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Maybe he was talking crap though
I was disappointed to find that most of the well-off Cape Town suburbs were festooned with barbed wire and armed response signs, plus locals who recommended walking no further than from the car park to the shop. It was difficult to tell whether this is a crazy siege mentality, or whether the one or two people we saw on bikes are the enlightened few.
However this varies significantly by area, with the tourist areas of the cap appearing more easy-going. Also once you get out of the major cities security seems much less of a concern. There is amazing scenery and an amazing open landscape, so doing something like an MTB tour would give you an experience you could not get in Europe.
I do not know Jo'burg area, but personally I would do some careful internet research or go with a guided tour as this would minimise hassles of flying in and then getting bike and gear out of the major cities. For instance doing part of the Garden Route by bike would be a great option, as a week or long weekend. For example http://www.cyclethecape.com/ has some example routes.
I am indeed a proudly South African. Live, work and play in Pretoria which is about 50km away from "the feared" Johannesburg.
I love reading posts like this about the huge concern about safety in RSA.......we only tell people that because we cant to keep our nice riding scenery to ourselves.
All said and done, Johannesburg is a big city with good and bad elements in it. My club is mainly Joburg based and if I have to take a guess, I'd say there are about 50-100 thousand active cyclist in and around Johannesburg.
And not many reported incidents.
As the posts above mine suggest, there are definite no-no's and then there are stunning places to ride your bike.
But in general it is not as scary as the reports suggest out there.....
Have a look at the forum www.thehubsa.co.za. Probably the biggest cycling forum in RSA with loads of helpful hints. Ask around there.....loads of Johannesburg riders there and if you tell them where you are going to reside for the 6 months, they will gladly indicate which clubs / rides to join.
In general, there are massive amounts of riding in the "Cradle of the Human Kind" area. Thousands of cyclist flock there over weekends.
Your biggest clubs will be Cyclelab (www.cyclelab.com) and Club100. They have big riding groups doing weekly rides.
Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.
No reason or principle contain it or stand against it........"
Traffic is probably the main problem from my perspective and the avg driver is not the best trained or aware so be prepared to go early for your rides as that from my impression is when everyone else trains. In most areas you'll find group rides and the numbers can easily exceed 100 for the popular ones.
Overall definitely take your bike. Johannesburg has a very active and well organised road racing scene and the riding can be very rewarding.
Getting excited as I am in the process of packing my bike. Gotta get my priorities in check.
Thanks for all the info fellas and I really do appreciate it and it makes my travel to Joburg more appealing.
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