You can choose to do easy rides, setup by Soeren Mades, near the homestead or try something a little longer. There are two marked trails on the farm that are accessible to mountainbikers, although some level of experience is recommended. Trails numbered 3 and 4 allow mountainbikers to explore the Karoo landscape the farm has to offer. You will need double shocks and a puncture kit for the longer ones. You will be biking through our springbuck camp and will surely be able to see some close by. Please bring your own bike along.
Recently Lucas Dreyer, from Pretoria, surprised us with a detailed review of his experience he had on a route of 62.3km JP suggested to him. This info will surely intrigue the more serious mountain bikers. It has as much detail in as you will ever need! Read about it below under "JP's Loop".
Distance: 11.6 km.
Duration: 1 hour biking
Trail 3 forms a loop around the farm, and bikers will cross rocky hills as well as sheep pastures. At certain points bikers may have to lift their bikers over sheep gates if locked and over streams depending on the rain, although these streams are very narrow and easily crossed.
Distance: 19.7 or 21.3 km.
Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours
Trail 4 leads to a mountaintop on the farm from which bikers may view Compassberg in a spectacular panorama. The trails begins on a dirt road and passes a dam where bikers may see flamingoes depending on the season. As the trail ascends the mountain, the path becomes rockier. After reaching the summit, bikers have a choice of a longer or shorter route back to the main farm area.
808 m gain
200W Estimated average power
I asked JP if there was a scenic 60-80km section of dirt road and without hesitation he pointed me in the vicinity of
Sneeuberg. (See Google Map and downloadable KMZ and GPX files below)
I underestimated the beauty that would unfold in this exploratory ride and wanted to pay tribute to JP by naming the
ride and sections after its chief navigator.
Be prepared to go out early, preferably sunrise. The temperature very quickly becomes a test in itself and make sure you have enough water.
Preparation wise this is not a casual ride. There are two climbs that will help you understand that the Karoo does have some climbs to take note of.
The views are spectacular, I stopped many times to take some Pano shots and took some GoPro footage on the faster descents. The surface was all-round good with loose rock on the latter part of section two.
The ride is broken up into three distinct sections:
Segment 1: JP se loop (Ganora tot bo)
377 elevation gain
The air is crisp and you are warming up on this rolling segment that has Compass berg to your left for the majority of time.
As you enter Sneeuberg reserve you will encounter Springbok, Zebra and Wildebeest.
A steady climb will see you reach the highest point of the ride (1744m)
Segment 2: JP se loop (Mynskag na N9)
This segment leads you into a South Eastern valley that stretches as far as the eye can see. Be prepared for some speed if you are willing to select the longer gears. Old railroad crossings remind you of the bygone era of transport logistics.
Segment 3: JP se loop (N9 na Ganora)
350m elevation gain
This section will be uncomfortably hot if you did not manage to start early enough. It starts at the N9 turnoff to Nieu-Bethesda and a quick glance up the valley will remind you of the constant climb to reach your destination. A few 12% grade climbs in short succession but elation once you reach the top and from there on it is all downhill. Watch out for the dry riverbed crossings that has some thick sand, keep it straight and peddle hard.
Here are the *.gpx and *.kmz files.
This ride was special due to the fact that I had no expectation. I will be sure to return and better some segments of my own. Happy riding!
One last option is to bike from the farm to Nieu Bethesda