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Loosely based on the idea of an Appalachian Trail, this mountain bike journey wends its way all the way from the north of South Africa's Limpopo Province, across the undeveloped highlands of Lesotho and down to the Cape Peninsula, following the Spine of the Dragon, the majestic Escarpment formed by the Drakensberg mountains.
The authors blazed this trail that has only existed in theory to date. All of the maps were created by co-author Steve Thomas, and are presented from a mountain biker's point of view. Each section has a start and end point and gives detail important to cyclists.
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DAVID BRISTOW is a travel journalist and environmental scientist. He's been exploring South Africa since his early teens by hitch-hiking, hiking, flying and by bicycle. He also surfs and has a close relationship with his mountain bike. David has a BJourn (hons) from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, SA, and an MA in environmental sciences from Cape Town University, SA. David was born and bred in South Africa and has covered Africa, mostly south of the equator, for the past 20 as a travel and nature writer and a photographer. For 15 years he was editor of Africa's top-selling travel magazine Getaway. His main interest, besides environmental issues, is seeking out new and exciting places for adventures – although comfort is never eschewed. David has authored more than a dozen books on on South and southern Africa, climbed Africa's 10 highest peaks (among others) and scuba dived on most of the best sites around Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.Review:
Riding the Dragon's Spine by David Bristow and Steve Thomas is the perfect guide for any biker who wishes to cross the 4,000 km trail at the roof of Africa, The Dragon's Spine from Beit Bridge to Capetown, or any part of it. The book is divided into nine sections, as suggestions of the way to divide the trail into parts. The author, who also wrote more than a dozen books, is an expert cycler himself and owner of Daytrippers, the oldest and largest bicycle touring company in South Africa, so you have an expert leading you in this book. He describes each of the 58 day trip in detail, as well as an overview of the terrain and a map and suggestions of where to stay overnight. His website has many more details than the GPS coordinates and even more information for those planning a long or short ride on this trail, but on Thomas's trip the icy winds howled around him, so plan your season and hope for good weather. Well written with good color photos so you can see most of the roads are excellent and little traffic.
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