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  1. The son of a Kruger game ranger, Patrick qualified as a quantity surveyor and spent years being meticulous about the built environment. In 2011, he decided all the construction he would ever want to do, had been done. After working on the One&Only Cape Town resort project, Patrick decided to retire his QS materials ledger and laser pointer, and left for Spain. What was supposed to be a European solution to never building anything again, serendipitously became an evolution: from QS to trail-builder. It was during his Valencia sabbatical that Patrick started riding mountain bikes seriously, on those amazingly raw trails that Spain’s Mediterranean mountains are renowned for. Riding flamed an obsession which soon rekindled his building skills too, as Patrick started to work the trails with locals in southern Spain. After returning to South Africa, he applied for the vacant position of Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club (TMB) trail manager. Without a portfolio of work or any notable experience Patrick was appointed and a few years later, he serves the largest mountain bike club in South Africa with 120 kilometres of trails. “I didn’t think they’d appoint me, but it’s been the best job ever since. Although having 7000 bosses can be challenging. But I love being out in nature, creating something sustainable and enjoyable within the ecosystem.” The man in the middle Today Patrick lives amid the trail network he built, at Hoogekraal farm – ironically, the first trail project he salvaged. “I remember coming here during the initial project scoping and it was merely going to be a gravel grinder route. Bennett Nel was involved and I could see he was both a gifted rider and builder. He also recognised that my Spanish riding experience has given me a broader understanding of what could be done than was prevalent in the South African thinking framework at that time regarding trails.” Patrick resolved to make Hoogekraal a proper project and even today it remains a signature trail, evolving – and offering an engaging riding experience for everyone. “I apply the 10% rule with my trail-building: ignore the top 10% of technical riders and the bottom 10% of people who possess marginal bike skills. I want to keep the 80% in the middle happy – I have to, that’s where the bulk of membership money sources from and ultimately they’re subsidising everyone else.” His success in servicing the demands of South Africa’s largest club have been anchored in the synergy of two skills, ordinarily not found in those who craft singletrack for a living: an acute ecological conscience and innate quantitative ability. “If you build, you are disturbing nature. And I love nature, it’s the consequence of growing up on the border of Kruger Park. We’re building on private land – yes – but I still want to keep it as ecologically sustainable as I can. And with that, are the latent building industry principles I refined in my professional career before: quality, time, money.” Despite constructing trails littered with features signifying progression, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy, but the cost of doing that would defeat the object of trail-building in itself. An issue unrecognised by most. “Fundamentally, I know that most of the trails we are building are for what you’d class as blue riders. Bikes are getting better, people are upskilling a bit each year – and I’m trying to add features, but to keep many of the trails sustainable, instead of them eroding into ruin, they require smoothing out in winter.” Patrick does not want to leave a legacy of unrehabilitable trails. “People complain that I’m making trails a highway, but I need to at times – or they’ll erode to a point where you’re ruining the surrounding ecology too – and that’s just unacceptable; I don’t care how much you value perceived gnar.” Hard work – with an intangible reward It’s evident Patrick loves the mindfulness of mountain biking, that focus of purpose it brings to people descending trails – and how it can banish the dark thoughts that cloud us after a testing day, when we’re cranking out a climb, away from everyone and everything else.For him, the rewards are not financial or even acknowledgement from riders. “When I see a skilled rider descending one of my builds, and he’s interpreting it in a way I never could, and loving it. That is my stoke. Similarly, when I see an average rider, having an immersive experience – being out in nature, facilitated by our trail network – it’s as rewarding to me.” The job of trail-building remains a testing pursuit. Nature is not easily altered and shaped to our design and Patrick cuts most of Tygerberg’s trails by hand. “It’s not glamorous. At all. The work is physical and progress incremental, you need a vision and the commitment to execute. It’s why I plan my winter build maintenance as I did projects in the building trade, I have everything entered into project management software, enabling me to move assets and spot discrepancies as our rainy season progresses.“ And the future? “I’m 56 now and loving what I do. With 7000 people to please, I’m kept plenty busy and I enjoy working with my team. We’re up at 06:30, in the dark, labouring together.” The success of Patrick’s Tygerberg network leverages heavily on the benevolence of land owners. “We’re in a good place now, with the farmers – and truth be told: without them, there’s no mountain biking. I think the risk from entitled riders, trespassing, was more of an issue a few years ago – people understand what is at stake now.” Considering Patrick spends most of his time cutting and clearing a way through the immense backyard that is Tygerberg’s trail network, you’d expect a forestry tool to be his most valued piece of equipment. But it isn’t. It’s a bike. An eBike of all things. “The eBike is my most important bit of kit. Absolutely. On Tuesdays, I ride the entire network, all 120km. It would kill me on a normal bike, and my purpose is to document what needs to be done, it’s maintenance reconnaissance. On an eBike I can do that, getting everywhere that I cannot with the club’s build bakkie or a motorcycle.” For Patrick Roberts, it has been a case of ‘once a builder, always a builder’. But where is this trail-builder’s choice destination to ride? Well, it’s a place far away from his home at Hoogekraal. A raw, natural, challenging trail – much like the ones in Valencia, where his introduction to mountain biking really started. “Sanddrif in the Cederberg, that’s my favourite place to ride. It’s natural, relatively untouched and pure - built by the elements.”
