Tuesday, 28 May 2013

3 Days = 3 Rides = Bank Holiday Weekend!

25 May 2013 - Ride & Braai

The Ride

Box Hill Window
13 of us reported for riding on Saturday morning. We split into groups right from the start.
Hard core, Less Hard core & Fun groups. We all started with the steep climb round the back of Box Hill to the top. I led the Fun group (myself, Cecilia, Bron, Kyle & Mike). I was unable to find the entrance to China Pig, so instead we went down quite a steep descent, Kyle fell of his bike like a bag of potatoes, the sound effect was priceless as it was just a thud on the ground, he jumped straight back onto his bike and we continued. We got reprimanded by an auntie on a private farm that it is private land and no cycle track, she was rebuking us in a very kind way, we just apologised, cause in all honesty I couldn't find the trails that I was looking for. We dropped Mike at the station and found our way up to Leith Hill Tower by climbing up Summer Lightning. I love that route, it always bring back memories to when I first started riding, I relive all my moments of insecurities where I fell, unclipped or thought this is tough, so it is a huge confident booster whenever I do it.

Bron, Mike & Kyle
At the top of Leith Hill Tower we had the most amazing and biggest sausage roll ever! I am definitely going back for more soon! The teashop is under new management, the lady is not overly friendly, but the treats on offer make up for that.

Three of the A-Team ( The Van Niekerks & Rich) bumped into us at the Tower and joined us for our journey back to the station.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: Hitting Summer Lightning hard with Stephné van Niekerk!
Steph and I love chasing each other down Summer Lightning. It is our ticket to ride 'varkerig' as we would say in Afrikaans. Summer Lightning divides naturally into 3 parts, so we take turns to go in the front. Today we had an absolute ball! We were gunning it whilst giving running commentary all the way down to the bottom. We rode so fast, that we had enough time for a 'bos piepie' before the others arrived. :)

The Braai

I prepared most of the side dishes on Friday evening as I knew space would be an issue once the 25 guests arrived. Most of today's riders, their better halves and friends who were unable to ride joined us for the braai. We had the obvious signature dishes of lamb chops and paptert on the menu accompanied by butternut, sweet potato, carrot, feta & cranberry salad. For pudding some people had braaied marshmallows on the fire or chocolate pudding with custard

Finally blessed with some sunshine

26 May 2013 - Swinley Forest

A lot of people have been talking about the new improved Swinley Forest. I've never been a huge fan of it in the past, but was keen to give it a try.

So my verdict is:
  • They have done an amazing job on building a challenging blue run, in my opinion it is more advanced than other blue runs I've ridden before, so will give beginners a good feel for mountain biking and help build their confidence
  • They have done a superb job on the berms!
  • The red run is also good, there were two sections that gave your stomach that sinking feeling like when you drive over a short steep hill fast - I loved it!
  • It was more challenging than what I expected
  • Some people are still cycling in the wrong direction, this can be dangerous especially it is near some jumps and on a downhill where we got some oncoming traffic
  • Signage is good, but could need a few more signs at a few corners especially the link from the blue to the red can be marked better
  • It was fun and is especially great for people who want to do a quick ride and who don't know other routes that well or want to ride on their own and it is IDEAL for anyone with a family as the teashop and play area is any child's dream
  • I don't want to do it every weekend as I prefer getting a bit more distance on the legs between single track sections, but it is a great for some variety every now and then
27 May 2013 - Dorking

Today we had the privilege to have the company of no other than Mr Gerhard Bonthuys, thoroughbred roadie as many of you would know. I met Gerhard the first time on a mountain bike ride last year, but has never seen him on his mtb since, I have however seen him on his road bike a lot and even had the courage to go on a few of their roadrides.

Myself, The Van Niekerks, Bonty, Pokkeltjie and Rich our token Brit was joined by Lizzie at Dorking station. Now in our circles if you mention that you've been riding with Lizzie it puts you automatically in another level of riding. She has a racing background and is known for her mountain bike skills and that she can out ride any male rider. Nervous levels were high before we even started riding.

