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CULT CYCLING-A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

By: Geoff “the Aussie” Vorpagel

Cult Cycling represents the amalgamation of three different individual paths through Mountainbiking. The one thing that we can all agree on is that we are not so much obsessed with Mountainbiking as possessed by it.

It all really began back in the primordial mists of the 1990’s, in the lands surrounding Kelvin Grove in the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa; the first tribal gathering place of the Wheelie Serious Bastard Mountain Bikers From Hell (WSBMBFH).

The WSBMBFH were an innocent gathering of like minded guys and gals (mountainbikers all) who were recovering from some sort of trauma; divorce, bankruptcy, disbelief in the tooth fairy or Easter Bunny, whatever their personal demons were at the time.

What we all shared was that we had all stood at the “Edge of The Abyss” and looked down into the pit of our worst fears…and then got on our mountainbikes and rode ourselves back to health and happiness.

Having achieved a high degree of mental health (hehehe) from years of turning the cranks in the wilderness, there was a Great Diaspora; and it was only after some time had passed that Cult Cycling began to form in the minds of a select few.

The Cult Cycling Crew

Otto Kritzinger had broken far too much cycling equipment (shoulder, head, fingers, arms, etc) during his time as a WSBMBFH, and had a new baby in the family. Responsible guy that he is, he decided to tone it all down a little and he was lost in the wilderness of conventionality for somewhat longer than forty days and forty nights.

Every once and a while Otto would go mad and climb upon his trusty steed (which was way stronger than Otto himself) and run with the big dogs at the front of the pack… only to hit some hidden mystical “launch imperative” wound deep within the double helix of his DNA. This would inevitably mean more broken cycling equipment (shoulder, head, fingers, arms, etc) and a total ban on mountainbiking for another brief but indefinite period.

As the Mountainbiking virus continued to run its course within Otto, his periods of abstinence have become shorter and shorter until at last he has confessed to a full-blown infection that inoculation cannot cure, and broken or not, he must ride.

James Matcher was temporarily lost to Adventure Racing. I suspect this was mostly just because he was VERY good at it and liked the prizes and medals.

As all mountainbikers know, Adventure Racing is not a fun sport because riding your bike in a canoe or whilst swimming plays havoc with the bottom bracket and makes all your chain lube come off. As for running…when you have a perfectly good mountainbike to ride…surely that just means you lack the technical skill to stay clipped in.

Despite these draw-backs, the concept of riding up or down a cliff- even with ropes (sissies) - has some considerable merit and requires further investigation.

James has since discovered the joys of dual suspension (said in hushed tones) and has abandoned that other fellowship of psychologically disturbed multi-discipline types for his home tribe of single-track addicted mountainbikers…and this is supposed to be a step in the right direction (hehehe…can you believe the gullibility of some spouses).

As for me? I met yet another “Girl of My Dreams” (also a WSBMBFH) and we teamed up and went to ride Namibia flat. Having accomplished that we immigrated to the USA to do the same there.

When we first arrived in the States we made our home in Florida, that being the flattest part and hence a good starting point.

I pictured myself as a big tough mountainbiker who had ridden the Skeleton Coast and along the Angolan border, climbed the mighty Drakensburg, leapt tall buildings in a single bound (with or without bike); I was certain I was going to teach these soft and spoilt Americans a thing or two.

Then reality set in. Oh what a sad day!

I was told that the only quality riding was done in a Bike Park. I resisted, and rode crappy dirt roads through the Everglades because I was big and tough.

I was certain that a Bike Park would be paved walkways with safety rails at the edge and foam padding wrapped around cardboard cut-outs of trees and paper mache rocks so you don’t injure yourself and sue someone.

My first visit to the local Bike Park was an eye opener of note. It was listed as requiring only beginner/intermediate skill levels; and when I got there I found literally miles of purpose-built single track. Technical!!

After my second lap (the one where I was overtaken and subsequently dropped by a twelve year old girl) I had to go home and nurse my bruised ego. I took time off work during the days (and weeks and months that followed). I came and worked on my technical skill when nobody could see me fall down.

I learned to stay on the wheel of that twelve year old girl.

In time I rode in many states in the USA, and went to Vail in Colorado and was lucky enough to see the UCI World Mountainbike Championships; Legends in the flesh. I got to compete in the non-professional races and make out I was the “Real Thing” (people are still saying that I shouldn’t have been allowed to race in the under 12 female class).

We love it when a plan comes together

Then James and Otto and I got together and decided that we would like to build Bike Parks in South Africa.

We put together a rough list of what we wanted

· Miles and miles of fast zippy technical single track

· Places we can go stay in comfort and ride our bikes

· Local places where we can ride every day

· An old fashioned Bike Store that only sold “good stuff”

· A Repair Shop that only worked on mountainbikes and kept up to date with latest technology

· Mountainbike Races with no “drive-time”

· A decent cup of coffee before the ride/race

· More single track

· Somewhere for the whole family to come have fun

· Yet more single track

Having surveyed our list, we had to face the fact that we weren’t actually all that different from everyone else (despite what our younger selves may have thought about that) and that other mountainbikers want these things too.

Why Cult Cycling

And so it was that a company was born of need, but the question that other mountainbikers always ask is, “Why Cult Cycling?”

The answer: BECAUSE IT’S MORE THAN A HOBBY!