30 September 2013 – The 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge will be introducing tandem bicycles for the first time. Organisers were approached about the possibility of having the two-person bicycles in the race, and it has been suggested that tandem riders use this race as an opportunity to prepare for the big road classics coming up around the country in the few weeks after the race.
The introduction of tandems to the race has added a slight spice to the event and gives the organisers the opportunity to advertise the event as a fun race and not just as a UCI World Cycling Tour Final qualifier. Mr Price Sport Cycle Club Chairman of KZN, Kelvin du Sart, mentions this will increase interest in the race.
“I think it is great that the organisers have allowed tandems into the race this year,” du Sart said. “They add a lot of character to an event. Last year, at the SA Masters’ Champs, we had tandem bicycles competing and they did not influence the rest of the event.
The ever popular tandem bike will be introduced this year at the Msunduzi Road Challenge and will add to the entertainment of the day when the event gets underway from 26 to 27 October © Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media
“Tandems also add to the speed of a race depending on conditions, because they can be really quick on a flat course but the only downside is that they are a bit sluggish on a hilly course. If there are only a few tandems, then they won’t influence the race at all,” he explained.
The tandem bicycles could draw more riders that might not have considered taking part in the race initially. “Tandem riding is really popular throughout the country, with huge numbers turning up for the major races like the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge. There are a lot of local tandems, so we could be surprised by the amount of entries,” added du Sart.
“Open tandems are just men, whereas “mixed” is a man and a woman, and it is serious stuff! At the ’Argus Cycle Tour, for example, the first batch is made up of the top 100 seeded tandems and then there are another couple of batches after that for the next best open, mixed and then the social batch Tandem riding is taken pretty seriously and is a lot more popular than people think,” du Sart explained.
The introduction of the tandem bicycles at the 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge has meant that pairs have the perfect opportunity to use the race as a great training ride for the bigger road classics when they take to the road on 26 and 27 October © Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media
The main draw for tandem bikes, according to Du Sart, is the fact that the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge is soon after the Msunduzi Road Challenge, and getting down to Pietermaritzburg and taking part will be the ideal way to prepare for one of the biggest road classics in the country.
“Having these bikes will be great for the race and it will also be great for the riders because it will offer them the perfect opportunity to train before the 94.7 Cycle Challenge as well as for the OFM Classic in Bloemfontein,” he added.
Race organiser Alec Lenferna has embraced the idea of having the tandem bikes in the race, but the rules are laid down fairly strictly in order to prevent any confusion amongst the riders. The major proviso is the fact that tandems cannot qualify for the UWCT Final, and this is strictly a “fun ride” for the tandem bikes. Along with this, there is not going to be an official tandem category, which means that there will not be an official tandem result.
The 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge takes place on 26 and 27 October 2013, based in Noodsburg outside Pietermaritzburg. More information can be found at www.msunduziroadchallenge.co.za
Issued on behalf of Gameplan Media for 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge – PMB