I've been a roadie for more than 40 years, and have grown to love the camaraderie, goodwill, and generally sporting nature of fellow cyclists. We support each other, assist newbies and are active in the community. Some friends of mine convinced me to try mountain biking, especially now that the road season is over. My wife and I decided to give it a go. I asked around for a beginners route, suitable for novices. it was suggested that we try Hoogekraal. We were told that most, though not all, routes have an "honesty box", or some other informal method of compensating the farmer for use of the land. No problem with that. So off we went this morning to Hoogekraal. Absolutely stunning morning, lots of other riders about. I didn't see the honesty box immediately, and assumed it was on the side of the Blacksmith shed, or perhaps it was at the bike shop off to the side. If we didn't see it later, we could ask around. We were really quite excited at this new adventure. We set off up the gravel road, but when we got to just past the wooden bridge I realised our bike setup was all wrong, and my wife's tubeless tires weren't doing too well. so we turned back. Just as we arrived back at the entrance to the parking, a group of about 4 or 5 MTB'ers blocked the path, and demanded to know if I'd paid. No, I said, not yet. Is there a box? Where is it? At which point they got really rude and aggressive, and the incident got very ugly. I got my bike back to the car, put money in the box, which I had now seen, and we left. But the incident totally ruined any joy we had got out of our short foray into the world of mountain biking. Perhaps the MTB'ers feel their sport is too crowded and are trying to scare newbies away? Perhaps they are club members and feel that their routes are being abused, and there are too many freeloaders not paying at all? Whatever the case, I would like to suggest that you will achieve more by trying a decent approach first, then resort to bullying if that doesn't work. It would have been a better conversation if you had said something like "Hey guys - nice ride? Are you new here? Please don't forget to pay the fee if you haven't already. Come back soon and let us know if you need any info" Whoever you and your buddies are, all I ask is that you find it somewhere in yourselves to be better people, be kind, be supportive. Not only on your bike, but off it as well.