A 10-minute drive north of Randburg, west of Fourways and east of Roodepoort gets you to Avianto, a classy, established Italian styled functions and weddings venue. There’s also a network of mountain bike trails on the property built and maintained by the Ilumin8 crew, headed up by former pro mountain bike racer, Richard Beswick. Recently they added another 10km to the Blue Trail, which we went to check out.
CLOSEST TOWN/CITY: Randburg/Fourways/Roodepoort
DESCRIPTION: There are three distinct segments to the 32km Blue Trail. The first six kilometres are windy with gradual gradients through grassy fields, a nice way to warm up your muscles and fire up your skills co-ordination. The next 11km is mostly over steep, rocky terrain and along the river, which is challenging, if you’re an intermediate level rider and stimulating if you at an advanced level. The final 10km includes some surprising (but very rideable) obstacles on the Avianto property on the west side of the river before taking you under the tar road and into a very new section that incorporates some of the old Pambili XC course before bringing you back to the trailhead at Avianto car park (on week days) or Sports Club (on weekends). If you’re an experienced, confident rider, then tackle the Black Trail segments that branch off the Blue Trail. They’re pretty challenging, so make sure you have all your wits about you!
DISTANCE: 32km total
NOVICE: 0/10 (stick to the Green Trail)
TYRES: Definitely tubeless as you ride over a wide variety of surfaces and need to have lower pressure to manage the rocky bits with optimal traction. There’s a lot of cornering, much of it on hardpack, which can get sketchy in the dry months, so a squarer-edged profile tyre on the front is a good option.
BEST THING: The varied terrain, surfaces and gradients. We reckon it’s the most balanced mountain bike trail in Gauteng – truly a bit of everything…
WORST THING: The Blue Trail configuration isn’t entirely obvious. So familiarise yourself with it before you start the ride.
BEST SEASON: Year round actually. Some spots can get muddy in summer, but most of the trail is on terrain with very good drainage. Summer months can get hot, so ride early; or late.
GPS: S 26 01’ 35” and E 27 50’ 40”
GET THERE: From Randburg/Cresta/N1 – Turn onto M5 Beyers Naude and head north (away from Northcliff/Cresta, towards Hondeydew). Carry on straight for approximately 12km, passing Garden World on your right, then take a left turn onto the R114 Muldersdrift, just before your reach the N14 highway. About 1,5km later near the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the Avianto Sports Club signs. On weekdays, proceed to the main Avianto Hotel where you can buy your permit.
COST: R30 per rider per day.
SECURE PARKING: Yes.
BE CAREFUL OF: Traffic. You ride for about 400 metres next to a tar road when connecting to the last part of the 32km trail. Stay off the tar!
BE SURE TO: Take cash for a meal. The food is of a high standard.
CONTACT: www.ilumin8events.com/avianto-trails/ ; 083 6001289
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 30, 2014 – All rights reserved