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  1. With international travel not really on the cards for the foreseeable future, you probably aren’t the only one looking out for some local options for a weekend away with the family. Local travel is the perfect way to satisfy that travel craving and let’s be honest, we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. People travel from all over the world to visit what we have right on our doorstep. View full article
  2. One of those areas is the beautiful Overberg, specifically the coastline between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond. The Kleinmond area needs no introduction, it’s a firm favourite for many a weekend adventure or day trip for a scenic drive along Clarens Drive, but while a busy beach might not be everyone’s cup of ale, there is a small reserve just off the main road between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond that has some great trail running and MTB routes. While the MTB route is just 11km out and 11km back, it has some great views with just over 400m of climbing. Not much single track though but the jeep track is so technical at times it more than makes up for it. The route starts from the main car park where you can also purchase your day permit. It starts off with a gradual climb up along past the eco-cabins that have been put up recently. Called the Mbali Collection, they are 8 magnificent glass fronted eco-cabins built with as little impact to the reserve as possible. Five of them are 2 sleepers and three are 6 sleepers. The perfect place to relax and explore all that the nature reserve has to offer. Each cabin has its own bedding, crockery and cutlery and is powered by the Eskom grid with backup solar power. A Braai and grid is provided as well. The jeep track, as mentioned, is very rocky and technical so the ride still requires a fair amount of concentration. The road actually goes out all the way to the highlands road that links up to Grabouw but it’s unfortunately not possible to link up to Grabouw any more due to different landownership in the valley. The track follows along the Palmiet River which in summer is an excellent way to cool down as it can get quite warm in the valley. Winter rainfall means the river flows stronger in the colder months, which makes the views out over the valley pretty exceptional. Like I said, it might not have twisty singletrack and steep drop offs but the views more than make up for it. The jeep track route also makes it the perfect place for a novice or beginner cyclist to build up some confidence before tackling something a bit more advanced. There are a few river crossings which need to be navigated on foot but otherwise it is a great place to practise, especially if you have just moved from flat pedals to clipless pedals. We all know how daunting that can be, so having a space free of cars to build confidence clipping in is always a winner. Once you turn around you almost feel like you are in a different valley because you see things from a different perspective. It really makes the ride feel like you are going point to point instead of out and back. Also on the reserve is the Oudebosch Eco Cabins which make you feel about as close to nature as you can get. Just like the Mbali Collection they are glass fronted but they feature five four sleeper cabins with two separate bedrooms and a spacious kitchen, lounge and dining area. The type of place you can arrive on Friday evening with all your supplies and not leave till Sunday evening. A total mountain Emersion experience. Apart from the MTB track there are plenty of hiking trails of various difficulties waiting to be explored. The shortest being just 3km and the longest being 24km. For those who enjoy multi-day hikes, there is a fantastic two day hike called the Highlands Trail which leaves from the Iona wine farm. It’s safe to say that whatever sport or activity you enjoy other than your cycling, the Kogelberg area has access to it all. CapeNature is offering free entry at selected CapeNature reserves during Access Week from 13 - 20 September. For more information call 087 087 8250, email reservation.alert@capenature.co.za or visit https://www.capenature.co.za/events/access-week
  3. Hey everyone I've recently noticed an increase of more enduro bikes (hopefully riders) on my local trails here in, Hermanus, in the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Although these trails are not bad, they do lack any form of challenge or gradient. A few mates and I have been building a pretty steep and gnarly-ish trail and would be keen to show or send the location of to anyone who is looking for something a bit different in Hermanus. If you're a local and have some spare time to contribute to finishing up the trail and or maintenance, it would also be greatly appreciated. If you are coming for a weekend and need someone to show you some of our more gravity focused trails we've built (and found ) do let me know.
