Mountain Biking in the desert

I’m finally back to proper mountain biking levels again. Since moving up to Namibia my riding has been fairly limited, originally due to injury, then just pure laziness because of the cold, but that all over now and damn it feels good to be back in the saddle.

I took my bike in last week for a major service, replaced brake disc, new chain and cables. The biggest change though was a new set of tyres. In the front I got Specialized Ground Control 2.3, at the back Specialized Fast trak Control 2.0. All I can say is wow, what a difference a decent set of tyres make. The thicker tyre at the front provides the smooth stable ride you need on the gravel/sand terrain that Namibia has to offer, while the Fast Trak tyre at the back gives you all the Grip you would ever need. Thanks to these new tyres and the service, I’ve fallen in love with riding again.

Over the years I’ve had to change my riding style based on the terrain, Namibia is no different. I started riding as a kid purely for transportation to school and friends. When we moved out to the farm it became more a recreational farm road style. After a few years in Cape Town I got into trail riding. Contermanskloof, Meerendal, Majik Forest. All the exhilarating single track routes with hectic climbs and roller coaster descents. Namibia however is a different beast.

As I mentioned earlier, the terrain is mostly gravel and sand. There section that you could call single track along the Swakop River. It has a few tricky bits of drops and climbs, mostly made harder by the occasional sand patch. Once on the long roads, it takes a change of riding. You are constantly pedalling, there is no coasting on these roads. You need to find your gear ratio( for me it’s 2-7) and just keep pedalling, just keep pedalling. You quickly rack up the km’s, I ended up doing 50 km’s.

Yes it’s not as exciting a a single track downhill trail, but it offers something different. how often can you say you the only person in a 5km radius? You get that while riding here. You experience a sense of silence that you simply don’t get in SA, unless go deep into the northern Cape or Loftus. If you suffer from Agoraphobia( fear of open spaces), this is not for you.

Desert Mountain biking-Pano1Desert Mountain biking-Pano1

Not a person in sight, and not a single cloud in the sky. That’s how to get away from the hustle & bustle of the city. Can’t wait to get out there again.