As far as single track trails go, the newest kid on the block is the Schapenberg trail network and iRide Africa was invited to ride it a few weeks ago.
The trail-head starts at Ongegund Lodge, just next to Sir Lowry’s Village.
I didn’t get too much chance to check the lodge out but it looks like you can grab a good breakfast, muffins and tea/coffee for very good prices. The entry fee is a bit steep for non PPA members at R40 but is only R20 if you do belong to PPA.
The ride starts out on gravel roads through the vineyards. Vineyard roads mean one thing to me -STEEP! Sure enough, the start of the red route was steep but there are the easier yellow and green routes to ride instead.
The first half of the red (and black) route was mainly on vineyard roads with beautiful scenery and views but only had a few sections of single track. The fact you are constantly passing farm buildings and houses kind of takes away from the ‘getting away from it all’ feeling , but I’m sure the local Somerset West riders aren’t complaining!
Once we had dropped back down and connected to the railway, more to the East, things got a lot better.
The mountains start towering over you and the tough climb upwards is well worth the incredible views over False Bay. The last summer fires are still evident as you climb through the remnants of burnt pine trees and the fynbos has grown back brilliantly.
This part of the track is used for the popular Wines2whales stage race and I can see why everyone raves about the trail in this race -its pretty steep and narrow with tight switchbacks! I found the corners a bit too tight and slow to give a feeling of flow down the trail but they are a great challenge (just maybe not ideal in a race with thousands of people on the same trail?).
The lower section has some nice rocky sections to blast through-can’t wait to get my trail bike on this trail!
We left out the Southern part of the black trail and opted to try the red route down which was tonnes of fun! Fast, flowing, wide single track with the occasional loose corner (I reckon a few well placed berms down here would make this one of the best trails in the Cape). We joined up with the black route again and it basically followed a similar route back over farm roads and through vineyards.
Well done to everyone involved in getting these trails approved and made-it’s great to have another trail system close to Cape Town! The trails seem to cater for everyone (though I didn’t ride the green route).