride a shorter version 

Covering 170km of tough gravel riding through one of the world’s most unique and arid environments, the inaugural Tanqua Kuru was a terrific success.

There is the option of shortened stage one for the second edition, covering 55km instead of the entire 110km. Another change is the relaxing of rules governing bike configuration.

Mountain bikers are now welcome to challenge the gravel riders, which could see a significant increase in competition for those podium positions. Although it is a timed event the Tanqua Kuru remains a journey, more than a race, for most participants. It firmly adheres to the foundational values of adventure cycling - the bike as healthy escapism.

Tankwa
The Tanqua Kuru two day route is a lot of this – gravel riding nirvana. (Photo: Retroyspective)

Nothing at all - like a 'normal' cycling event

Beyond the inarguable appeal of riding through one of the world’s truly unique and inspiring wilderness areas, the Tanqua Kuru has a significant mindfulness element.

Using the Tankwa tented camp acts as race headquarters, the atmosphere is unlike anything else on offer within the realm of local cycling events or stage races.

Scheduled for 27-29 May, the Tanqua Kuru is limited to 155 riders. Entries are priced at R5900, including breakfast, lunch and dinner (for two days), comfy tented accommodation with proper bedding, and a handcrafted musette.

Journeying to the Tankwa Karoo might require some effort. But once you are rolling along as part of the Tanqua Kuru gravel road peloton, all sacrifices are forgotten

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