Gauteng mountain bikers can look forward to 10 March 2018 when the second and final part of the Cradle of Humankind mountain bike trail will be officially opened to the public.
The Cradle of Humankind is a world heritage site, which limits the ability for the area to be developed and, as a result, it has become one of the most popular cycling routes in the country.
Thousands of road cyclists and triathletes choose to use the 31km ‘Cradle Loop’ for their training rides due to commitment by the Gauteng government and local landowners to raise awareness of cyclists, which makes the loop relatively safe. Mountain bikers have enjoyed a partial loop for the past few years, but will now be able to complete the full loop in clockwise direction.
In late 2017, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site Management Authority awarded a contract to build a 13km mountain bike trail within the road reserve of the D374 and D101 to the N3 Gateway Tourism Association, in partnership with Terra Firma Trail Solutions and CESBE (Pty) Ltd.
“We have been really happy with how the trail build has progressed” said Glenn Harrison, senior trail builder. “The support and interest from the public who stop to chat while we are working has been heartening, and it’s good to know that the new trail is going to benefit so many people and businesses in the area too”.
The extension build was aimed at ‘closing the loop’ of the popular 18km Cradle Gateway-2-Gateway mountain bike trail, located within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. The 18km trail was built as the first part of Phase 1, while a further 13km has now been built to complete Phase 1. The 31km circuit trail is now complete, and riders can enjoy a full off-road experience, bar a few road crossings.
“Because this trail is set in a provincial road reserve, it was important to focus on signage and road markings that are compliant with national law and that will prompt responsible behaviour from both riders and motorists alike. That said, it is a popular and busy area for both mountain bikers, road cyclists and tourists in vehicles, and we implore people to ride with awareness and caution”, said Matthew Drew of the N3 Gateway Tourism Association.
Drew also said, ‘’a key part of the project requirements was skills development, job creation and enterprise development. The trail team received ongoing training, development and mentorship during the project. Each team member has been trained in the necessary health and safety aspects of the project and they have also learnt the basics of trail building and maintenance from Glenn Harrison who is the Senior Trail Designer and Builder.
Kabelo Mongoma who is the Trail Team Leader has also received some basic training in the operation of specialised trail building equipment such as a mini-excavator. Kabelo and Glenn have begun to form a good working relationship. Based on this, N3 Gateway and Glenn have decided to include Kabelo on the project team for another trail building project which N3 Gateway has just been awarded. Kabelo will gain more experience and he will play a leadership and mentorship role on the new project which will include a team of five people.’’
There are five key parking areas for visiting riders, where one can park and link into the trail. The parking areas include: Bidon Bistro, Valverde Eco Hotel, Riverstone Lodge, Ground Café and the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve.
The trail is designed as a single direction trail for safety and trail flow reasons and all trail users are required to ride the trail only in a clock wise direction.
For public queries regarding the trail or the project, contact Matthew Drew of the N3 Gateway Tourism Association or Hein Pienaar (Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site) using the below details: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Source: Matthew Drew