I just want to say thank you to the dear and kind sponsors at Silverback for this lovely bike!
No, they didn't put me up to this post in any way.
The story behind this bike is very encouraging and I think it will inspire some people out there, even if bikes aren't your thing.
I used to love racing MTB's from a pretty young age. I have had many (and road bikes too, but we aren't going to talk much about road bikes today).
Eventually, one day I bought myself a 'big-girl' bike in the UK (a Scott - because I thought if I ever owned one of those it would make me a 'real' bike person). I had an "adult person's" job in the Big City of wonders and delights and I had a "proper" bike for a change.
Just before I came back to SA my bike was sadly stolen - yes, that does happen in the UK too!
And so, I decided to focus on running for a while - I've always run. I started when I was a little kid and joined Oxford Strides running club in East London in 1996!
I got busy with baby-making and business and I had a few cheap bikes here and there, I would sometimes grab someone's cheapie and even win a race or just have fun!
In 2015, I had the opportunity to get a lovely KTM from Tribal Triathlon for some work I did for them - I loved that bike (but honestly, not as much as I love my Silverback, sorry KTM).
Then in 2018, I went to Hogs and I did a stage event.
When I got home from the weekend in Hogs, I quickly went to drop kiddies off at school on the Monday morning and was planning to wash and pack my bike away before I started my work. It had been stolen. It was uninsured and worth quite a bit.
At first, I was in denial about the loss of this very precious possession (that I happened to have had serviced that week for thousands of Rands).
I went to almost all the police stations in the area, some local shops and townships reward posters in tow with a big picture of my bike on it - yes some people do love their bikes that much!
And then as the weeks became months and the futile leads amounted into naught, I went through all the stages of grief and eventually acceptance, I guess. I couldn't justify a year's worth of my kid's school fees to replace a bike, now could I?
When I cycled to Cape Town earlier this year, a wonderful man in George hooked me up with Silverback. They showed interest in my project and said that they wanted to get involved.
I was due to meet the SA Silverback head honcho the day before the Cape Town Cycle Tour Expo. He wanted me to try out a gravel bike for my adventure around the world and we have since been in comms.
Anyway, when they found out that I am actually not that big, they "sadly" informed me that they can "only" give me a mountain bike at such short notice. I was a little bleak that I would be cycling back from CT on a MTB. I also had some plans around a decent attempt to do a really fast Cape Town Cycle Tour. I had done some time trials and cycles in the build-up and I smashed a 38 km/h average pace over 25km's on a friends bike 2 weeks prior (it was a little windy for the record and not only straight, in traffic - Cape Town traffic).
Anyway, so I had some "big" plans, plus I was really good with endurance as I could happily do 200-300 km's a day if needed. I actually tried to get permission to do the "double-loop", but the committee had already closed this vetting process and so I was not admitted in this brigade.
When I realised that I would be cycling on a mountain bike with only a few days practice on it and not even have a chance to set it up properly and I would be using my road shoes, I decided to just have fun.
But as way leads to way (as one of my favorite poets once said), I ended up meeting a very influential cyclist on the day of the cycle tour. Because I decided to make it an adventure with loads of pics and stops, I stopped and chatted with lots of people en route, and one of those just happened to be him out of the (hundreds?) of thousands of people. This man has been a great source of wisdom and inspiration for me and I am extremely grateful.
Getting back to the bike story though.
I was a bit disheartened that I couldn't ride my Silverback back to East London and when I got to Fisherhaven near Hermanus I had to continue on my road bike because my panier system simply would not fit on the mountain bike. I covered the branding with duct tape at least to show some solidarity to my wonderful and encouraging new sponsor.
What I did not know was that my cycling would be put on ice and I would be stuck for months and months away from the roads. It was the biggest blessing that I had a mountain bike in a game reserve and more recently, I have been reveling in the sun and on the local trails. The borders are closed and there obviously can be no around the world cycle currently, but I got the perfect bike for now!
Thank you Silverback for giving me not what I thought I needed, but really exactly what I did! This bike has 'saved' my life through really hard times and I can tell you this - we are still riding around the world together!
Silverback is a South African owned company - I feel like I can say with certainty, having met pretty much all the other brands - in their fancy boardrooms or in person, that this is a brand worth supporting. They do not use the slogan "best in class" without excellent reason.
I know these people personally. I know their hearts, their focus, their passion. Their commitment to excellence and value is something that is backed up by their products and service.
I can tell you now, you don't have to aspire to own any of the other "S" brands or anything else on the alphabet. Silverback has a bike for you - regardless of your age or needs and if you want more info about these bikes - feel free to inbox me anytime for some free advice.
So wrapping up my little tale.
My journey is not finished yet - neither is yours!
Sometimes, we will be horribly or mildly disappointed along the trail or road or whatever you want to call this things called life. But I am still pretty convinced that the kindness of providence will ensure that we get what we need.
It might not always look like the package you expected or the one you think you really wanted. I personally am still convinced that it is okay to trust and simply let go of all those expectations of how things should or could or would have been.
I wanted a fast bike, but I needed a strong one for this time. And that's what I got.