  2. We have a lot of crashes on our Tygerberg trail network. With 6000+ members, a trail network close to 100km and the nature of the sport, accidents happen. Reaching crash victims is difficult and time consuming and there are some points which you may want to ponder when assessing the risk of your next ride. Bridges: they are probably the biggest cause of serious injuries. While most are wide and covered in mesh, going over the side happens too often (especially with less experienced riders) and normally results in serious neck injuries.Strava chasing: difficult to gauge how many crashes are a result of this but riders definitely take more risks when racing the clock.Overestimating your skill set: know your limits and if you want to stretch them, ask for advice from more experienced riders or go on some skills training.Who will pick up the pieces: do you ride on your own? Do you have the wilderness search and rescue number (021 937 0300)? do you wear id such as IceID?Landowner relations: most land owners cannot understand us - they sit on their stoep with their klippies and coke and wonder when we're going to grow up. They don't like emergency teams flattening fences and cutting their way through gates to rescue mountain bikers.Your safety is your responsibility, be aware of the risks and manage them suitably and don't think you're invincible.
  3. Shortly after announcing the segment, Darryn Stow's title was snatched by Die Muishond. Darryn went back to rectify things but that KOM fell a few hours later when Tiaan Jordaan raised the bar with an outstanding effort setting a new mark of 9:13. This put our challenger, Nils Hansen, under some serious pressure to perform, forcing him to employ some drastic measures. https://www.strava.com/segments/5831618 Tiaan wins with South Industries The team at South Industries were super impressed with Tiaan's KOM claiming efforts on Cape Cobra. Through some light Strava stalking they noticed that Tiaan had recently broken a rim. South Industries jumped into action. How do I ride this segment? Hoogekraal Cape Cobra (Down & Up) is on the Hoogekraal farm just off Vissershok Road in Durbanville and is part of the larger Tygerberg MTB Club trail network. Riders must purchase a day permit (or be a Tygerberg MTB club member) to ride these trails. Permits for Hoogekraal can be bought in the Hoogekraal carpark. There are two options available: 1) place cash into the honesty box or 2) pay using the Snapscan app on your phone. The current permit fee is R40 per rider. More information is available on the Tygerberg MTB Club website here. Grand Prize: Contego Unit Trust worth R30,000 At the end of the series, Contego are giving away R30,000 worth of unit trusts. All you have to do is ride your bike!How to enter: Join the Contego Segment Hunter Strava club and record your segment rides on Strava. Get out and ride! After each segment is announced go and ride it. Please ride safely though, there is no prize for being the fastest. For each Contego Segment Hunter segment you ride, you will be entered into the draw to win. So if you ride all six segments during the series, you will receive six entries. Episode Prizes - Win with Duesouth By taking part in the Contego Segment Hunter Strava club you will also be in line to win a Duesouth voucher valued at R3,000 to spend in their stores each episode.Episode 3 winner: Carl Toua Nominate your favourite segments for Contego Segment Hunter: We're looking for you to nominate your favourite Strava segments to be featured in our Contego Segment Hunter video series. If your segment is chosen you could win a Cadence Nutrition hamper valued at R2,620. You can still nominate your segments here.
  4. The third instalment of Contego Segment Hunter at Hoogekraal's Cape Cobra turned out to be a fiercely contested battle. Click here to view the article
  5. We're excited to launch the first episode of our online video series Contego Segment Hunter. The first segment in the series is Bloemslang - Just the Drop at Bloemendal Wine Estate. After consulting with the team and local riders, Gert Heyns was selected a worthy challenger to Louis Bresler-Knipe's King of the Mountain. Watch the video below to see if Gert takes the KOM. Click here to view the article
  6. Gert looking cool before heading up the hill. This is where it all starts. Dropping in under the Bloemslang board atop Bloemendal Wine Estate. Strava's Live Segments announcing a new Bloemslang champ. Gert never rests. Even while celebrating with a wheelie, he's on the lookout for more KOMs to claim. Our victorious Contego Segment Hunter heroes ride off into the sunset. The Bloemslang - Just the Drop leaderboard: While Gert Heyns sits on the top spot, it is unlikely that previous KOM holder and local rider Louis Bresler-Knipe will allow it to stand without a fight.https://www.strava.com/segments/10658168 Grand Prize: Contego Unit Trust worth R30,000 At the end of the series, Contego are giving away R30,000 worth of unit trusts. All you have to do is ride your bike!How to enter: Join the Contego Segment Hunter Strava club and record your segment rides on Strava. Get out and ride! After each segment is announced go and ride it. Please ride safely though, there is no prize for being the fastest. For each Contego Segment Hunter segment you ride, you will be entered into the draw to win. So if you ride all six segments during the series, you will receive six entries. How do I ride this segment? Bloemslang - Just the Drop is on the Bloemendal trails which are part of the larger Tygerberg MTB Club trails. The Bloemslang trail is found on the upper section of the Bloemendal trails. Members of the public must purchase a day permit (or be Tygerberg MTB club members) to ride these trails. Permits can be bought at the restaurant and club house on Lower Bloemendal which is on the Tygervalley Road (M13). Permits allow access to Bloemendal, Nitida, Hillcrest and the Bloemendaaler (Upper Bloemendal). Permits cost R50 for adults and R30 for children aged 18 years and under. More information available on the Tygerberg MTB Club website here. Nominate your favourite segment to feature in future episodes of Contego Segment Hunter:We're looking for you to nominate your favourite Strava segments to be featured in our Contego Segment Hunter video series. If your segment is chosen you could win a Cadence Nutrition hamper valued at R2,620. You can nominate your segments here.
