Tzaneen Cycling Club Blog

Lets Talk ABout It

Alan Gordon targets top step at Barberton XCM MTB Challenge

Alan Gordon is aiming for the win at the Barberton XCM MTB Challenge at Barberton High School, Mpumalanga, tomorrow.

The 29-year-old Insect Science Mountain Biking rider finished just three minutes behind defending champion Nico Bell in the 110km race last year.

“I would really like to win it this year,” said Gordon.

“Winning the Barberton would be a big morale boost going into the season.”


The Crocodile Trophy winner said he believed his biggest competitor, Bell, would be riding again this year.

“It’s always a big challenge riding against such a good athlete.”

The 110km ultra marathon will take riders through the Unesco World Heritage Site, the Mountainlands Nature Reserve and Greenstone Wildlife Estate.

“I think the route will be pretty much the same as last year. I like the long climbs and fast open descents though,” said Gordon, who won the Insect Science Classic at the end of last year.

“The last part of the race is always the difficult part. The roads go up and down and through a lot of river crossings.

“I will make sure to save some energy for the last stretch.

“All in all, I love riding in this part of the country – it’s really beautiful.”

Gordon said it was going to be a busy year for him, with some big races coming up.

“These include the Tankwa Trek next month and then the Cape Epic in March.”

Tzaneen Fietsryklub se besige kalender vir 2020

Tzaneen Fietsryklub is een van die mees aktiewe klubs in Limpopo met ‘n hele paar belowende ryers wat vanjaar hoop om goed te presteer.

Volgens Hendrik van Schalkwyk, voorsitter van die klub, het Alan Gordon, die klub se professionele ryer, ‘n baie besige jaar wat voorlê. “Gordon skop sy jaar in Februarie af met die Tankwa en daarna doen hy die Cape Epic van 15 – 22 Maart.” In Mei ry hy Sabie Experience, Gravel & Grape asook Tour de Limpopo. In Augustus reis na Colombia vir die La Leyende de Dorado. Met sy terugkeer ry hy die Magoeba Trek en in September doen hy die Cape Pioneer Trek en 3 Towers.


Van Schalkwyk sê ander klublede wat Tzaneeners moet dophou by die Cape Epic is Gerhard Booysen, Sydney Swart, Billy Noel, Jan-Louis Pretorius, BJ van Zyl en Mark en Moné Pieterse.

Wedrenne in die omgewing wat kwalifiserend is vir Limpopo-kleure, is Mango Mania op 8 Februarie op Hoedspruit, die Munnik Meerkat op 7 Maart, Ysterberg Tibani wat op 2 Mei op Potgietersrus plaasvind en die die Miami Magoebaskloof op 27 Junie op eie bodem. Nog twee belangrike wedrenne is die Tshipise Challenge op 25 Junie op Musina en die Akkedis wat op 8 Augustus op Louis Trichardt plaasvind.

Nog plaaslike fietsrywedrenne wat inwoners gerus op die almanak kan aanteken, is die Hoedspruit Vlakvark op 20 Junie, ATKV Eiland MTB op 26 September, Mooketsi MTB op 3 Oktober, Mariepskop MTB op 10 Oktober en Insect Science wat deur Stanford Lake College in Magoebaskloof op 7 November aangebied word.

Padfietse word nie afgeskeep nie en fietsryers het die geleentheid om deel te neem aan die Vula Vula by die Eiland op 12 September en die Kremetart op Louis Trichardt op 6 Julie.
Vir die skole is daar vier spesiale wedrenne. Van Schalkwyk sê dis ‘n riem onder die hart om die ywer waarmee leerders die wedrenne en die skolereeks aanpak. Die reeks is die Tour de Maroela in Julie, Tour de Marieps op 1 Augustus, Tour de Plaas op 15 Augustus en laastens die Tour de Lake op 5 September.

Tzaneen Fietsryklub bied jaarliks die Miami Magoeba MTB aan.


Van Schalkwyk vertel die klub is tans die enigste aktiewe klub in Tzaneen. “Ons het elke Woensdagaand ‘n nagrit en almal is baie welkom om in te skakel. Ons is tans besig om ons plaaslike roetes te merk om dit meer toeganglik te maak.”

Hulle gebruik sosiale media om inligting aan die lede deur te gee. “Daar is ‘n positiewe gees onder die lede.”
Gelde beloop R500 per gesin en R300 per enkel persoon per jaar. Klubhempies is ook beskikbaar.
Besoek gerus vir meer inligting of skakel Van Schalkwyk by 082-443-3864 vir meer inligting.

Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge !!


An adventure through the desert and mountains of the Klein Karoo
with a finish at the Garden Route Coast

South Africa’s toughest extreme one-day mountain bike race! For the very brave we have the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge presented by Biogen, 121km with a 2900m
vertical ascent and for the not-so-faint hearted we have the Attakwas Half, 52km with a 1100m vertical ascent.

South Africa’s premier one-day mountain bike race will stage its 15th edition in 2021 – fourteen  years since that inaugural event in 2007, with a start list then, shorter than the current crew list. Dryland took this task to hand with no idea where this would take them. South Africans and their appetite for tough endurance events projected the Attakwas into legendary and cult-like status over the next couple of years. This is the race to do if you want to test mind, body and machine!

And with that said….well done to one of our own Alan Gordon, who finished 21st overall with an outstanding time!

For the full results please visit


Friday Fails #100 – The Ultimate Compilation of the Best MTB Crashes

Welcome to a very special Friday Fails! For the 100th episode we have compiled the best crashes for the past 99 episodes. Enjoy!


