WHAT IS THE RIDE TO RHODES?
The Rides to Rhodes is an annual mountain bike ride that starts in Pietermaritzburg and follows the same 500km route of the Freedom Trail to the village of Rhodes.
There are two annual events that take place under the banner of the Ride to Rhodes. Both events start in Pietermaritzburg and follow the same 500km route of the Freedom Trail to the village of Rhodes.
This is a 6 day staged tour
Taking place in the latter half of September each year.
It is supported
This is non stop;
Takes place in the middle of June each yea;
It is unsupported
One of the participants in the 2300km 2005 Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa had previously completed the Iditarod Dog Sled Race on foot. He mentioned that in parallel the Iditarod hosted a shorter event over the first 350kms that serves as an annual qualifier. In June 2006 the Freedom Challenge hosted the first Ride to Rhodes as a supported ride. It was repeated annually thereafter.
A few years later a few riders wanting to prepare for the Freedom Challenge indicated the wish to do the Ride to Rhodes riding under the same conditions as the longer race - unsupported. With that the notion of "rough riders" was born.
At the same time interest was expressed in riding the Mehloding section of the trail in Spring. That gave rise to the Rock Art Ride as a September tour which was then expanded in 2012 to a Spring Ride to Rhodes, ridden under the same conditions as the original Ride to Rhodes, ie supported but with the advantage of Spring weather and slightly longer days.
In the light of the success of the rough riders as well as the Spring Ride to Rhodes, the June event will henceforth be a Race to Rhodes, non stop and unsupported and the Spring event, the Spring Ride to Rhodes, staged and supported.