Read of the Week

On Your Bike

Chris and Tim Whitfield


Review: Karen Watkins

Mountain biking is possibly the fastest growing sport in the country, if not the world.

And whether you are an urban cyclist with a bambi-basket and no gears or a lycra-clad lunatic sliding down gravel roads on your supertight gluts, On Your Bike has something for everyone.

Seasoned mountain bike riders Chris and Tim Whitfield will help you turn your wheelie big dreams into wheeality. So much so that you could be planning your next holiday around one of the cool trails or race events and survive them.

Subtitled Tips & trails for MTB riders, the slimline book is packed with information from a section on the history of mountain biking and advice on everything to do with the sport, to equipment and safety and developing your off-road skills, mountain bike lingo and fashion – yes fashion!

And of course there are trails – the authors’ personal favourites. The routes cover the whole country and further afield to Lesotho and Swaziland.

I soon realised that I had travelled to many of the venues over the past few years, including when hiking in the Drakensberg, where I experienced cycle envy after watching riders finish one of the three days of the FNB Wines2Whales race. This inspired me to take my bike the next time I travelled.

Locally there are many trails which you, like me, have heard of but are unsure of doing without making a fool of yourself. Routes such as Tokai, Constantia Greenbelts, Table Mountain, Tygerberg, Delvera, Jonkershoek, Welvanpas, Grabouw, and Ceres.

On Your Bike answers your questions, gets you started and shows what type of rider you are or want to be.

Each route has a map (by Jaco Grobbelaar), route profiles, and an explanation of how to get there, the fitness level required and degree of difficulty, the duration and what permit you need. Most importantly, it tells you if there is a coffee shop.

Another nice touch is that Chris and Tim have asked various mountain biking characters, from professionals through to race organisers and weekend warriors, for their recommended rides, asking the question: “If you were told you have to give up mountain biking on Monday, which South African trail would you ride on Sunday, and why?”

This adds to the routes and is entertaining and insightful. These routes include the well-known races of the Absa Cape Epic, the Imana Wild Ride and the Sani2C.

Chris has completed the Absa Cape Epic four times while Tim is an accomplished veteran biker who organises the Hill2Hill race in KwaZulu-Natal and is also a former South African national canoeing champion.

On Your Bike will appeal to those who only have a passing interest in mountain biking and experts.

It has been written by people who have been there, done that and got the T-shirt as well as bruises, broken limbs and mud-clogged wheels.

If you’d like to win a copy of On Your Bike, send an email with “Bike book competition” in the subject line, and your full name, address and contact number in the body of the email, to

The competition closes at midnight on Sunday September 10.

The winner will be notified telephonically.