Review: GUTR Sweatband

Fortunately I get to ride my bicycle in South Africa, possibly the most beautiful country on this planet. However, the advantage of warm sunny weather and challenging landscapes also require something I always disliked: sun tan lotion and sweat management. There is simply nothing worse than cycling up Chapman’s Peak in Cape Town, with a mixture of suntan lotion and sweat running into your eyes. For those people in the north: it burns like hell.

The clever people at GUTR have developed a sweatband that doesn’t attempt to catch and retain your sweat (and sun tan lotion) like many other products. In other words – it doesn’t turn into a wet and smelly piece of fabric that can hold a certain amount of sweat and then turns useless. The GUTR sweatband is a silicon band with an inbuilt gutter that merely channels the sweat running down  your forehead to the sides of your face. That is all. Simple, brilliant. Does it work?

I have tried the GUTR on a multistage MTB event with some 6000m of climbing and once you adjusted the size correctly (it comes with three different size connecting rings) between painfully tight and uselessly lose your are perfectly fine. The sweat that builds up on or runs down your forehead is efficiently pushed to the sides of your head. You realize how well it works when you feel the stream of sweat running down your cheeks. There are two drawbacks though: I found it quite difficult to get the helmet fitting perfectly without pushing the headband down onto my ears, but I blame my head shape for that. It also won’t stop 100% of the sweat from running down, as some of it transpires below the sweat band, e.g. in your eyebrows etc. It does however stop 95% of the sweat, frustration and burning eyes. Possibly one of the greatest cheap bike expenses you will make.

The Gutr sweatband - sweat management

Mountain Biking in the Karoo: Slanghoek Retreat

Long weekends with the family and the in-laws can actually be fun: choose your destination so that everyone can do what they love or call their hobby. In our case grandpa wants to read a book and not see anyone else (my kid also calls him “grump pa”), my wife wants to relax and sit on the stoep and the kids want to catch frogs and feed Springbok. 45 minutes of gravel road from Touwsrivier is the wonderful farm called Slanghoek Karoo Mountain Retreat, in between mountain ranges, and far away from luxuries like cell phone reception or electricity.
Your water comes from boreholes (and landed me a colitis), solar panels power your lights and forget about calling the office. But both bedrooms are en-suite and gas geysers guarantee warm inside or outside showers. Best of all – there is a vast network of farm jeep track – and ideal for an hour a two of seriously fast gravel road riding, plus some porterage over rocky hills, some dry river bed crossings and some sandy sections.

I found it ideal for quick intense training rides without hours in the saddle – and all in springbok covered mountain landscapes. What was also great, that the road network is perfect to learn to ride – my wife enjoyed the easy yet breathtakingly beautiful riding and my little brother in law finally managed to ride a bicycle himself. If your are looking for a mountain retreat for the whole family, Slanghoek Retreat is a great option which is less than 3 hours out of Cape Town.