A press release from KTM South Africa landed in my inbox.
READY TO GO OUT AND RIDE?
THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK STARTS ON MONDAY!
CAN YOU MAKE IT?
You've got seven days to cover 1000 km - how you decide to break that distance us up to you. On completion, you will be rewarded a personalized award by KTM and 1000 points towards the draw to win a brand new KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S*.
My interest was peeked immediately. Not only because you could win a KTM, but I’ve always been a sucker for challenges and there is a new Africa Twin in my garage just itching to ride. 1000Km in 7 days? That’s nothing! I’m in!
This is what the challenge entailed:
Pack your panniers, THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK starts this coming Monday, July 5th. Welcoming riders on all bikes from across the world, it presents a great opportunity to fill your tank and hit the open road alongside like-minded riders.
Successful completion of each challenge will award you with 250 points, with added 1000 points given to all those who clock up 1,000 km. You will need a minimum of 2000 points to be eligible to win a KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S, which means you have to complete at least four of the seven daily challenge during THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK.
So I promptly downloaded and installed the Riser App, registered and also got my friends Dr.Dirt and Gryph in on the challenge. It might be the middle of winter, but Adventure was calling. I also invested in a handlebar holder for my smartphone. This would make it easier to use the app and see if I’m still on track during the challenge. It effectively replaces a GPS.
And so, with the smartphone and holder installed, I headed off on a small ride to familiarise myself with the app. It’s pretty intuitive and easy to use. For this ride I simply headed to the beach.
The app has a function where you can take a photo and embed it in the
app, effectively geo-tagging the photo and showing exactly where you
were when you took it. Pretty cool. Also, when sharing the ride you
can choose whether you want to include your max speed and start and
finish points in the share. I certainly don’t want to show people
exactly where to come and steal my new bike! Your trail can also be
exported as a GPX file if someone else wants to ride it later. Ride link here.
Can I complete this challenge? Hell Yes. Bring it on.
The main goal of the challenge (for the organizers) was to teach people how to use the Riser App. So the first challenge was rather easy.
DAY 1 CHALLENGE
SHARE YOUR RIDE ON SOCIAL
Show the world your adventure by sharing your ride using the tag #THEWORLDADVENTUREWEEK. Upon completion of your ride, use RISER's built-in share functionality to post it in any of the key social media platforms or generate a link that is shareable in any other platform. This will earn you 250 points and an entry into the daily prize draw. Remember, your social media accounts will need to be set to 'public' to allow us to spot your entry.
To do 1000km for the week I needed to get some mileage under the belt so a ride along the Garden Route to Knysna and back was on the cards. This route is rated as on of the best in the world and you have two options, take the main route, or the alternative 7 Passes route. I took the quickest way there and a winding route back. Both towns (and the route) is along the coast, so I was really surprised to see how much the climb and fall was! Must be more “hilly” than I thought!
Some pics from the ride:
Link to Day 1's ride here.
DAY 2 CHALLENGE
RIDE THROUGH 890 M OF ALTITUDE
Head uphill or downhill, depending on where you start from, in your quest to ride through a point where elevation is 890 meters above sea level. So, find the nearest hill or deep valley, and remember to track your progress on the RISER app. Based on your elevation profile, the app will automatically assign you with an added 250 points and an entry into the daily prize draw.
This was the first real challenge. I live next to a mountain, but the pass is only 800m high. On top of that our town is over 200m above sea level, so “my” mountain was not going to do it. I headed over the mountain into the Klein Karoo towards Oudtshoorn, to eventually ride the Swartberg pass into the Great Karoo. That pass is around 1500m above sea level and about 100km from where I live.
Riding into Oudtshoorn I needed petrol and after filling up I inexplicably decided to end the ride in the app and log the kilometres. Turns out this was a stoke of luck! More about that later. Oudtshoorn is over 300m above sea level, so riding to Swartberg Pass would still give me 900m difference. I started ‘n new ride and rode off. About 50km to go.
After about 35km I hit the dirt (it’s a gravel pass). With the shaking my phone’s charging cable wiggled lose and the phone was charging / not charging the whole time, effectively discharging the battery. By the time I realized this the phone was on 8%. Disaster. I could not get it to connect properly so I raced for the top. I got there with the phone on 3%. I ended the ride and pressed save! The phone died in my hands. Now what? 100km from home, on top of the mountain, please please tell me the app logged my ride in time. It did not.
I tried to charge the phone from the bike and got it up to 8%. I wondered if I descended through 900m if that would count also. I started a new ride and rode down the steep pass all the way to where the tarred road started again. I made a guesstimate that I should be through 900m and ended the ride. 679m. Shit! The phone also didn’t charge but more importantly didn’t lose any either. 8%. I decided to turn it off and just let it charge. Meanwhile I’ll ride up the mountain pass again to log the ride down again.
Turning on the phone I was sitting on 19%. I decided to log the ride from the top of the pass all the way to Oudtshoorn praying that the battery would last. If I lost the ride again I would have to forfeit today’s points. It worked! In 50km I descended 1230m and the points were in the bag!