We started off with the same steep back of Box Hill climb... WHY??? It takes me a good 20 minutes to warm up on every ride, this was a bad idea. This time we found the entrance to China Pig, we then went across to near Denbies Farm and climbed up past Tanners Hatch to Ranmore Common, stayed on the North Downs and down a steep section at White Downs onto the 22. From here we went the normal way over to Yoghurt Potts & BKB. We crossed the A24 head up past the fish farm over to the Volunteer, up past the YHA in Holmbury.

We had some tea, cheesestraws and other delicacies from The Peaslake Village Store before we took the 'flat route'  back to Dorking station. Pokkeltjie finally got her mojo back after she finally ate something and started enjoying the 2nd half of the ride. We have now excelled to another level of riding after we survived our first ride with Lizzie. Hehehe. :-)

Bonty seen on his MTB @ Peaslake!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Call Me Maybe #2

My previous Call Me Maybe had no telephone number, I thought I'll rectify that by getting these... :)
Now you have no excuse not to phone me... haha, Call Me Maybe!


Monday, 6 May 2013

The Official Tango Cycling Launch Weekend

Over the years I've been organising these trips, this year however was the first time that I charged for it. A friend of a very good friend designed my logo for me and I revealed it at the Launch Weekend. 

We filled 5 log cabins at Trawsfynydd Holiday Village with 32 people.

As the group consisted out of various levels of abilities and fitness we didn't have a set itinerary and riding was flexible and down to each individual. Coed-y-Brenin provided riding for all levels as they have blue, green, red and black routes all conveniently starting from the trail centre.

On the first day most of us did The Beast, it is a black run and contains all of the single track, the loop is about 38km long. We naturally split into groups as the day progressed, a A-Team, B-Team & C-Team formed. I have done parts of The Beast 2 years ago and I remember it being rough & tough, this time however I was well chuffed with how my riding ability improved and that I was able to do complete the whole Beast.

Back at the cabins a big bowl of pasta and yazoos were waiting for us, I was so grateful for that as I was starving and at one point it felt like we were never going to get back to the cabins.

Zane & Jason mentioned in jest that we should have a prize giving on the Monday before the weekend, I thought it was a good idea, so I scrambled around and got a few small prizes together. I then realised that schucks somebody would have to host/speech at these. We all know that I can talk a lot, but seriously talking in public especially in front of mostly my friends freaked me out. Seeing that I'm organising it, I couldn't really get out of public speaking by delegating this to one of the guests, so I had to get over my fear of public speaking. I went pale in the face and quiet, Zane & Nicole saw something is not right and asked me what is wrong to which I could hardly explain what was wrong. Anyway I made some notes on what I wanted to say as I didn't trust myself to remember everything.

1st Speech

1. First paid booking - Louis van der Walt
2. Rent-a-Crowd - Johan Olivier
3. Rider of the day - The Beast (Dawie Rice) for taking on The Beast without a back brake
4. Panic Mechanic - Roald Wallis
5. Gravity Rules - Willem de Jager
6. Bonker of the Day - Christiaan Botha (sorry:))

Tonight we had steak, paptert (one of the signature dishes of a Tango Cycling Weekend) and a new beetroot, pea & goats cheese salad on the menu.

Johan text me at midnight on the Friday night that he will be bringing a vegetarian friend along. Now I usually don't panic about extra people, we can always make a plan to fit another person in, but you can't tell me that a vegetarian is coming at midnight of the start of the weekend. My biggest worry was that he might have ethical issues with meat in which case I won't have control over the bunch of South Africans who love their meat and stories about meat. I had no need to panic as our token Brit and also token Vegetarian had no such issues. He even braaied his pizza. :) Apparently 6 people told him that he can have some of the paptert, he just had to take out the bacon. Love the way how we tried to convert him back to eating meat.

On Saturday night 13 people were keen to ride the Marin Trail at Betws-y-Coed on Sunday. On Sunday morning 25 of us were ready at 8:30 and the 10 car convoy actually set off at 8:28. This was record breaking stuff, I felt like a proud mother and it just proves that all mountain bikers suffer from FOMO! (Fear Of Missing Out)
FOMO Addicts

This scene made me SOOOOO happy!

