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Somewhere in the City of Joburg there are people who are suffering from saddle sores and walking like mummies after taking part in the first-ever Hollard Jozi Urban Mountain Bike Adventure (Juma) on Sunday.

More than 5 000 riders – from novices to professional mountain bikers – saddled up for the 22km and 52km races from 6am at Marks Park in Emmarentia. The children’s 1km fun race was held later in the afternoon.

So, for the next couple of days, just be extra gentle with our urban warriors who took on and conquered the urban jungle.

Riders were able to see the other side of the urban jungle. The meticulously planned route, which involved an investment of R1.5 million, took the eager riders to the most ecologically sensitive areas of the city, where fragile flora grows away from the creeping concrete jungle.

The race, staged in partnership with Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, allowed the adventure-seeking riders to get into less trodden parts, tunnels and streams that had participants thinking there were in a pristine rural setting that has not been seen by most Johannesburg 

residents. The adventure included areas such as Melville, Northcliff, Marlboro and Morningside. Bike

The race was also aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle – in line with the City’s Healthy Lifestyle Management Programme – and building healthy and socially-cohesive communities. It was also a platform to garner support and resources to assist with the improvement of the Johannesburg spruit system.

The challenge also encouraged residents to use some of the most beautiful parts of the city and to reclaim these areas from vagrants, crime, alien vegetation and pollution.

Through the race, City Parks and Zoo got a generous endowment for the upkeep of the spruit system. Only firebreaks around the fence-line of the Melville Koppies were used during the adventure.

Bohlale Mohlathe, City Parks and Zoo’s Corporate Funding, Sponsorships and Grants Manager, said: “Thousands of riders were exposed to the greener side of the city and efforts that go into maintaining these ecologically sensitive areas in pristine conditions. It was a massive platform to showcase the hard work that goes into maintaining the city ecosystem to world-class standards.”

The race organisers opened their hearts and wallets, too, when they sponsored riders from Soweto’s Bhoni2Kosi and Diepsloot’s Northern Farm initiatives to take part in the gruelling challenge.

Race director Mark Castel said: “We saw it as a massive opportunity to support rising talent in the townships. We sat down with Brad Fisher, CEO of Adreach, and made it happen! You will be amazed at what these six achieved with the right equipment.”

The six development riders acquitted themselves well as they had the best equipment available, with brand new mountain bikes sponsored by Bike Life.

Stuart Smith of Bike Life said: “Bike Life is all about enjoying life on a bike and if we are able to help spread that joy to a few development riders on the day, we are all for it. Seeing the way the guys’ faces lit up when they were told they would be able to ride was all worth it.”

Calvin Mono, one of the development riders from Bhoni2Kasi said: “The Joburg Urban MTB Adventure is the perfect opportunity to show our potential as riders.

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