I logged a new ride and chased the senset to get home. Ride log here. All in all today with the phone problems I rode 60 unloggend kilometres. Bummer. But I am still in this challenge!
DAY 3 CHALLENGE
CHECK IN AT KTM DEALER
Locate your nearest KTM dealership here and pay them a visit, grab a coffee or simply just browse the showroom floor. Riders who complete this challenge will be awarded 250 points and entered in to the daily prize draw.
You can locate your nearest dealer with the KTM Dealer Locator.
Day 3 was a little trickier. My closest KTM dealer was over 400km away. But I had a plan! Being a motor journalist I get a new car to test every week. Yup. I drive a brand new car every single week and have been for 10 years. I pick these cars up in Cape Town and return them there after a week, so I am in Cape Town once a week. All I had to do was make sure this week’s switch lined up with this day and Bob’s my uncle. Drove to Cape Town, switched cars and popped in at the KTM dealer. Apologies for the bad picture. The cellphone lens must have been dirty.
Points bagged! Got no kilometers added on this day though. 4 Days and 702km left in this challenge.
DAY 4 CHALLENGE
COMPLETE 1290 M OF ELEVATION
Go explore the closes mountains! Riders can reach the target in one go - if the landscape allows - or by going up and down a smaller hill a few times. The choice is yours. Riders who complete this challenge will be awarded 250 points as well as an entry into to the daily prize draw.
The thing about this challenge (and the thing that made quite a few riders fall out of the challenge) was the fact that I still had a day job. On this particular day I happened to be extremely busy. I just could not get on my bike till about 4pm.
I wanted to do a nice and scenic route, but now I was reduced to riding the nearby pass a couple of times to reach today’s goal.
I rode to the mountain and up the pass, but when I got to the top I checked the app and it’s lost the GPS signal. So I ended the ride. I would have to start over. I really hoped this was not turning into the same fiasco I had on Swartberg Pass.
I kept the screen on and kept an eye on the app (not ideal when riding a pass). I rode up and down a couple of times until I reached today’s goal. Not a lot of kilometres today but the points were in the bag!
DAY 5 CHALLENGE
5 RIDES IN A WEEK
Heading to work or on a full-scale Adventure ride? Keep track of your riding time on RISER, and keep the wheels turning. Complete five rides from Monday to Friday to earn 250 points and an entry into the daily prize draw. It doesn’t matter how long these rides are - as long as you’re riding.
I woke up this morning with today’s points in the bag already! This because I already had more than 5 rides logged in my app. This was a Friday and I needed to get some kilometers under the belt. I decided to do a winding coastal ride to Mossel Bay. Also, to avoid the bad charging connection problems I charged my phone to 100% and decided to use it battery only today. I headed out of George to the first stop – Heroldsbay.
Getting there I checked the app. Lost GPS signal. Not again! Of the whole ride only 13km logged. I ended the ride and started a new one. Glentana was going to be my next stop.
And guess what... Got to Glentana and the app lost GPS signal AGAIN. Only 17km logged. I was distraught. I really liked this app but now I was worried. Tomorrows challenge was an uninterrupted 390km ride. Going on like this, that would be impossible.
I started a new ride AGAIN and now I was checking the app in-ride every couple of minutes. This seemed to help but on the highway I did not check so often and lost the signal again. I did not end the ride as the app regained signal and kept recording the ride, only not calculating the kilometers where signal was lost. I ended the ride in Mossel Bay wondering why the app would lose GPS signal out in the open.
The battery was also running down faster than expected so I plugged the phone back in and logged the ride home. No signal loss this time. Turns out today’s problems was due to a phone setting shutting down the app to save battery life. At least now I know! Now I had hope for challenge 6, as long as my charging cable did not cause problems again.
DAY 6 CHALLENGE
RIDE 390 KM IN ONE GO
Plan a route that is 390 km and get out there and ride it. A small deviation of 5 km less or more will be accepted once your ride is live on RISER. This challenge is worth 250 points and an entry into the daily prize draw.
Dr.Dirt and Gryph had an all-gravel all-day route set out for today. I was invited, but I had other plans. I wanted to go show my significant other Seweweekspoort, an amazing place about 150km from our home. The route included both tar and gravel, so we could ride off the boring tar bits quickly and enjoy the scenic gravel bits. Hopefully both my phone and the app would work together today and log the whole ride.
My friends’ route was going to take them the whole day, so they had to leave early. This is what an early morning in the Karoo looks like:
Photo by Dr.Dirt.
We however waited till the day warmed up a bit and set off riding Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn and all the way to Calitzdorp in 1 hour. First 100Km done.
Huisrivier Pass was up next and this pass is a pleasure to ride. Newly resurfaced this pass in in excellent condition with little traffic. A couple of kms on the other side you find the turn-off for Seweweekspoort.