  7. I hear there is a big fire out in Durbanville and that parts of the Tygerberg mountain bike trails might have been damaged. Does anyone have more information on this?
  8. I ride from Panorama, hit jip de jager to majik (only 10km or so) then into trails http://www.tygerbergmtb.co.za/trails.html then back round past barrel, burgundy back into Panorama area. Keen to meet at say Majik forest if you not from Panorama area and pick up any trail along the Tygerbergmtb route Always keen to do some extra riding in the week but have heard stories about riding trails alone... Are you a member of the Tygerberg mountain club? I work remotely so can meet any time.
  9. Once a year, for a few months, Contermanskloof transforms into a winter wonderland with a seemingly unending expanse of rolling grass fields and ribbons of trails running through them. Click here to view the article
  10. Contrasting the extremely barren and dusty conditions during the summer months, you're welcomed by lush greenery and a cool breeze rising up from the Atlantic ocean. Add to this a clear and relatively windless day, and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear as you bomb down these fast, open trails. A quick 30 minute drive from Cape Town and a R40 day pass gets you access to around 18km of mountain bike trails, but with so many variations you could literally ride all day until the sun sets, and not run out of trail. The Dairy Shed offers drinks and light meals - apparently killer omelettes too. Few trail networks out there feature their very own personal bike shop like The Bike Shed. Parts, clothing and a workshop to sort out any issues. Good to see The Bike Shed owner Jaco Veldsman back on the trainer after suffering a horrendous injury to his leg. iRideAfrica[/url]']Rolling hills, steep valleys and incredibly green landscapes sprinkled with beautiful trails - You'd be forgiven if you thought you were in the England when riding Contermanskloof in the Winter! In complete contrast to the end of Summer, the trails are grippy and the surroundings have a 'soft' feel to them. While most of the trails have beautiful flow and an intermediate IMBA rating, some of the steepest and gnarliest rock gardens in the Cape are also found here. The riding experience is made all the better with a great coffee shop, friendly bike store as well as the fact that Tygerberg mtb club members can access another 70+ km of trails from here. Daniel Dobinson | The climb to the top of the trail is a mild one with the trail zig zagging up with out too much of a gradient. Getting to the very top at the radio mast is a different story though, and might require some pushing... With an European eye, winter in Cape Town is really sweet and actually sometimes better than summer to have a nice ride. Just outside Cape Town our ride in Contermanskloof revealed perfect conditions - a nice mix of sun/clouds, reasonable temperature and a nice packed and grippy ground! The hills we rode offer an incredible view on the swartland vineyards on one side, and Cape Town city on the other side; one of the best spots to enjoy a sunset over the mother city. Matthieu Hamel Fast, flowing open sections, with tacky dirt under your wheels and the majestic Stellenbosch mountains lurking in the background = grinning from ear to ear. Hold your bars like this Rolfe, not like that. The trails are here well maintained and cater for vastly different types of riders, from beautiful bermed corners to technical rock gardens and jumps big and small. Rolfe van Breda Rolling hills and ribbons of singletrack for days. Riding 'till the sun sets never gets old. Specially with a few home brewed beers waiting at the bottom courtesy of Rolfe. Riders: Danield Donbinson | Matthieu Hamel | Rolfe van Breda Experience your own Trail Daze with iRideAfrica. Links: http://www.evocsports.com | http://www.hullabaloo.co.za | http://www.silverbacklab.com
  11. Rogue riding is a big problem on our trails and we would like to inform the greater mountain biking community that further steps are being taken to prevent free loaders from riding our trails. This will include both visible policing, name and shame and blog/strava monitoring. So if you wish to go and set a new Strava record on a Tygerberg members only trail, please be sure to first purchase your discounted 2014 club membership on www.tygerbergmtb.co.za Note to our club members: please ensure that your bike boards are visible on your handebars and if you want to invite non-members, please stick to the trails that offer day permits (Hooggekraal, Meerendal and Contermanskloof).
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