We all started together at the car park, but the group split up on the first climb that felt like it was never ending. Hills are not my strong point especially not on an so to speak 'empty stomach' at the start of a ride. The A-team dashed off, Nelo caught up with me and I rode with him for a bit. The A-team split into a B-team and the B-team suffered a puncture at the bottom of one of the single tracks. Nelo & I then joined them. I realised with a bit of a shock that I was the only girl in the pack, but the boys looked after me and patiently waited for me where it was needed.

I LOVE the Marin Trail, the climbs are a bit boring (not technical), but I'm not complaining at all as the benefit of that is that you have enough energy to let go on the downhills of which there a quiet a bit. It is technical and rocky in some places, but SOOOO MUCH FUN! The last time I rode the Marin I loved it, this time I loved it even more as we missed out on the last section of single track 2 years ago and this was seriously the best part of the trail.

Sunday would be remembered by half of the group as an awesome ride where as the other half of the group would remember it as a day of chain-reaction-punctures and ongoing uphills.

Once we were back in the car park, some people headed back to the cabins, some stopped for a scenic tea stop in Betws-y-Coed, others carried on to ride Penmachno or back at Coed-y-Brenin, others were picked up from the trail as everybody ran out of spare tubes.

Back at the cabins the girls kindly prepared us pasta, but unfortunately went for a walk and didn't hid the key for us. We all drove past them, but thought they wouldn't want to be picked up as they went for a walk, so instead of driving to pick them up and get the key for the cabin, we broke into our own cabin by opening one of the windows. Shooo don't tell people. (You can take us out of South Africa, but not South Africa out of us)

We all chilled at HQ at some point or the other, some people fixed their bikes, some people fixed mine whilst I was kuiering next door, some slept, some read, some chatted.

Drinking Stella with Heike Kruger

I asked Zane if he would interview a few people. In my mind I thought he should record it with his video camera as he speaks to individuals during the evening. In his mind however he thought we are all going to get together and ask people questions. What a great idea?! So we went with that. He was such a brilliant MC who got most people interacting and by doing it this way everybody got insight in to what happened on the trails, how people heard about the weekend, why Bokkie finally came along and what drugs Willie has been handing out to everybody just to name a few. We were all cracking up in laughter!

I took the floor after him with another prize giving. With repetition everything becomes better, I started to get used/enjoying the 'attention' and got over my stage fright.


1. Best Supporter Rider - Willie Jonker for hanging out with the newbies in the morning and then riding with the boys in the afternoon
2. Most impressive & courageous Newbies - Siobhan Stotter & Marie Tooman
We got them to ching-chong-cha as the two prizes I had was a bit unfair, Marie won the best of 3 and got to choose first. Thank you Simon for donating a cycling shirt and arm warmers.
3. Moaner of the Day - There were 3 nominees: Siobhan about all the hills, Roald about all his punctures, but the prize went to Steve (Poohbear) for complaining non-stop about all the hills
4. Panic Mechanic - Today there were so many punctures and ultimately Roald would've gotten it, but because everybody was sharing inner tubes and they managed to break 2 pumps between them we got Willem & Pierre who gave their tubes away and then landed with punctures themselves to arm wrestle for the prize. Dawie did the adjudication and Pierre walked away with the prize. (we didn't think a Soutie would beat a genuine Dutchie - hehe)

The Arm Wrestle

We smaak a lamb chop!

Expectation levels were high as tonight we had Welsh Lamb chops on the menu along with potato salad, butternut & spinach salad and as a special treat banana salad. Yes you read correctly banana salad, it is bananas & condensed milk and a drop of lemon juice.

On Monday we all packed up and cleaned our cabins. Yet again, a lot of people were hmmmming & aaahhhinnngg if they should ride. I quickly got my whip out and said the weather is to amazing not to ride, we can worry about sitting in traffic later. I mean seriously all winter we are complaining about the bad weather and finally we have a sunny day and people don't want to ride???!!! As I've mentioned before most of us gets FOMO. Those of us riding went for an easy spin at Coed-y-Brenin, as we knew the routes we pieced our own routes together so that we were able to do some of our highlights again.