Steps to fix a flat bike tire

First up: a few simple terms to know for beginners:

  • Tire: Outer rubber part of your wheel that touches the ground when you’re riding.
  • Inner tube: Fits inside the tire; the source of the flat.
  • Rim: Outer edge of the wheel that the spokes attach to.
  • Tire bead: The stiff part of the tire that fits inside the rim edge to hold the tire in place.

Alright, now for the good stuff:

Part 1: Remove the wheel

1. If you have a V-brake or cantilever brake, disconnect the brake cable from the brake arms.

2. If it’s your back tire, use your gears to shift the chain to the smallest sprocket.

3. Loosen the quick release to free the wheel, or use a crescent wrench if the wheel is attached with nuts. Never used your quick release before? Ask a bike buddy who knows how it works to make sure you take it off – and more importantly, put it back on – properly.

4. Pull the wheel out. If it’s the back wheel, hold the derailleur down as you pull the wheel out.

5. For bikes with disc brakes: once the wheel’s off, make sure you don’t touch the brake levers or you may have trouble getting your wheel back on. If you can’t trust yourself, slip a piece of cardboard between the pads.

Part 2: Remove the inner tube

Removing the inner tube from a bike tire

1. Open the valve and deflate the inner tube all the way. If you have a Presta valve, you’ll need to unscrew the tip of the valve before you press it down with your finger to deflate the tube.

2. Next up: get one side of the tire bead off the rim. Start by pushing the tire all the way around to help loosen it from the rim.

3. If the tire’s tight, tire levers will help. Insert a tire lever between the tire bead and the rim edge (make sure to do this at least 10cm away from the valve area). Use leverage to flip the tire lever over and hook the tire lever onto a spoke to lock it in place.

4. Insert another lever a few centimetres from the first.

5. Push down on one lever, then the other, to free the tire from the rim. Work all the way around the tire until one edge of the tire is off the rim.

6. Reach inside the tire and pull the inner tube out. When you get to the valve, gently pull it through the rim. If there’s a circular nut on the valve, unscrew it to remove the inner tube (put it somewhere safe since you’ll need it later).

Presta and Schraeder bike valves

Presta valve (left) and Schrader valve (right).

Part 3: Find the problem

Tire with sharp object stuck in it

1. With the old inner tube out of the tire, use your bike pump to inflate the old tube fully.

2. Detective time: you need to find the source of the leak. Hold the tube near your cheek and move the tube past your face to feel for escaping air.

3. If you can’t feel escaping air, another method to find a slow leak is to submerge the half-inflated tube in a tub of water. Look for bubbles – that’s where the puncture is.

4. When you’ve figured out where the hole is, circle it with a pen or marker so it’s easy to find where the corresponding spot is on the tire (also useful if you’re patching the tube).

5. Inspect the part of the tire or the rim where the hole is to find the source of the leak. Is there something stuck in the tire or rim? Remove it, otherwise another flat is inevitable.

Part 4: Patch the tube

If you have a new tube, skip to part 5.

Note: If you have several leaks, a giant slash or you notice that leaks are coming from old patches, it may be time to consider replacing your inner tube completely.

1. Deflate the tube and get out your patch kit. Make sure the tube is dry before you move on.

2. Follow the instructions in your patch kit. If the instructions are long-gone, here are some steps to try.

3. Use the sandpaper in the patch kit to roughen a patch-sized section around the puncture.

4. Clean the sanded area (rubbing alcohol works great, but a corner of your t-shirt will do) and apply a thin layer of glue around the puncture that’s big enough for the patch. Wait a few minutes for the glue to cure before you apply the patch; the glue should be tacky to the touch. Note: some patches are pre-glued, so you don’t need this step.

5. Peel the foil side from the patch and apply it over the puncture with strong pressure for at least 30 seconds. Make sure the edges stick.

6. Leave the plastic sheet in place and keep applying pressure for a few minutes to let the patch bond.

“Ideas to upcycle old inner tubes: make tie-down straps (with buckles if you want to get fancy), chainstay protectors, resistance bands for physio exercises, or a crafty wallet. To recycle old bike tubes, drop them off at your local MEC store.” – Valerie P., MEC Sustainability Director

Part 5: Insert tube and replace tire

Checking bike tire

1. Use your bike pump to inflate the new or patched tube about 50% to give it structure and shape.

2. Push the inner tube valve through the hole in the rim. Make sure it’s not crooked.

3. Starting from the valve, work the inner tube into the tire so it’s completely tucked in and not twisted.

4. Once the tube’s inside, it’s time to get the tire back into place. Use your hands to work the tire bead over the rim. Make sure you don’t pinch the tube between the tire and the rim (you can let out a bit of air if needed).

5. The last few centimetres of the tire takes a bit of oomph and patience. Grab the tire with both hands and use the meaty part of your hand to work the sides back onto the rim; work one side, then the other. You can also use tire levers. If you use tire levers, make sure you don’t snag the tube.

6. Check both sides of the wheel and make sure the tire’s sitting nicely all around the rim, and that the valve didn’t shift around or tilt during the process.

7. Inflate the tire to the recommended psi, and tighten the valve nut and replace the valve cap.

8. Once it’s inflated, check the tire one more time. If it’s sitting nicely and there aren’t any weird bulges, you’re almost done!

Part 6: Reinstall the wheel

Replacing the back wheel of a bicycle

1. Get ready to put the wheel back in place. Pull the derailleur down and make sure the chain wraps around the cassette. Align the disc brake rotor with the space between the brake pads, and ensure the axle is in the dropouts.

2. Insert into the dropouts and properly tighten the quick release lever (ask a knowledgeable bike buddy if you’re not sure, since a loose quick release is dangerous). Once there’s enough tension, push the quick release lever back into position and check that it’s solid.

3. If your bike has rim brakes, remount the brakes. For all bikes, check that your brakes are working.

Nice work! You’re ready to ride.

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