Tsitsikamma Touring at the 2024 Glacier Storms River Traverse

South Africa has many incredible places to visit. From the arid beauty of the Great and Little Karoos to the vast vistas of the West Coast, and the charismatic mega fauna of the bushveld. There remains one section of the country which beckons travellers with an intangible allure. The Tsitsikamma – with its deep gorges, fertile plains, and wild coastline – is undoubtedly one of the country’s most spectacular destinations. It is also not a bad place for a bike race, which is part of the reason why the Glacier Storms River Traverse remains an enduring success.
From the 9 th to the 11 th of August 2024 mountain bikers from across the country will once again descend on the Tsitsikamma and the quaint Storms River Village. Since 2011 the Glacier Storms River traverse has kick-started the post-winter stage racing season. Though, while there are still those who choose the race, the relaxed riding field has grown year-on-year. The event is firmly family focused, providing fun on and off the bike for riders of all ages.
For the youngest, the Tsitsikamma Village Inn race village is ideally suited for buzzing around on balance bikes, the ubiquitous little plastic motorbikes (which are most South African children’s introduction to cycling), or a small pedal bike. The short routes even make it possible for riders as young as 16 to take on the race itself. There are also many riders from the opposite end of the age spectrum taking part. In fact, the Glacier Storms River Traverse is probably the only mountain bike event where it is conceivable to have three generations represented on the start line.
In recent years the growth in eBike sales in South Africa has changed mountain biking. It has kept people on their bikes for longer and brought new riders into cycling. There can be no denying the pure exhilarating joy an eBike provides. The race was also one of the first in the country to embrace eBikes and the electric category has grown exponentially since then.
In 2023, 30% of the competitors were on eBikes. “It was great to take part in an event where eBikes were not just allowed, but also celebrated and rewarded,” eBike race winner Anel Strampe smiled.
Strampe and her fellow eBike racers started ahead of the rest of the field every day and had a clear run through the tracks and trails. The eBike tourers started amongst the riders on analogue bikes and cruised at a more leisurely pace.
Increasingly the Glacier Storms River Traverse is not seen as a race by those taking part. It is a ride or a tour. A relaxed three days on the bike where prolonged stops at the Biogen-powered water points are the order of the day. When there are Beer and Barrel Belgian craft beers on offer, at the final water point of each stage, those stops get even longer.
For 2024 the same festive and relaxed atmosphere will prevail. Riders are invited to bring their families, to book supporters meal tickets and to join the Glacier Storms River Traverse celebrations. The stage race overlaps with the final days of the 2024 summer Olympics; thus, sport will certainly be the centre point of the long weekend. The pub at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn, which is always a hotbed of post-stage revelry, will no doubt be filled with cheers for the ever-popular track relays, which are set to be held on Friday and Saturday.
Entries to the thirteenth edition of the Glacier Storms River Traverse are now open. Standard entries include lunches and dinners, on Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday lunch. A luxury tent upgrade package is also available to riders, as well as to supporters. Riders not making use of that package are reminded to book their accommodation in Storms River Village as soon as possible, as the Tsitsikamma Village Inn and the hamlet’s other accommodation option book out fast. To view the full list of entry options, accommodation and supporters’ packages visit www.stormsrivertraverse.co.za.

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