The natural beauty left her in awe. We rode through the poort all the way to the Great Karoo, took a small break and rode back through the poort from the other side, revealing an all new side of sights and formations. In the middle we stopped for a picnic and to just enjoy the beauty, the silence and each others’ company.
After the picnic we headed back over Huisrivier Pass to Calitzdorp and took a gravel road from there hugging the Swartberg mountain range. We were riding slowly, chatting, pointing out interesting and beautiful things.
Riding together like this, letting me sharing my passion with her, made for a very special day. The road ends at Kobus se Gat, a well known eatery at the bottom of Swartberg Pass. Cappuccinos were in order.
By now it was late afternoon already and we had another 100km to ride home. That is the beauty of a bike like the Africa Twin. You can ride through the really technical stuff, but also ride off 100km in a blink if needed. A true all-rounder.
We stopped at home having ridden 390km and with the points in the
bag! The app didn’t have a single glitch and never lost signal,
even between the tall mountains in Seweweekspoort. All the problems
were phone related and were now sorted out. Ride log here.
DAY 7 CHALLENGE
RIDE WITH YOUR BUDDIES
Riders are pack animals. We like to share our adventure with like-minded folks. For this challenge, find two of your riding buddies and go out and complete a PACK RIDE. This will earn you 250 points and an entry into the daily prize draw.
Today’s challenge called for a Pack Ride. This is a function in the Riser app available to PRO users. BASIC users can also use it, but only for 30 minutes. I guess today’s challenge wanted to leave us in awe about what this app can offer. Gryph created a Pack Ride and immediately a notification popped up saying that there is a pack ride nearby. Dr.Dirt and I joined the pack ride and just like that we were on. The function shows where all 3 riders are on the maps and there are easy to use pre-programmed messages that you can send to the whole group with the press of a button. Messages like “I need fuel” or “I need a break”. The app will also alert all riders in the group if one person stopped or fell behind and you can be live tracked by people at home in needed.
We rode to Montagu pass to the historic old Toll House. Here they serve visitors coffee and pancakes for a donation only. Exactly what we needed on a sunny winters morning!
With the Pack Ride points in the bag I still needed 40km to fill my 1000km for the week so I took a roundabout way home. 1000Km and all 7 challenges in 1 week. Done!
In my time on the bike I had time to think about the challenge, the app and how it actually got three of us riding again. And not just A ride. Several rides. 1000km in a week! There is another upcoming challenge in August and we’ve already signed up for that. That, to me, is where the Riser app did what no other app has done before.
Big ups to KTM also for thinking outside of the box. Being a motor and motorcycle journalist I have been to hundreds if not thousands of media events and launches. This was one of those things I enjoyed the most and I’m sure it costs a fraction of even a local national launch.
Some constructive criticism I could give is on the communication front. I only heard of this shortly before it started and most riders I spoke to didn’t know about this at all. Also, we never knew who won the daily prizes and as I am typing here (15th June) we don’t know if the draw for the KTM has taken place. I did mail Riser and they referred me to the KTM Instagram page. KTM did announce the daily winners there, but nowhere else was it stated where the winners would be announced. So unless you are on Instagram, you never knew. Knowing this I also think that KTM used Instagram to promote the Challenge (this is a guess). Now, Adventure Bikes are expensive. The riders tend to be a little older. “Older” users frequent Facebook and a lot of them don’t even know how Instagram works. But apart from the zero communication we received all through the challenge from KTM, there are no other criticisms.
Riser was on the ball and mails to them were answered promptly and
properly. As far as the app is concerned I would rate it very useful.
More so than my friends who had very limited functionality on their
iPhones compared to my Android app. Please note all of us were using
the Basic version. The only thing lacking is the ability to plan routes on your desktop and exporting to your app.
The Paid version offers a lot, especially the Pack Ride function. The paid version is also surprisingly affordable (about R80/month in my country and currency). Problem is you have to sign up for a year or six months. So you’ll end up paying for something that you might not use for months at a time. A monthly subscription would be very useful. Paying to use the app in the months you plan and do rides. I’ll happily pay R100 to use the app when I plan and do some big rides, using BASIC in the months in between.
The Basic plan is, well, basic. It’s a good app, but it’s still an extra app you have to download, install, update and allocate space to. So the big question here is does it offer more than what Google Maps already offer? Is Riser worth installing and using since the phone already has Google Maps?
The answer is Yes. I like the tracking of the ride with the inclusion of geo-tagged photos. I'm not sure if Google Maps can do that also. The app also offers a “Roundtrip” function that gives you a nice and curvy route for the day (if you don’t know where to ride) with various distance options. What I like the most is the Challenges. It’s something that will get you off the couch and riding. So even in BASIC form this app is worth downloading. I will certainly be using it, even over my GPS.
Lastly, the big news is that the World Adventure Week will be an annual event! I’m certainly looking forward to that. But does it have to be in the dead of winter for the Southern Hemisphere? And if yes, how about a second challenge week every December?
Either way, I am looking forward to competing again next year!
See you in the next challenge...