The Big Road Trip
By Four Fingers Frankie
I have locked myself in my hotel in order to get some peace and quiet.
Phone is off. You wanted to know about riding spots in the WC, well there are three that I discovered.
Magic Forest, Durbanville
While riding along an unknown tar road, heading towards this big grassy hill to check if there would be any decent hill training to do, I came upon 22 (yes I counted them) cars parked randomly on the side of the road with not a building in sight. This was at 5:30pm on a Thursday. This looked odd and on closer inspection I noticed that most of them had bike racks. With my heart now racing with anticipation I rode around and then discovered an incy wincy little single track path heading into the forest.
Curiosity got the better of me and I ventured in and whoa behold - a wonderland of single track, jumps, drop offs, bridges, downhill tracks, mud, rocks, hardpack, roots, pretty dirty girls, total lack of pedestrians, the lot. I rode for 10km and popped out the other side of the forest at the foot of an overgrown hill with a cell tower on top which was calling me. I rode the 400m up the very loose technical hill that was almost vertical at the top. Most would not manage it. Coming down was a choice of a few single track trails about 1 km each.
It's a free area and has been built by the local clubs. Lots of hectically steep downhill sections, like logwoods maelstrom dropoff, but 4 times as long and rutted in places. The trails weave through the forest. One section has about 1km of switchback that, while rideable is rather overgrown. Obviously there is nobody to take care of the over eager bushes lining the trail.
This is SA's very best kept secret. So much so that even my GPS could not find it and decided to send me 40km's in the wrong direction! When I finally traversed the 80km's back to Stellenbosch, I discovered a reserve with about 10 cars in the lot. It was now 3pm Saturday so not much time for riding left much to my sheer frustration. It was R20 to enter which I paid, and, being the very rule obeying carnivorous mammalian creature that I am, I did not pass the no entry signs on any of the single track trails heading up the mountain. I rode on and on and on and on along the main dirt road expecting there to be a path around the next corner, but alas, I found myself back at the start after 10km's. Now thoroughly confused I asked the toothless coloured mammalian creature at the gate about the no entry signs. He simply said "Oh na, yes, no, just go, don't worry". Ah, I found heaven at last, but now it was almost 4pm and I could feel the darkness enclosing me. I headed up and up forever. Really forever. When I got to the top, these two lycra clad mammalians stared at me and said "Jislaik, you actually rode up here?". This is where the downhills started. I could either cycle parallel to the elevation contours, thus going on a fairly flat trip back to the bottom, or turn 90 degrees to the right and hold on for dear life. It was late. I held on. Lots of fun and I only explored one tiny corner. I must go back there because I heard the really good trails are on the other side. This is all in a sappi paper reserve in a gorge. Pretty as fuck. The mammalian creature in charge said he has 9 GIANT bikes there which he got through CLOUD (the flour people).
He now wants to start skills clinics there. Lots of families go there, you don't have to do the tough climbs, plenty trails around the river at the bottom. The trails are also very spread out. There is space for over 100 km's of trails there, if only someone would take the time to build them.
Sunday 6am saw me at the infamous Tokai reserve. Also R20 entry and right in the middle of Cape town. There must of been 300 cyclists there. Maybe 500 throughout the day. Check the photo of the car park at Tokai! The area is not very big, but big enough for a good few hill sessions. Pretty technical. Coffee shop at the bottom. Quite a few downhillers with their purpose built trails with jumps made out of tree stumps and planks.
Problem is that the forest trees are not our own. They are drinking our precious water and as we all know, 'Water is all you REALLY need'.
Therefore the mammalians with PHD's and theses have decided that the trees must go and the very rare natural fauna must replace them. As a result 40% of what were clearly once very good hand made trails were strewn with dead trees and other related crap. Another 10% had evolved into mud slides.
Hmmm, rather frustrating. After climbing twice to the top in the absence of the shade offered by the trees I had had enough and a trip to the beach was in order.
This beach trip has helped with my own evolution, from a carniverous mammalian to an aquatic vertebrate or more specifically, a bright red lobster.
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