  4. This Friday we have a one day only sale that really is beyond value for money. Book today for the 2-8 Sept 2021 Hessequa/Overberg Cruise, and pay only R4375pp (Normal Price R8750.00), and we will include the 9-11 Sept Stanford Cheese and Wine Ride for free, as well as 1 nights accomodation in Stanford on the 8th to link the two trips together. That works out at R480pp/pn, for a full service, fully catered luxury MTBing holiday. This offer is limited to the first 6 persons to book, thereafter normal pricing applies. You absolutely wouldnt be able to find a better value for money MTB holiday. The Hessequa/Overberg Cruise starts in Stillbay, and over the next 6 days you wind your way along the coastal region, into the Overberg, stopping off at highlights like Arniston and Cape Aghulus, before finally coming to an end in the quiant overberg village of Stanford. The Cheese and Wine Ride, is a weekend riding trip, based out of Stanford, and shows you around to some of the best riding in the region, while sampling wines and cheese, that the area is famous for. This ride allows you access to private property normally not afforded to the public, and even the chance to preview some of the tracks for the 2022 edition of the Cape Epic. If you book this combo package, you get a full ten day MTBing adventure of note, including 9 nights of luxury accomodation on a dbb basis, snacks and refreshements on the ride, support vehicle with mehanical backup, transfer from goerge Airport or from Cape Town on the the first day, and Transfer to Cape Town Airport on the last. We can assist you with assembling your bikes on arrival, as well as boxing for the return flight if needed. This offer is limited to no more than 6 persons - book now to avoid dissapointment - non riding partners are welcome to join @ the same rate as riders. To book now, click here *all our other trips are currently marked down with 35% too, until 31 October 2020
  5. Hi I'm planning another 6 to 10 day MTB Trek with some overseas friends. I want to cycle from point A to B to C etc. I've done Humansdorp to Calitzdorp to Matjiesriver into Die Hel, over Die Leer to Boschluyskloof and down Seweweekspoort. Anyone done any similar treks in the Overberg, Karoo or Baviaanskloof areas with some recommendations? As little tarmac as possible please Thanks Jaco
  6. In true Dirtopia style, the vibe is laid-back. There is no hustling into the start chute and jostling for position. It is about getting out on your bike and enjoying the countryside. In this case, the countryside is particularly easy to enjoy. Caledon in spring is characterised by vast, rolling fields of bright yellow canola blossoms, interspersed with blankets of green wheat. The route is predominantly open farm roads, with a few fun sections of single track. Ideal for clearing out the cobwebs and getting back into the swing of covering ground on a mountain bike, and we couldn’t have hoped for better conditions, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Day 1: 57 km 1 050 metres ascent The first day took us in a loop from the start at the Caledon Hotel and Casino under the N2 highway towards Greyton. The first and only truly nasty climb of the event, “Jean se Bult” hit us head on twenty kilometres in. This ploughed straight up the side of the hill on corrugated stubble: no smooth, comfortable switchbacks here. It quickly thinned out the field. After a fast steep descent, we were back onto rolling farm roads, before tackling another long steady climb. Things got a bit interesting on the ensuing descent: a couple of sneaky ruts lay in wait to claim the front wheel of careless riders, from the squealing brakes around me, I wasn't the only one fighting to hold a line. The remainder of the route hugged the skirts of the mountains alongside the N2, undulating rather painfully. After two hours on the bike, my legs were sending a clear message to say they were quite happy with the ride so far and would like to stop now. The route had other plans. We crossed the N2 tantalisingly close to the finish at Caledon Casino and promptly headed out in the opposite direction until once again we were lost in the peaceful quiet of yellow and green fields. After feeling the stab of one or two more sharp climbs it was time to head for home and the lure of an ice-cold Coke at the finish. Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock Day 2: 58.5 km 1000 metres ascent The second day saw us loop out in the opposite direction towards Tesselaarsdal and the escarpment. A highlight for me was riding through the wind farm: right underneath the massive turbines. They may not be to everyone’s taste: but I find them strangely soothing and beautiful against the backdrop of the yellow fields. Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock The climbing today was gradual: undulating hills with plenty of fast open gravel descents to rest the legs. Once again, the perfect conditions meant it was a pleasure to be on the bike with good company and even better views.The toughest climb of the day was a somewhat sandy stretch up to a singletrack section that winds along the escarpment with the most breathtaking views of the green patchwork of the Hemel en Aarde Valley spread out below. There are few rocky sections, and fast sandy turns to keep you on your toes, before you weave your way back to the farmlands to tackle a few more rolling hills. Once again, my legs were protesting, and it was a case of knuckling down and spinning to the finish while enjoying the views and the warmth of the early spring sun. Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock Find out more All the images from the event are available here: http://www.photosport.co.za/ Results can be found here: https://www.trailtag.co.za/
