The Big Dipper, a bridge approximately 210 m in length and 1,2 m wide, is set to be one of the most impressive spectator points of the W2W Adventure and Race. Riders will experience this magnificent structure during Stage One at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club where the bridge crosses over the Eikenhof Dam.

Wines2Whales Big Dipper.jpg

Photo: Cherie Vale / Newsport Media

According to Ken Piper, PERI Sales Engineer, the bridge was named “Big Dipper” because it hits the water twice. “Due to the dam being full, a special eco depth reading must be taken to design the scaffolding and map a suitable path. A specially designed barge, with electric winch, was built to erect scaffolding towers in the water. It will take seven working days to erect the scaffolding in the dam and a total of 20 people will work 10 hours per day, just on site. The Big Dipper is an individual scaffold support tower, spliced girders span between the tower and shipping pallets are secured to the top of the girders. Chicken wire mesh is placed on all inclines to provide sufficient grip for the mountain bike tyres in wet and muddy conditions. Safety hand rails are only fitted where the bridge is more than 1,5 m above ground level and over very rocky terrain. There are no safety rails along the section winding over the open water, hence the name Big Dipper,” laughs Piper.

Although PERI is the sponsor of the Big Dipper and the other bridge structures for W2W, Piper maintains that without Richard Baufeldt’s guts and determination, the project would not have been possible. PERI has employed Richard to build all the structures for both events. The Big Dipper is currently under construction at the Grabouw Country Club.

Big Dipper Interesting Specs:

  1. The highest point above ground/water is about 3,0 m.
  2. The deepest tower under water is 3,5 m.
  3. The max span is 6,5 m between scaffold support towers.
  4. The Quickshore scaffold bridge will span 16 m.
  5. Total weight is 15 400 kg plus 220 shipping pallets

Event Information:

Starting in the Wine lands of Somerset West, riders will cross through (and over) 13 wineries, 26 private farms, six mountains, historic roads and mountain passes, nature conservation areas (including the Kogelberg Biosphere) before finishing within sight of the famous whales of Hermanus!

CONTEGO WINES2WHALES MTB ADVENTURE: Friday, 2 November 2012 until Sunday, 4 November 2012

CONTEGO WINES2WHALES MTB RACE: Friday, 9 November 2012 until Sunday, 11 November 2012

Start Venue: Lourensford Estate, Somerset West

Race Village: Oak Valley Sports Field, Elgin (Western Cape)

Finish: Onrus Caravan Park, just outside of Hermanus (Western Cape)

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