avenue

fence bridge

grass block paving

sunset

 

Hazendal Family MTB Trail was completed on 25th September 2015.

A normal trail building exercise involves working in inaccessible places high up and out of the way, necessitating a large amount of work being done by hand. Carrying in tools and supplies, digging out and compacting the soil imposes an extra strain on the labour force. For the new trail at Hazendal we used a different build method due to the nature of the terrain. The farm was flat with open fields mostly comprising of very sandy soil with easy access, so it was possible to use machinery to do the heavy work.

Having mapped and flagged the routes, then brush-cut a rough path, we used a three ton roller to flatten and compact the soil. Working in winter can be hazardous though as the ground is deceptively soft in places. Walking over it gives no clue as to it's ability to withstand a three ton roller-compactor thundering along, and twice we had to pull it out of a muddy bog where it suddenly sank up to its axles.

Fortuitously, the farm was in the process of rehabilitation after most of the fields were mined for sand over the previous two years. Large heaps of soil were being trucked in and dumped prior to spreading. We hired a JCB to mix selected piles of soil and clay and drop them around according to our trail map. With the right consistency obtained it was possible to spread and compact the mix into a hard durable surface on top of the sand in a metre-wide ribbon, perfect for year round riding.

After spreading, we used a one-ton plate compactor to shape the trail so water would run off either side. Within two days it had baked hard and was ready for action!

Using the heavy machinery saved us many days of labour; this 5km trail was built in 15 working days, and the result is a beautiful trail through woodlands and open fields, flat and easy to navigate for riders of all ages and abilities!

 


 

 

Rooiberg / Breede River MTB Trail was completed in August 2016.

An approach by the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy in 2015 opened up the possibility of utilising Conservancy land to build an entirely new trail just outside Robertson next to the R60. Firstly an aerial survey was done using Google Earth, then a ground survey was carried out by bike and on foot. Eventually an idea of what could be done was formulated and the findings presented to the committee. The green light was given in March 2016, route flagging began and by June we were ready to move in with the labour. A total of 15kms of single-track was built to augment the mostly jeep and farm track trail, nestled in the foothills of the scenic Langeberg Mountains. After 21 bridges, fence-ride-overs and styles were constructed, 120 poles planted and more than 300 signs attached, the route was opened on 1st September 2016.

For more, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rooiberg-Breede-River-Conservancy/832590770180556

The trail is laid out in three loops each with short, medium, long and extra-long options, catering for riders of all ages and abilities.

Starting at Rooiberg Cellars the Red Route covers up to 40kms of typical Karoo landscape, fairly flat riding, with a bit of moderate climbing on the L and XL routes. 5, 20 and 30km options available with the 4kms of single-track accessible from M, L and XL. This route can also be started at the Saggy Stone Pub, again with S, M, L and XL options (4, 18, 25 and 40kms; follow the Blue route arrows). Look out for springbok, duiker, ostrich, secretary birds and other raptors.

From the Rooiberg Cellar, follow the signs to cross safely under the R60 and head for the Green Route ‘Roam Rooiberg’. With 4, 7 and 8km options this is a shorter trail with more climbing, but nothing lung-busting unless you attempt the 10km XL option. A very pretty route consisting mostly of flowing singletrack that utilizes two kloofs on the property to create a thrilling, remote but non-technical trail. The optional XL route has a testing rough and rocky climb up and down with great views over the valleys below. Look out for Eland, baboons, klipspringer and tortoises.

Cross back under the R60 and head for the Purple Route. With 9, 13, and 19km options this fairly flat route follows a dry river bed into the valley opposite, alongside fruit orchards and vineyards before turning around to head back towards the cellar. On the way is an optional challenging climb up and thrilling ride down into a remote valley that brings you to the 3km easy flowing singletrack. This area is home to porcupines and wild boar, both nocturnal, but watch out for the holes they dig!  

 

 

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