A blog about what I love….photography and bicycles!

Sani Spoors (continued)

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Right, now for the second contribution from last weekend. A superb day of cycling in the Underberg area.  I had heard of the Sani Spoors, had friends ride them (and rave about them) but never had the chance to ride them myself.  When I learned that I would be in the area for a long stay I contacted local business man and mountain biker, Torsten Gopp, and asked him to show me around the area.
On the Saturday morning we met at the Duck Cafe, on the Garden Castle Road, at 08h30. Torsten advised me that, with two hours to ride, the longer 34km trail would be the route for the day. The route is superb, starting along the Mzimkulu river, crossing streams on the bridges, whipping along the banks where, if you overcooked a corner, you could spin off, fall a meter or two into the cold berg water.
After half an hour of river riding we climbed up through farmlands and wattle stands into the open grasslands. This was a lovely area, pristine grassland with rock bands. The track passed quickly from band of rock to band, through the quick grassland sections to the more technical rocky areas. After an hour of this wonderful riding we found ourselves overlooking the Mzimkulu again. A beautiful spot where the trail runs along the top of a 30m high cliff. Here are some photographs of Torsten on the trail on top of the clifd overlooking the river.

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From this beautiful spot we again dropped down into the valley via a trail running through pines with slow switchbacks. At the bottom we again followed the river back the the Garden Castle road, crossed ot and climbed the hill above Khotso horse trails. Here we found massive Cape Vultures roosting on th cliffs and in the grass. They flew in from near the Duck Cafe, there must have been a dead dairy cow or something, and landed on the hill. The slope is approximately 45 degrees with the trail running over rocks along the contour. I rode looking down at vultures flying along the slope closer than 10m to me.
There was not much that could top that and we rode to the end hapy, after a great ride and superb experence with the vultures.
If ever folks are in the area and ypu ride bikes you just do these trails. I have been fortunate enough to ride some of the better trails in SA, from Tokai to Fountains, Howick to Hogsback, Cascades to Knysna and have to say tht the trail we rode is up with the best.
Hats off to the locals and kingpin Ian?? Who put the routes togeter and maintain them. A day here costs R40, less than a Magnum icecream in Germany Torsten noted.
Here is a clip of the map of the route

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