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Cyclist Off Road

Cyclist Off Road Spring 2020

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New for gravel and adventure riding

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United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK

in this issue

2 min.
ed’s letter

I’ve heard it said so many times: ‘Cycling is the new golf.’ But if that analogy is starting to feel a bit tired, then surely it’s time for an update. And I would suggest that the new version should be: ‘Gravel riding is the new cycling and the new golf.’ The golfing expression was coined in the post-2008 Beijing Olympics boom, when it was suddenly en vogue to be wearing Lycra while riding a carbon road bike on the highways, instead of wearing Argyle knitwear while swinging a carbon-shafted club on the fairways. But that was 12 years ago, and now that it is 2020 I feel like there’s a glaring oversight in this parallel, at least where road cycling is concerned. Golf is a pedestrian-paced sport, built around a blend of…

14 min.
new gear #01

Roval Terra EVO CLX £1,850, specialized.com If you haven’t been paying attention to the world of wheels, the three hot trends for gravel are: wider, smaller and tubeless. Specialized’s in-house wheel brand Roval has nailed all three with its latest Terra Evo CLX wheelset. In terms of width, gravel wheels don’t come much wider than these hoops (any wider and you’d be crossing into out and out MTB territory). With a cavernous 30mm internal rim width the Terra Evo CLX wheels are the perfect partners to wider tyres, all the way up to 2.1in (54mm) and beyond. That also makes them wider than they are deep, with a relatively low profile rim depth of 25.3mm. Available in 700c or 650b sizes, they have an extremely respectable weight of 1,357g (claimed) for the pair. As…

16 min.
into africa

Sometimes they appear as a blur, at other times as crisp outlines. If it’s overcast you won’t see them at all. But they’re always with you, stuck like glue and copying your every move, whether on your wheel or with you on theirs. Now, at nightfall, we are chasing them, but this is no ordinary sighting. Tonight the shadow peloton is in three dimensions. We lost the sun some time ago, yet not reckoning on being out this late we neglected to strap lights to our bars. Luckily we’re being followed by our support vehicle, whose full-beams cast our shadows into the night where they gather like holograms on a screen of dust kicked up from the track. It is surreal, two sets of silhouetted riders pounding out an identical rhythm…

1 min.
double pass

To download this route, go to cyclist.co.uk/or3/swartberg. This route is a point-topoint so you’ll either need a support vehicle or you’ll need to carry extra kit and arrange accommodation at the finish in George. Otherwise riders could simply ride the Swartberg Pass and return to Prins Albert, although we would recommend a support vehicle anyway – the Karoo isn’t a place to find yourself stuck and alone. Leave Prins Albert on the R407, heading south. After 6km the road splits, and at the signpost take the R328 onto the gravel track. This is the Swartberg Pass on which you’ll remain for the next 24km. The top comes around 21km into the ride, the bottom around 31km. Follow the R328 onto tarmac until the big white sign for ‘Cango Ostrich Farm’ at…

15 min.
round the horn

The moment my alarm sounds I jump out of bed and throw back the curtains. Alas, despite a clear, starry sky last night, I’m not greeted with the view I am hoping for. The Matterhorn is not yet ready to reveal itself. Today’s dawn has brought with it cloud cover well below the mountain’s immense 4,478m summit, in the process concealing its sharp, pyramid shape from view. But if you can guarantee one thing about mountain weather it’s that it is unpredictable and can change in a heartbeat, so I may yet get my hoped-for views later on today’s ride. With that optimistic thought in mind, I head down to meet the others for breakfast. Border guard Straddling the boundary between Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn is one of 38 peaks in this…

1 min.
mind over matterhorn

To download this route, go to cyclist.co.uk/or3/matterhorn. From Zermatt, cross the river and follow the Riedweg trail, climbing almost immediately. Continue on Tuftern trail to Tufternalp and onwards to the Blauherd lift station. Follow the direction of the lift on service roads and continue all the way to Stelisee before carrying on further up the climb to Fluhalp for refreshments. Descend back to Stelisee and then turn left down a steep descent, before following the forest road west to Riffelalp. Continue down a steep gravel descent to Furi, then climb to Stafelalp on a forested valley road. After about 5km turn left towards Schwarzsee. Climb to the lift station for no other reason than to savour the views. Return by the same route to the junction and continue across to the…