  7. The fun-filled weekend will be presented by Bike Hub at The Caledon Casino, Hotel, Spa and Entertainment and caters to both amateur and advanced mountain bikers and trail runners of all ages. Those who prefer not to get their hands dirty can opt for spa treatments and delicious meals instead. “We are looking forward to yet another successful Staalwater Mountain Bike Challenge and Trail Run this year. The Caledon, which is a launch pad for a stunning array of outdoor and adventure activities in the area, is proud to be associated with the Staalwater event,” says Marketing Manager, Ailsa van Wyk at The Caledon. Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, the organisers says, “The event is for everyone, from those who are serious about their sport, to those who are keen to enjoy some outdoor activity with their friends and families in a beautiful setting. The local charity Round Table will do fundraising by supplying marshals for the routes and managing the waterpoints." "Day 1 is generally tougher than Day 2 with both 40km and 60km route options having roughly 250m of additional climbing on the Saturday. Remember you can do either day or both with any permutation of distances. The 2nd day also offers a 15km option for the less fit.” continued Botha. Prizemoney is up for grabs by the winners of the long-distance stage race too! Pre-enter online by the 16th of August to receive some goodies at registration too. The profiles and full route info is available on the website. At only R400 for the Staalwater MTB Challenge long routes, it is the most affordable 2-day mountain bike outing on the calendar, with riders free to choose their accommodation and meal options to fit their budgets. The late August date coincides with vast fields of yellow canola blossoms and lush green wheat fields, making for a visual feast not to be missed. The host, The Caledon Casino, Hotel and Spa offers panoramic views of the Klein Swartberg Mountains, conveniently located only an hour’s drive from Cape Town. For more information on the venue, visit, www.thecaledon.co.za or event info on www.dirtopia.co.za. Registration opens at Dirtopia trail Centre on Friday, 18 August 08h00 with breakfast and lunch specials at Dirtopia Café. Call 0218844752 or email info@dirtopia.co.za
  8. When your day starts like this things can only get betterThe day got off to a shaky start: rain and high winds, and about four punctures before we even left the house. We got on the road a good two hours later than originally planned. Revved on coffee and armed with three gravel bikes, and a road bike with seriously beefy tyres, we headed off from the lighthouse to our first coffee stop in Bredasdorp. En route we rescued a feral cat with it’s head stuck in a foil chip packet (don't ask), dealt with another puncture, and absorbed ourselves in being a bit damp. The sun was out by the time we pulled into the picturesque Bredasdorp Square for our first coffee, giving us a chance to thaw out, and raising our spirits before the next leg of the journey. Coffee stops were the order of the daySeamus had planned a route that would have taken us in a loop to Protem and then back to Bredasdorp, but our late start meant a change in plans, and instead we headed into unknown farmlands for a shorter loop. Getting onto the gravel farm roads was a relief after the busy, narrow tar road between Agulhas and Bredasdorp. It was a pleasure to roll through green fields, watched over by windmills, and race the bikes down the rockier parts of the road. The Overberg in winter is an experience best had on the back of bicycle. Photo credit: Seamus AllardicePhoto credit: Seamus Allardice After being chased by a very angry farmer, we figured that maybe we had gone wrong somewhere, and had to retreat, finding our way back to Bredasdorp in time for a leisurely lunch. The next leg took us from Bredasdorp to Arniston via the tar. This was pleasant easy mileage, with the wind at our back: perfect riding for after lunch. Photo credit: Seamus AllardiceRiding through the fishing village at Arniston was a highlight: having never been there I was intrigued by the picturesque white fisherman’s cottages, and colourful fishing boats. A quick stop at the beachfront to admire the view, and top up bottles: thanks to our amazing support driver Pierre, and we were back on the road. Photo credit: Seamus AllardicePhoto credit: Seamus AllardiceWindmills, green fields and endless gravel characterise riding in the OverbergOur route back to the lighthouse at L’Agulhas took us via gravel backroads, where we were kept company by a few startled buck, and herds of sheep. The corrugations, paired with a hefty headwind meant we worked off our lunch here, before we popped out onto the tar back to Struisbaai. A visit to the harbour for fish & chips is an important part of exploring a coastal town. Photo credit: Seamus Allardice As the light and temperature plummeted we raced the last few kilometres to the lighthouse, ready to end the day with a hot shower, followed by a cold Fraser’s Folly and fresh fish and chips at the harbour. The original route planned, courtesy of Seamus. I don't want to link to our Strava file from the day in case we accidentally trespassed while we were lost.
