Book review: Bike, Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa


Words: Sarah Kobal

Bike, Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa is a guide book to trails and tracks across South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. So if you are planning a road trip with mates or for yourself, make sure you have this informative, well written, and easy-to-read book on hand.

Published by MapStudio, the guide is packed with loads of useful information on suggested routes through different parts of South Africa. Little boxes of information pepper each route with interesting historic details, route appeal, top tips, and a preparation list so that you will (hopefully) never be underprepared or in trouble during a road trip. It also features information on why, when and what to see, as well as recommended places to eat and stay over at, which are based on Beedle's experiences.

One can easily see that Beedle has done all the routes of which he writes about, as he includes the number of days recommended for each trip, a difficulty rating, and whether or not the route is suited to group riding or not. Beedle also includes pointers of where to turn if there is a dead-end, if the roads are tarred and if not, whether the roads have good or terrible gravel. Beedle has even gone so far as to include the steepness of inclines, how deep the streams are, and so much more!

Website and email addresses are always included, so if you haven't planned ahead, you won't have to worry about sleeping on the side of the road. Alternatively, you can use the various websites and email addresses to find out what there is to do in and around the towns, which adds more of an adventure to the road trip.

An extensive preparation list is included before the map section of the guide book, with sections on using a GPS, what riding gear to take, off-the-bike gear, camping gear, bike stuff, emergency kit, essentials, and stockists.

Beedle has done something different to other road trip books, which is including interviews with numerous bikers, which I find fantastic, as it adds a personal touch to this book. These interviews also provide useful information regarding the different bikes that are out there, tyres they prefer to use, their road tripping experiences, the most important five things that they would pack for a road trip, and more!

Apart from 84 pages of detailed information for a biking trip, 140 pages of maps have been included, which means that there's no more fighting with huge fold-out maps that are always awkward to fold back into its original size. What's also great about this book is that it isn't text heavy, and has photographs on every page to keep you captivated from beginning to end.

I really do recommend this book as it has everything a biker will need, all in one place.

Title: Bike, Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa

Author: Greg Beedle
Release date: September 2011

Size: 167 x 245

Format: Soft cover, 224 pages

ISBN: 978-1-77026-294-2
Price: R250.00

To find out where to purchase a copy of Bike, Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa or order online, visit

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