Mountain biking takes a top place

MTB TRANSFORMED: MTB has radically transformed from being a marginal adventure activity to being a bona fide mainstream sport.

Over the past three decades, mountain biking (MTB) has radically transformed itself from being a marginal adventure activity into a bona fide mainstream sport that is popular with a wide range of South Africans.

In the late 80s and early 90s when demand for off-road bikes and gear first emerged, MTB was commonly pegged as ‘just a fad’. However, it wasn’t long before scores of road cyclists started trying it out. Many ‘crossed over’ to enjoy the more spirited, technical riding experience. Many others were drawn to the sport of cycling for the first time by the sheer allure of being able to ride bikes off-road through sensational, natural landscapes.

Given South Africa’s bountiful and diverse outdoor environments, as well as the excellent weather, it is probably not surprising that MTB has exploded in the country. While for young and old, singles and families, it may just be a great healthy past time, MTB has developed and become a significant sport in the country.

Today, the South African MTB calendar is packed with diverse events across a wide range of locations that draw elite professional riders, as well as amateur enthusiasts, from around the world.

With more than 400 mountain biking trails, some of which are hailed to be the best in the world, it’s no wonder that South Africa has become a sought after mountain bike destination.

In 2018, Stellenbosch will again proudly host a leg of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

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Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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