When windmill-dodgers David Bristow and Steve Thomas followed their dream to blaze (and map) a mountain bike trail across South Africa, they hoped to be spared howling headwinds, freezing rain and slushy terrain. They weren't, yet were not deterred from having a mud-splattering good time. The result, the Spine of the Dragon trail, is the country's ultimate mountain bike tour, covering a distance of 4000km from Beit Bridge to Cape Town. Aimed at the average off-road rider, the 58-day trail through South Africa and Lesotho is broken into nine sections, each with several stages. The entire course can be done in one go, or as a series of shorter rides—ideal for those with boundless enthusiasm but limited time.The authors offer valuable advice on preparing for the trail that includes suggested clothing, gear, bike maintenance, food and safety. Each day's route is described in detail and includes:
When he's not out cycling, David Bristow writes for a living. He is the former editor of Getaway travel magazine and the author of more than a dozen books for Random House Struik. Steve Thomas discovered mountain bikes while living in the US in the 1980s. Upon his return to South Africa in 1992, he established Daytrippers, South Africa's oldest and biggest bicycle touring company.