Gerald de Kock kicks off in Franschhoek
05 February 2016
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Gerald de Kock: This is the first of the Old Mutual mountain bike podcasts that we’re going to bring you, probably three a week over the next couple of months from around the country; events, we’re going to be talking to event organisers, personalities, riders, top riders, back of the field riders, people who have a passion for mountain biking. Because after all, that’s what this is about.
At this very first event, I’m at the Porcupine Ridge Mountain Bike Event in Franschhoek at the Bridge House School. It’s a smallish event, there are other big events happening just down the road at Meerendal, the Ashburton event, the marathon series is starting there. But this is a, I would suggest a medium-sized event, 50km, 26km and a 7km for the kids. It’s got a great vibe about it. I’m going to first talk to Quintin Smith who has been out there riding today. Quinton firstly, how was your ride?
Quintin Smith: Very hot and tougher than expected.
GDK: Isn’t that weird? We go to these races and they’re always a little bit harder than the description or what we expect.
QS: They say, when you ride you’ve got no brain and no pain.
GDK: You ride and it’s a passion for you, but it’s also, there’s a slight twist to it because you’ve got a little bit of business about it. Tell us how you’ve incorporated that.
Bikes ‘n Wines – a great combination
QS: I have a company called Bikes ‘n Wines which runs guided mountain bike tours of the winelands. It’s essentially a wine tour on the back of a bicycle and we operate in Stellenbosch and in Franschhoek. Half-day tours, full-day tours and multi-day tours; where you cycle through the vineyards from wine estate to wine estate, tasting wines, doing food pairings and having lunch as you go along.
GDK: Tasting wine being the operative word.
QS: We have a very strict rule on tour in that whatever is in your glass, you have to finish it before we move on.
GDK: That would make for some interesting riding, but that is an angle, I mean we come to these events and there are a multitude of events around the country all the time, but is this an area where there’s serious growth at the moment.
QS: Well, we’ve been established for eight years now and when we started, we were swimming upstream. Everyone looked at us really strangely and askance and said: why are you doing a cycle and then drinking wine? But with the growth of mountain biking worldwide, it’s sort of taken over golf as the thing to do, we’ve grown incredibly as well. We now probably cater for about 4 500 bums on seats or guests a year.
GDK: How many of those are local and how many international?
QS: Predominantly international. South Africa has a very good reputation for wine around the world, especially the western hemispheres, so mainland Europe, the UK and America. South Africans have a tendency to think that they’re going to do it themselves, so being a bike-crazy culture, people will generally do a mountain bike race and then go for a wine tasting and a long lunch afterwards. As opposed to a guided cycle through the vineyards and the estates of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
GDK: Well, more strength to you as you continue to grow the sport, well done.
QS: Thank you very much.