  9. Photo credit: Alan van Gysen Riders can choose to ride any of the days or make a weekend of it and participate in both days. The usual Saturday morning trail run offering of 7km &15km remains. At only R400 for the Staalwater MTB Challenge long routes, it is the most affordable 2-day mtb outing on the calendar, with riders free to choose their accommodation and meal options to fit their budgets. Presented by Bike Hub, the popular Sunday mountain bike routes return with 15km, 40km and 60km offerings. The two-day format offers overall category prizes for riders that complete both long routes, or both of the shorter 40km options over the weekend. Each day is treated as an independent fun ride with prize giving daily. The late August date coincides with vast fields of yellow canola blossoms and lush green wheat fields, making for a visual feast not to be missed. The host, The Caledon Casino, Hotel and Spa offers panoramic views of the Klein Swartberg Mountains, conveniently located only an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Both mountain bike and trail running events offer routes for amateurs to advanced mountain bikers/trail runners so bring the whole family for a fun filled weekend! The Overberg region with its stunning scenery, diverse landscape and quiet dirt roads is fast-becoming a favourite destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Those looking for a getaway can spend the weekend at the Caledon Casino, Hotel & Spa with an array of activities from great dining to gaming and after a day of running or cycling enjoy the restorative powers of the hot springs at the hotel spa. Meurant Botha from Dirtopia, the organizers of the Staalwater Mountain Bike Challenge and Trail Run, says: “The Staalwater Challenge while giving professional riders a challenging race is also a fun-filled opportunity for those who simply want to enjoy a refreshing ride in beautiful surroundings with their friends and families. You don’t have to be super fit or fast to be part of it. We have different routes to suit different fitness levels. “So, bring your family and friends and participate in this great outdoor adventure experience.” Photo credit: Alan van Gysen DATES: Saturday & Sunday, 19 & 20 August 2017 VENUE: The Caledon Casino, Hotel, Spa and Entertainment. Caledon, Overberg. REGISTRATION: 18, 19 & 20 August – Check website for further information.DISTANCES & ROUTE DESCRIPTIONS: The shorter routes are designed to encourage newcomers to the sport. The event will feature two trail run distances of 7km for the kids, family and friends whereas the 15km caters for those wanting more of a challenge - both routes take participants on a scenic tour of the countryside with some great singletrack sections. The trail run takes place on the Saturday and the mountain bike challenge is on Saturday and the Sunday. The Mountain Bike Challenge, which starts and ends at The Caledon Hotel entrance, takes racers on an adventurous journey through a mix of private farms and district dirt roads. There are three routes of varying distances and level of difficulty to choose from; 60km, 40km and a 15km fun ride for beginners and children. Well worth the drive to this beautiful area. The local Round Table charity assist with the waterpoints & marshalling to raise funds for their various projects. Trail Run - Saturday, 19 August 2017 Distances: 15km & 7km Costs: From R100 to R150 depending on distance and time of entry Mountain Bike Challenge - Saturday, 19 August 2017 Distances: 60km & 40km Costs: From R160 to R250 depending on distance and time of entry Mountain Bike Challenge - Sunday, 20 August 2017 Distances: 60km, 35km & 15km Costs: From R100 to R250 depending on distance and time of entry Pre-entries receive discount and something extra at registration. There will be refreshment station on the routes and all finishers will receive a medal. Make sure you stay for prize giving and the lucky draw! Lots of entertainment at the Casino with surprise draws, kiddies play area & jumping castles, bar, meal stalls and more. To enter, visit www.dirtopia.co.za and make sure you get the discount with pre-entries. For more event information, email info @dirtopia.co.za. Call Dirtopia Trail Centre on 021 884 4752 for further event enquires. Follow @Dirtopia on social media and use #Staalwater for the events.