I started off with Willem & Siobhan on the blue route till we bumped into Nelo & Heike. Nelo & I continued up to False Teeth, my favourite section. It has quite a few rocky drops and dips, but all ride able. We came across a few cows on our way to the entrance of False Teeth.

Just before the entrance to False Teeth

Oli taking instruction
Coed-y-Brenin Trail Centre is very well equipped, we made good use of the cheap bike wash (washed 7 bikes for the price of 2) and shower facilities before we headed back to London.

My riding highlight: The last single track section on the Marin Trail

Funniest memory: Willie Jonker handing out tissue salt pills for all aches & pains. "Tharinatjie, I have just the thing for you, now take 2 of these & put it under your tongue and you'll be fine in no time."

Kuier highlight: Spending time oh no I mean drinking beer with Heike Kruger  (ha-ha-ha)

New Nicknames:
Potty - given to Albert by Jason for wearing a helmet in the shape of a pee pot
Poohbear - given by Zane to Steve for having a Winnie the Pooh duvet cover

Ultimate Highlight: Having so many friends around, riding together, making new friends and preparing the food together - I just LOVE it.

Thank you everybody for coming along and enabling me to do what I love to do!

Ps. Zane has kindly started a Facebook page for me, so to see more videos & photos, please look up Tango Cycling.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Breaking News: The Launch of Tango Cycling - 3 May 2013

As most of you know, I have a passion for events organising and I love mountain biking.

So I thought I'll combine the two. Starting small, I'm organising a mountain biking weekend away for my friends. In the past, after previous trips I've organised, a few people have suggested that I charge for  the service, but I didn't quite know how to do it. When Daleen & I catered for Liezl's 30th Birthday Party we discussed how you would charge for such an event, and suddenly the penny dropped. I came up with an idea on how I could charge for organising a weekend away, without taking full responsibility for all the cooking, or changing the format of the weekend from what we have previously enjoyed. In fact, one of the best parts of the weekend is getting everybody involved with helping to prepare the food and cleaning up afterwards.

So this is how it works; I still co-ordinate the accommodation, co-ordinate the lifts, plan the menu and source the food as in the past, but for a small additional administration fee. I'm making no profit on the accommodation or food. This means I am still saving everybody money by providing a budget weekend and we're all still having the same fun at a cheaper price - it works both ways.

Therefore I am NOW proud to make this venture OFFICIAL by revealing my logo to you!

Where does the name Tango Cycling come from?
Well I work on a contract with the Ministry of Defence and we went through a phase where we called each other by our phonetic initials as nicknames at work, so I was Tango Charlie and it started there.

How did you decide on the tag line?

I found Elisca a helmet on the Internet in 2010 which matched her bike one day and said I'm going to charge her for personal shopping. I created a dummy invoice with the company name Tango Cycling company and tag line Making Cycling More Fun. Janet then one day jokingly said, Making Cycling More Fun for Less on one of our trips and that is how "for less" got added. I liked it and started using, Making Cycling More Fun for Less.

I find it very appropriate as I hate waste; waste of my money, waste of others money and waste of food. So my aim is to get quantities right so that none of the above will occur.

How did your logo evolve and who designed it for you?

I've always said if I get a logo one day I want the handlebar to be the T of Tango Cycling & the C of Tango Cycling to be a wheel. Suzanne is a friend of Beatrice, she designed Beatrice & Cheesa's wedding invitations and stationary, so I contacted her a few weeks ago to ask if she would be willing to help me. She did an amazing job and was so creative to come up with the final product. She had so many good ideas which made it hard to choose one, but I went with the one that was closest to what I visualised in my head from the beginning and she tweaked it to produce the final product, which I love.

My motto is:

1. To make cycling more fun 

  •           by connecting groups of friends
  •           finding awesome trails for them to enjoy together
2. For less

  •          by finding reasonably priced group accommodation
  •          by cooking nutritious food in bulk
  •          by sharing lifts

    I'm very excited about what the future may hold in store.