Oak Valley’s Pieter Visser may be a winemaker by trade, but he’s a mountain biker by heart. Traverse the network of purpose-built single-track routes at this wine estate in the Elgin Valley and you’ll immediately realise this is true.
Park in the designated area on the right as you enter the estate, as all the routes are easily accessible from here. Saddle up and immediately crank off on a section of easy singletrack meandering through a copse of ancient oaks.
Various routes – from family-friendly Green and intermediate Blue to advanced Red or extreme Black – are yours to choose from, but keep in mind these are frequently updated as new sections are added.
At the start of the advanced Red Route, head along a gentle climb onto some grassy ridges and get ready for your first buzz: fences are crossed by means of wooden stiles (steep, pyramid-shaped bridges) allowing you to bomb at speed while ignoring the gates. These also offer a quick escape route should you be charged by some of the not-so-docile cows.
Crank the bermed trail as you drop down and around a tranquil dam through a pine plantation. Here you have the option of joining the challenging Black Route, which climbs into the foothills before looping back down to the Red Route. Although technical and steep in places, the Black and Red trails are by no means beyond the level of most experienced riders.
By now, you’ll have done at least 13 kilometres, with some great riding still to come. Much of the remainder of the Red Route super-tubes along the river course, bombing across wooden bridges, through tightly turned poplar forests and up and down flowing drop-offs.
Occasional sections of speedy gravel connect you via apple orchards to the next stretch of single-track, and if you’re not hyperventilating by the time you blast back home via the oak trees, you’ve definitely died from a pleasure overdose.
Best of all, Oak Valley boasts a bike wash, showers and clean ablutions. Plus the lovely Peregrine Farm Stall is just a short drive down the N2 – its venison pie is just about the best post-ride snack ever!
Combine your ride with a wine tasting (preferably afterwards) on weekdays from 09h00 to 17h00 and Saturdays from 10h00 to 14h00. The Elgin Valley boasts a host of other rides, hikes and leisure options, with Eikenhof Dam worth checking out for a swim or paddle.
The cows at Oak Valley get grumpy … seriously. Keep an eye on them and give them a wide berth where possible, especially when there are calves about.
The Spur Adventure Sprint Series takes place at Oak Valley Estate throughout the year and offers an excellent opportunity to combine your ride with a run and swim for an action-packed day. Race entry costs R160 and you can pre-enter at www.quantumadventures.co.za.
Turn left towards Villiersdorp along the N2 just after Peregrine Farm Stall near Grabouw. Follow the R321 past Elgin Station until you see the Oak Valley entrance to your right. GPS co-ordinates: S34° 09’ 18.68”, E19° 02’ 46.85”.
Grading: Easy to extreme
Duration: 1,5 to 3,5 hours
Configuration: Options from 14 km to 32 km
Start point: Main gate parking area
Terrain: Single-track. Loads of it.
Entry requirements: Permits cost R30 at the gate (seven days a week during daylight)
Cell reception: Good coverage
Tel 082-567-8639, www.oakvalleywines.com
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Tags: Eikenhof Dam, Elgin Valley, mountain bike trails, mountain bike trails for families, mountain biking, Oak Valley Estate, Oak Valley Estate mountain bike trails, Peregrine Farm Stall, Pieter Visser, Spur Adventure Sprint Series