In line with the growing trend in cycling across South Africa, the greater Muldersdrift area and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (COH WHS) has become one of the most popular on-road and trail cycling destinations in Gauteng, attracting thousands of cyclists on weekends. And still it’s growing as more trails are made available by private facilities in the area and local tourism authorities building new cycling trails.
Trevor D’Oliveira, business spokesperson for the Muldersdrift Communication Action Group, says the community strongly supports the great variety of cycling initiatives that promote the vibrant outdoor culture of Muldersdrift. “The area is extremely cycling friendly acting as the major gateway to the dedicated cycling lanes through the COH WHS, with many of the hotels and restaurants like Riverstone, Something Country, Moon and Sixpence, Rhino and Lion Park, Hertford and Valverde already offering safe cycling parking and specials for cyclists.”
“Following the hugely successful take up by cyclists of these Government funded dedicated cycling lanes which are clearly marked throughout the Cradle of Humankind, one of the most exciting initiatives that is currently taking place is the introduction of formal mountain bike trails within the road reserve. We believe this to be a first in South Africa and will help to leverage and grow the enormous interest and support that already exists,” he says. The project is being driven by the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site Management Authority supported by the Gauteng Tourism and the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and aims to establish sustainable mountain bike trails within the road reserves in and around the COH WHS. The trails are already being cut and the first 17,5km section is due for completion early next year.
Hein Pienaar, Deputy Director of the Management Authority for the COH WHS, confirms construction on the trail has already started in the vicinity of one of the Muldersdrift Gateways, along the D374-road from Kloofzicht heading towards the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. Johan Kriegler, a trail building expert and his team of trail builders from the Western Cape, are building the trails. While they are being built, Pienaar requests cyclists avoid these trails as they are not yet safe or suitable to ride on. “This affirms Government’s commitment to protecting cyclists’ right to ride in a safe and protected environment,” says Pienaar.
Private initiatives to support the broader Safe Cycling Initiative are also in their planning stages. Security & Manpower Solutions (SMS), for example, will be launching a new security product in 2014 to assist the large community of cyclists travelling through the area. This will include services like rapid roadside assistance for repairs of punctures and basic mechanical problems, transport to a safe area in instances of more severe problems and basic medical supplies for dehydration, exhaustion and the like.
For those cyclists who prefer to ride on some of the private trails, there are also a number of options at Avianto and Heia Safari to name just a few. Avianto, through its new partnership with Tracker, will be focusing on increasing the safety of MTB cyclists and introducing monthly skills clinics. Safety marshals will be out on the course during the weekends and permanent first aid kits at strategic locations will be installed in the bike park which comprises a beginners green loop, an intermediate blue loop and for the real MTB enthusiasts, a challenging black section and remote West loop. A formal announcement on this partnership will be made shortly.
In addition Heia Safari hosts regular mountain bike races for riders of all ages, including night races with a monitored children’s area and a range of entertaining activities for the whole family to enjoy while the races are on. “Muldersdrift and the surrounds offer some of the best cycling facilities in the country and we look forward to building this cycling community even further in 2014. These cycling initiatives offer great opportunities for the whole community and will provide much needed employment for locals when it comes to maintenance of the public trails,” concludes D’ Oliveira.