Get top Medical Aid for these top cycling events
Cycling events have a broad experiential appeal, and cycling is experiencing a massive boom even in a tough economic climate. From the professional cyclists to the eco-conscious to those creating family bonding opportunities as they cycle in unison along the beachfront, cycling has really picked up of late. Furthermore, the health benefits are significant. A 5-year study in the UK found that commuters who rode their bicycle’s to work lowered their risk of heart disease by 46% and their risk of cancer by 45%. Cycling is said to burn calories, build muscle and boost energy, as well as improve brain health and mood – it’s the ideal pastime that brings both fun and fitness.
2019 has some exciting cycling events in store, but before you enter be sure to check that you have excellent Bicycle insurance in place to protect what can be an expensive asset. Your bicycle will not necessarily be insured under household contents, and some insurers require your bicycle to be specified under all-risks cover. Your bicycle is not the only asset you should be insuring. Injuries are common in cycling, so be sure to put the right Medical aid in place. Speak to insurers that understand the risks that your sporting passion presents, and are well versed in recommending the appropriate cover.
Head injuries often occur due to the high-speed nature of the sport. These can include soft tissue damage, musculoskeletal trauma as well as severe head trauma due to collisions. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by nearly 70%, so never head off on your bike without one!
Knee pain and Achilles Tendonitis often come about as the result of repeated overuse in cycling. Fixing the position of your saddle and your cleats is vital to reduce injury, and bicycle shoe insoles can also provide relief.
Lower back pain is often attributed to being in the same position for an extended period. A cyclist is required to sit in a flexed position which can exacerbate lower back pain. Research shows that lower back pain accounts for 45% of cycling injuries. Take the time to ensure your bike is set up correctly to lower the risk to your back.
Many cyclists will also complain of neck pain, especially after spending extensive time in the saddle. Try shortening the stem of your bicycle so that you are in a more upright position and loosen the grip on your handlebars.
Now that you have the insight into the importance of good Medical aid and some basic injury minimisation practices, we can explore 4 well-known races that are taking place in and around the beautiful provinces of Western Cape, Johannesburg, and KwaZulu-Natal. They are a must for any keen cyclists:
The Cape Town Cycle Tour
Race date: 10 March 2019
Get training: The Cape Town Cycle Tour, the biggest timed bicycle race in the world, is almost upon us. Anyone who has experienced this 109km cycle event will attest to its atmosphere of intense excitement and anticipation. The Cape Town Cycle Tour draws 35 000 pro and amateur cyclists, as well as crowds of thousands that line the streets. Spectators should head to one of the best viewing spots to spur on the amateur riders in pursuit of their personal best time and to catch a lightning-speed glimpse of cycling professionals from all around the world.
The then named Argus Tour has grown exponentially since Bill Mylrea, John Stegmann and Louis de Waal first petitioned a protest ride in 1978 to persuade the city council to consider bicycles as part of its urban planning. Even back then there was a concern around the safety of cyclists on the roads. The event ultimately saw the dream of bike lanes and cycle safety projects being realised within and around the city. It’s important to respect that it was a race borne out of a concern for cyclists’ safety – so ensure you have the right safety gear.
While the electric vibe of The Cape Town Cycle Tour is an indisputable highlight, the route’s breath-taking scenery is a close rival. Even as South Africans it is impossible to grow tired of the beauty and diversity that this part of the country offers. To view it from the saddle while riding amidst a spirit of unique comradery makes this a truly unique, must-do race. From humble beginnings, this is now one of the most anticipated road cycling events on the South Africa calendar.
The ABSA Cape Epic
Race dates: 17 - 24 March 2019
The Cape Epic puts the grit and undeterred determination of local and international mountain bikers to the test over 8 gruelling days. This challenging adventure through the Western Cape region must see both members of a two-person team complete the race. Only 650 teams are allowed to participate, and these riders must conquer some 700 untamed kilometres of wild terrain and unspoiled scenery during the 15 000 metres accrued climb. Participants must be fit and healthy and have top-class Medical aid in place in the event of injury.
As the only 8-day mountain bike stage race classed as ‘hors categorie’ by the Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI), this race is a highlight for professional racers. As such, this attracts avid amateur riders wanting to pit themselves against these inspiring local and international class-act riders.
Currently, as the largest full-service mountain bike stage race in the world, all your needs are catered for. The event provides, amongst other things, an early breakfast buffet, race nutrition, medical needs, and body massages. ‘Chill zones’ give riders an opportunity to share their stories of the day and to unwind with a much-deserved drink.
The diverse route, peppered with some technical descents, changes every year. As a result, more than 40 towns have been visited by the Cape Epic since 2004. Riders are treated to a smorgasbord of scenery, from fynbos valleys to indigenous forests to dramatic mountain views.
Truly epic, and indeed one to add to your list of cycle races.
Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic
Race dates: 20 October 2019
The Amashova always promises an atmosphere of celebration for riders and on-lookers alike. Bustling with entertainment, food vendors and hip-swaying music, this event is a highlight on any cyclist’s calendar. Furthermore, the Amashova caters for most cycling abilities with options of a 35km, 65km or 106km race. So, there is no excuse for those who have been toying with taking their cycling from leisure to mildly (or highly) competitive. If you are at the beginning of your cycling adventure, be aware that injuries are a possibility and first-rate Medical aid is imperative.
Referred to as “The oldest classic cycle race in South Africa’, the Amashova was the dream of Springbok cyclist Dave Wiseman and Tony McMillan. Their vision was a cycle race that followed the route of the legendary Comrades Marathon, and their determination saw this dream realised. 'Amashovashova' is a Zulu word meaning ‘pedaling' or a ‘pushing/shoving motion,' and ‘Ama' means ‘doing it together.' An apt and memorable name for an event that celebrates the beauty, history, and people of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Shova training program provides aspiring cyclists with an easy-to-follow way to get stronger in the saddle. Good health and cycling go hand-in-hand. What are you waiting for?
Race dates: 24 April - 4 May 2019
The name may lead you to believe that this cycle event is in and around Joburg only. On the contrary, this 9 days and 900km ride our traverses 4 of our spectacular provinces. Riders (including some 180 international riders) firm their minds and their bodies through the Gauteng Highveld, Freestate grasslands, down the Drakensberg into KwaZulu-Natal, back up to Nottingham road and finally through the Umkomaas valley to the sea at Scottburgh.
While the race is undeniably gruelling, all needs are catered for during this longest fully-serviced stage ride in the world. The coordinators provide tented accommodation, hot showers, food, and drinks, amongst other services and comforts.
The joBerg2c also embraces a community-driven formula, whereby the race uplifts communities by giving them guaranteed ways to raise money for their various institutions. From road crossings to watering points, every organisation who works on or during the race receives remuneration.
This race with a big distance and a big heart just can’t be missed!
Hopefully, you are feeling inspired to look after your health and get into the saddle — what an excellent way to get fit, conquer goals and to meet new people. Remember that Bicycle insurance and Medical insurance should be a priority in case that technical descent is more challenging than anticipated. Bicycles and the associated equipment costs can be exorbitant, and so can medical bills if you don’t have the right Medical aid in place. Make this the year that you focus on your health by conquering the road ahead!