Organisers of The Herald VW Cycle Tour have upped the ante by taking technical assistance to the next level at both the mountain bike and road events on February 1 and 2.
Official technical support partners Cyclo Pro-GT will host a neutral support zone near the start/finish venues at the Addo Polo Club on the Saturday and at Port Elizabeth’s Hobie Beach on the Sunday.
According to GT regional manager Stephen Craddock, their technicians would be on hand to assist with any last-minute issues or problems a rider could encounter.
“Neutral support means that anyone with any bike can come to us and we’ll assist them with any complaints or problems they may have.”
Craddock said his crew would be available at Addo from the Friday evening.
“So we’ll be there for any mountain bikers who are staying over and need some help. The next morning we’ll be open from very early to make any necessary adjustments to people’s bikes.”
He said the same would apply to Sunday’s road races.
“We’ll put up some supporters’ gazebos next to the tech zone so that riders can come and chill in the shade, enjoy a free beverage and chat to us about the GT brand and what it’s all about.”
Craddock said the most common pre-race problems they encountered related to the gears and setting them correctly.
However, he said there were a few essentials that riders needed to bring with them to minimise any problems out on the route.
“The rough and thorny terrain out at Addo definitely requires some kind of sealant in the tyres. I would tell people to bring CO2 bombs and possibly even a small pocket pump in case they run out.”
Craddock said multi and chain tools were also essential items for en route repairs.
“On the road side there are obviously fewer obstacles and your chances of puncturing are far less, but I’d still pack these tools along with a spare tube.”
He also advised riders to have their bicycles properly serviced at least three to four weeks prior to the event to ensure that they are in good working order on race day.
“Start now and buy yourself some time. The local cycle shops get very busy towards the cycle tour and the workshops often can’t handle the numbers coming through the doors.”
Cyclo Pro’s Andrew Briggs said his store would have a large stand at the registration and expo at The Boardwalk Convention Centre, offering bike parts and accessories as well as technical advice.
“We’ll be there on Friday and Saturday so that participants can pick up last minute gloves, helmets or tools and anything else they may have forgotten, lost or left behind.”
Briggs said Cyclo Pro’s roaming mechanics would be out on the route to assist riders in Saturday’s Powerade Leisure Challenge at Addo and Sunday’s 55km Pursuit and 106km Classic in PE.
He said Cycling South Africa rules prevented them from offering assistance to participants in the 80km Extreme and 60km Adventure mountain bike races.
During the weekend, three lucky participants will each ride away with brand-new GT bicycles with a combined value of R40 000.
The 29-inch GT Zaskar 9R Elite mountain bike will be given away at the mountain bike prize giving on the Saturday, while the GT Karakoram 29er and GTR Series 2 road bike will be up for grabs at the main prize giving after Sunday’s feature races.
Each prize includes a free service and set-up from Cyclo Pro.