In conjunction with Episode 1 of the Signal Bikes Dealer Tour, Oli Munnik joined Spur Schools MTB League ambassador Alan Hatherly in Port Elizabeth for an unforgettable community ride and skills session with local rippers ... as well as a dinner at the Silver Cloud Spur with 11 lucky laaities.
It's not everyday that one gets the chance to meet, and ride alongside a double world champion! Last week PE's cycling community came out in force to welcome Alan Hatherly to their local trails with 60+ excited youngsters descending on the Fat Tracks 'Containers' trailhead for an unforgettable ride through the Baakens Valley.
World class XCO racers like Alan are required to master the technical elements of tracks around the world in order to progress and ultimately win.
During the ride Alan stopped at two bermed corners, and a double jump to pass on his knowledge to the youngsters, who listened intently to the advice being given.
As the kids did laps, practicing their turns, they were peppered with "lift your inside pedal" ... "stay off the brakes" ... "you nailed it" ... "bend your knees" and many more shouts of encouragement.
While on the ride we had the pleasure of meeting Chase Jopson who was sending it on his Signal Stormer 24. He was proud to tell Oli that the Stormer 24 was his 7th birthday present and, most importantly, that he had paid for half of the bike.
Bravo Chase, keep the rubber side down, you're a little legend!
Big Air = Big Vibes
The highlight of the ride was without doubt Alan jumping the trail's infamous double jump. With a strong cross-wind blowing, Alan sized up the gap and launched it with a cheeky bar turn for extra style points, landing perfectly to a rapturous applause.
Drake Loubscher of Grey High School was the only youngster brave enough to give the jump a go. The charismatic laaitie pedalled in and gave it his best shot, sailing through the air like a boss!
Smiles For Miles
With the ride over, the youngsters wasted no time in getting their photo taken with their hero as well as requesting him to autograph their helmets, caps, shirts and jerseys. Result.
The energy and positivity of the kids during the ride was incredible to witness and Signal Bikes could not be prouder of our partnership with the Spur Schools MTB League, which promotes healthy lifestyles, getting youngsters outdoors and of course, responsible competitiveness.
Credit to Alan Hatherly for taking the time out of his heavy training schedule to make a difference where it counts the most - out on the trails.
The final thank you must go to all the parents who support their children's love-of-two-wheels ... long may the passion last!
Photography by Desmond Louw for Signal Bikes
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Dinner at the Spur With a World Champion - FULL STORY
After working up an appetite during a late afternoon community ride and skills session with over 60 rippers, Spur Schools MTB League ambassador Alan Hatherly joined 11 lucky League Riders at the Silver Cloud Spur in Newton Park for a dinner they'll never forget.