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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A hidden gem near Wellington

The day after the race dinner, a group of us went out to sample some singletrack near Wellington. The Bains Mountain Bike Trails start on Welvanpas Farm just outside Wellington. We rode the White Route which climbed up through the vineyards before turning into a brilliant singletrack roller coaster, carving its way through the forests and fynbos. I lost count of the number of wooden bridges and stream crossings, probably because I was too distracted by the views of the towering mountains all around us. At times it was tight and twisty, then open and flowing, with ups, downs and switchbacks, the trail had everything that makes a mountain biker smile! (and it was almost all rideable on a singlespeed ;))

These trails exist largely due to the efforts of 2 local riders, Brett Rightford (the winemaker at Diemersfontein) and Pieter Van Wyk. Over the last 3 years, they've arranged the access and put together a trail network across a few different farms and in the process have created an amazing MTB destination. Pieter spends a lot of time out on the trail with a shovel and the amount of work put in is impressive. There are currently 3 routes: White - 18km, Yellow - 17km, Blue - 10km. Riders need permits which are available at the trailhead coffee shop and wine tasting on Welvanpas Farm can also be arranged as an extra. The area plays host to the Gravel Travel MTB event held annually. (Their soon to be launched website will have more details: www.graveltravel.co.za but in the meantime there's more info here)

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