5 Of The Best MTB Trails To Hit This “Go For A Ride” Day
The 22nd November is Go For A Ride Day and what a great excuse to ditch the emails and hit the trails. Load up your bike and head out for some quality time in nature. Amy Hoppy and I have tried and tested many a trail and we’ve rounded up the best of the best. Let’s ride…
Du Toitskloof Wines MTB Trails
What: I recently had the privilege of riding these MTB trails at their trail launch. The Du Toitkloof MTB trails were previously included in the Cape Epic, TransBreede Ultra and the Gravel and Grape Stage race. They are officially open to the public and we couldn’t be more stoked about it. We rode the 22km loop that includes some gorgeous flowing singletrack with a few jumps, drops and switchbacks. Our waterpoint on the day included a glass of cold Du Toitskloof bubbly, which I’d definitely recommend sampling after the ride. The newly opened Ou Meul Bakery has a delicious selection of eats, so treat yourself after your spin.
These trails have been nearly five years in the making, the trail-builders ensuring that everything has been finished off to perfection. Included on the route is a completely unique river crossing – a 132m-long suspended bridge. And yes, it does move as you ride across – expect to feel like you’re surfing on your bike. Absolutely amazing! I’ve never ridden anything like that before. Definitely worth a visit.
How much: R30/day
Distances: 14,5km or 22km
Tips: There are showers and bike-wash facilities so no need to rush off. Make a day of it. Once you see the food you’ll want to – promise!
Oak Valley MTB Trails
What: Made famous by the Wine2Whales stage race, the Oak Valley trails are legendary for their flowing singletracks. I grew up in Grabouw, so my opinion is probably slightly biased, but these trails definitely make the top three on my list, if not the top one. Vissie’s Magic is my all-time favourite trail section. Choose between a longer red route and a shorter blue route. There are also black loops off these trails with a slightly more technical option if you’re feeling up for a challenge. It’s all very rideable and flowy. The views are breathtaking and expect to see loads of cows, plus the occasional bontebok and springbok. Finish a great day out with a lunch (or wine tasting) at the Pool Room or visit the new Elgin Railway Market.
How much: R50/day for adults | R30/day for kids
Distances: 14km, 24km or 32km
Tips: There are showers available at the gate as well as secure parking.
Jonkershoek MTB Trails
What: Another bunch of trails close to my heart, these used to be my stomping grounds when I studied in Stellies. An endless warren of trails, the MTB routes cater for just about everyone, featuring Armageddon, Canary Trails, Red Phoenix and Neverending Story, just to mention a few. My favourite would probably be Armageddon, but every trail has its own unique element to get those positive vibes flowing. There are a few jumps, drops and technical sections on these rides so make sure you’re comfortable with these before attempting them. There are plenty of jeep tracks to explore as well. A steep climb up to Saaltjie is always a great way to get the legs burning and the blood pumping, and the views are worth it.
How much: R50/day
Distances: Anything from 10km to 50+ (it just depends which routes you decide on)
Tips: Jonkers has a weather system of its own. It may be sunny in Stellenbosch but raining in Jonkershoek, so always go prepared. It also gets extremely hot in summer, so make sure you’ve got enough water and sunscreen. Ride In Café makes a great stop (or starting point) on the way home. Including free showers and a bike wash, this café features some of the largest, most delish muffins I’ve ever eaten.
Tygerberg MTB Trails
What: For the Cape Town folk, the Tygerberg trails are basically a little slice of heaven. Included in this mix are the Bloemendal trails, Hillcrest, Contermanskloof, Hoogekraal, Meerendal and Majik Forest. And if you link all of these trails up, you’ll be busy for days. These trails include some epic climbs and thrilling descents. Some of them are a bit technical, including some rock gardens, so do what you know. A fun and challenging day out.
How much: R250 Tygerberg MTB Club holiday membership (valid until 31 Jan 2019) allows you access to all these trails as well as exclusive membership trails and corridors. (It’s worth it!)
Distances: Anything from 5km to 50+ (again, just depends on what you decide to link up)
Tips: All of these trails have access to incredible wineries and eateries so come hungry and thirsty.
Garden Route Trail Park MTB Trails
What: My December holidays are not complete without a healthy dose of Garden Route Trail Park. There is nothing more beautiful than the Knysna indigenous forest, so imagine speedy, flowing trails twisting between these trees and creeks. What more could you ask for? Choose between Forest Frenzy, Crazy Creek and Jungle Fever. These hand-built trails are designed to include adrenalin, pure joy and incredible views.
Unfortunately, the recent Karatara fire has done some damage to these trails and they will only be reopening on 1 December.
How much: R120/day (adult), R100/day (under 18), R70/day (under 13) and family R280/day
Distances: 10km, 14km, 17km. But these trails also link up to the Sanparks Farleigh MTB routes with over 50km of forest, fynbos and mountain climbs.
Tips: There are showers available, as well as food for a hungry cyclist. If you are happy to travel for lunch, Tottie’s Farm Kitchen in Rheenendal serves the most incredible meals. I’ve ended up there after many a cycle and would highly recommend a half log (open sandwich).