We’re fortunate to have such a variety of mountain bike trails in South Africa. From inner-city mountain bike parks to remote wilderness trails, from free-to-ride trails on public land to privately owned mountain biking gems. Since we launched TREAD in 2009, our crew has ridden most of South Africa’s mountain bike trails. Here’s a look at our top 15.
The Big Red Barn – No. 15
Location: Midrand, Gauteng
Best suited for: Beginner and Intermediate riders
What we love about it: There’s not much gradient at Big Red Barn, so it’s not intimidating for beginners as it’s fairly easy to pedal both ‘up’ and ‘down’ without feeling at risk of falling or going too fast.
What it lacks in gradient, it makes up for in singletrack. About 95% of the trails are singletrack. In order to make them more stimulating for intermediate and experienced riders, they have incorporated some really cool jump/berm lines. The flow on these could use fine-tuning, but most visitors won’t really know that and enjoy the feeling of riding up and down and around the shaped turf. There’s a fairly big pump track, which is sadly not used much because it’s about 1.5km from the trailhead. There is a singletrack loop at the trailhead for kids to enjoy though.
Signage: Because there’s some criss-crossing of trails, you sometimes find yourself off the trail you were intending to ride. But because it’s not a huge area, you tend to get back onto your intended trail without too much stress. Besides, getting a bit lost is part of what makes mountain biking mountain biking…
Grading: The trails have IMBA grading signage, with Green and Blue the most dominant. There are Black Diamond offshoots on the longest trail to challenge the more skilled riders.
Trails: There are four main mountain bike trails, ranging in distance from 12km to 27km. Note, with so many turns, the 27km distance takes longer than you’d expect.
Off the bike: There are two restaurants and many activities for kids and families.
Summary: An established, well maintained mountain bike trails park close to Pretoria and Johannesburg that caters for most mountain bikers. Very family-friendly.
Cost: Adults: R50, Students and Pensioners: R40; Children under 12: R30
Security rating: 4/5
Note: The TREAD TOP TRAILS 2020 is subjective. If you feel we are missing great trails from our top 15, please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
Look out for the remainder of our top 15 picks over the next few days…