  10. Participants enjoyed three glorious days of traversing two nature reserves, Potberg and De Hoop, on their mountain bikes. While last year’s event sizzled in an entirely different way when the beautiful old historical building was razed to the ground in a devastating fire, this year the event was HOT – without tragedy. Fltr: Shaun Sale (third), Justin Tuck (overall leader), James Lennard (second). Hosts William and Nini Stephens of De Hoop Collections have worked tirelessly over the last year and pulled out all the stops to create the new “Shed”. The new venue – alongside the magnificent De Hoop vlei is the perfect venue in a perfect location for this awesome mountain bike race.Day one started 20km away at the Kliphuis in Potberg. The first 12km took riders through private, bright yellow canola fields with many ostriches curiously staring at the unusual sight of more than 100 cyclists racing through their usually quiet turf. The Breede River Conservancy led the riders towards the first water point on the doorstep of the St. Sebastian Olive farm - the largest olive farm in the Southern Hemisphere. The highest point of the route – the Potberg – came next after a single track climb through wild protea shrubs and fauna unique to this area. The crest rewarded riders with a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean below. From there, the route descended back into the Potberg reserve towards and beyond water point two, hosted by the Knysna Development Sport School. From there the ride went through Wildskamp, teeming with herds of bontebok, eland and flocks of blue cranes to mention a few of the highlights. The day finished after local landowner Wouter and his friendly Ouplaas Agri waterpoint staff fuelled riders before the final stretch to the finish at the De Hoop Collection Shed, where they were greeted by Gunther and a glass of Mitchells’ Craft Beer. Fltr: Nikki Biesheuvel (third), Katie Lennard (first), Lara Lyness (second). Day two offered a choice of two routes around De Hoop reserve. Starting at 09h00, riders headed south towards the dunes past the De Hoop Vlei and were greeted by a flock of startled resident pelicans. Justin Tuck and fellow Sales Hire racing team mates made their break and maintained their overall lead down the 4km descent to the northern point of the vlei, where the flooded causeway forced riders to carry their bikes over the 100m crossing - adding an unexpected and exciting element to the day. The Knysna Education Trust at water point two gave welcome relief to riders before the final challenging single track climb. Riders then descended back into De Hoop Reserve to the finish at the De Hoop Collection Shed. Finishers were rewarded with bottle of Sijnn 2012 Low Profile red from local Sijnn Winery - the very first winery in the Malgas area. Overall ladies winner was Katie Lennard, who came in just seconds behind the overall male leader, Justin Tuck. He was followed closely by team mates Shaun Sale and Frank Lennard. Second and third ladies were Lara Lyness and Nikki Biesheuvel.Day three offered a social ride to Koppie Alleen where guides at De Hoop gave an informative talk about the whales wallowing in the swells below. After a hearty bacon and egg roll, riders bid a sad farewell. Next year, the event will take place on the first weekend in spring – 3 and 4 September 2016. For more info on this and other exciting mountain biking events, go to www.gardenrouteevents.co.za.
  11. The breath-taking scenery, diverse landscape and quiet dirt roads of the Overberg region provided the backdrop for the 5th Annual Staalwater MTB Challenge and Spring Trail Run this weekend, 6-7 September. Click here to view the article
  12. The fun-filled weekend was hosted by Dirtopia at The Caledon Casino, Hotel, Spa and Entertainment and catered to both amateur and advanced mountain bikers and trail runners of all ages. Those who preferred not to get their hands dirty opted for spa treatments and delicious meals instead. Meurant Botha from Dirtopia says, “This was the second year we included the Spring Trail Run which took place on Saturday (6 September). Runners were given the option of either a 7km or 15km trail run and the turn-out was nothing less than spectacular with over 100 participants taking part in the fun.” Fast becoming a favourite annual ride for mountain bikers, the Staalwater MTB Challenge saw bikers from all walks of life take on either a 15km, 37km or 60km route on Sunday (7 September). The Caledon Casino, Hotel, Spa and Entertainment Marketing Manager, Ailsa van Wyk says, “This is the 5th year we’ve hosted the Mountain Bike Challenge on the property and we were pleased to see such a great turn-out with over 500 mountain bikers participating in this year’s event.” “Luckily, the weather conditions were good and our participants did not have to deal with any additional challenges resulting from heavy rain or wind. It really was an unbelievably fun event for outdoor-loving families,” van Wyk concludes. The long distance mountain bike event was won by Dominic Calitz, followed by Jarryd Haley in second place and Craig Boyes in third. It was a tight race, as the three stayed together for most of the ride. In the ladies it was Adrian Vera, Michelle Lombardi & Anel Henn in the top three. The next big event on the calendar is the Spur MTB Classic to be held in the Helderberg on 28 September. For more information visit www.dirtopia.co.za.
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