Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. – Mark Twain
The day I wrote my exam Wes arranged with the amazing people at Linden Cycles to pick up our mountain bikes which we had reserved. During the lunch break I went back to my car to find this picture on my phone:
In our search for the perfect Mountain Bikes, considering our limited budgets (I was only prepared to do so many hours of promos!), we visited a few cycling shops and asked as many questions as we could and spent some time on google finding hints and tips for a first bike buy.
Linden Cycles has the most helpful staff by far and we spent many hours in their shop with the guys that work there – of course whilst the boys spoke gears, shocks and tyres I spent my time looking at the cycling clothes and all the gadgets. Of course I felt the need to buy everything but ended up sticking to the basics; helmet and bike. We bought the helmets two weeks before the bikes to have something tangible to get excited about!
When the sales guy asked me what bike I wanted I said the green one, much to the amusement of everyone present – of course the girl would base her decision on colour 😉 Turns out I was right. The Axis A60 is the best value for money mountain bike on sale in South Africa at present in the <R10 000 price category. What amazed me was the wide range of prices we found this bike retailing at between Jo’burg and Pretoria. Linden Cycles, again here, beat the market and offered it at the lowest price of R3999. Wes was originally going to buy a red Merida but considering this is the best we decided to overcome our fear of being a “matchy matchy” couple and now we are both the proud parents of identical twins!
For our first cycling expeditions we chose to cycle at Emmarentia Botanical Gardens. There are some fantastic paths here to practise before joining the pros on real MTB Routes. Here are some pictures we took on a Blackberry. (Honestly I am shocked at the quality of these photos, the Blackberry supposedly has a 2mp camera?). We have also had a cycle in pouring rain which was great fun! I only took photos on our first two cycles as the other weekends I was much more focused on getting ready for our first race.
As for the title of this post; the definition of “Axis” is “an imaginary line that divides something into equal or roughly equal halves” and with respect to our relationship I feel this is exactly what our bikes have achieved. Not that our bikes have “split” us apart as a couple but more in the sense the mountain biking is an adventure we have embarked on together and it has honestly made our relationship so much stronger but at the same time highlighting our differences which enhance our compatibility.
Since we bought the bikes home we have cycled together every weekend on mostly both Saturdays and Sundays. Of course Wes is a male and “boys will be boys”. He has a natural ability and lacks fear to jump over obstacles and fly down steep hills where I spent the first four weekends pushing my bike down the hills and over big roots. In addition, my balance is shocking so Wes googled training tips to help me with this problem now we do these for ten minutes before every cycle. What this entails is finding markers and first circling them as slowly as possible on your bike in a clock-wise direction and then as fast as possible before changing direction. This exercise is then followed by figure of eights, same speed and direction requirements. And finally doing slaloms across the length of the markers, here as well they first have to be done as slowly as possible and then quickly. At Emmarentia we found fifteen random poles that have been set up a metre or so apart which is perfect for this exercise. I think these poles were originally set up in for dog training? As for Wes helping me on the technical, strength and balance side of things, I am there for constant chattering (that I still have breath left in my lungs to talk the entire time surprises even me), pointing out the gorgeous scenery and occasionally I provide amusement by
falling running off of my bike.
I am proud to say though that I have improved a lot and am now cycling down most of the hills and across all the tricky parts covered in roots and rocks without (much) hesitation.
I managed to cycle up here too but then proceeded to push my bike back down 🙂 Further along this path is the dreaded root-ridden-steep area that I struggled over but finally conquered this last Sunday. #proudmoment
This Saturday we are cycling in our first MTB Race; the Nissan Diamond Rush 10km Challenge and because it is our four-year anniversary next week we have booked ourselves into a Guest House and going to make a weekend away trip out of it! I love the gorgeous little town of Cullinan so I am too excited, albeit a little nervous for the race.
I highly recommend you visit Linden Cycles for all your cycling requirements. They can be found at 63b, Third Avenue, Linden, Randburg, 2195 or give them a call on 011 782 7313.Click on images to view larger versions.