The bicycle provides so much inspiration that it’s little wonder it has its very own day dedicated to paying homage to this efficient and beautiful creation on World Bicycle Day on 03 June. We all have extremely happy memories of the first time we rode a bike – the feeling of complete freedom and wind blowing through our hair!

With lockdown having eased over the past few months and people’s desire to connect with nature and to be as fit and healthy as possible, the trails that have been fortunate to survive the impact of COVID are seeing increasing numbers of visitors and members.

Over the years, Sappi’s Trail Programme has resulted in partnerships with trail custodians including the Karkloof Country Club, Nelson Mandela Capture Site Trails and Cathkin Trails Club in KwaZulu-Natal and Mankele Mountain Biking and Tranquilitas in Mpumalanga. Agreements and systems have been put in place to make riding, running or walking trails on Sappi’s properties a top-class experience.

The Karkloof Country Club and its fantastic network of more than 250km of trails has been amazingly resilient and successful over the past few months. This is highlighted by the Karkloof Trails being ranked number one in the TREAD Top 15 Trails of 2020.

Visiting the Karkloof Trails is not just about the riding;  it’s also about the cafe’s, restaurants, farmers’ markets, art and craft shops  and  attractions such as the Karkloof Falls that make this a wonderful experience all round. Much like roads, these trails are economic arteries which bring life to rural areas and tourism economies, helping to create shared value. The trend over the past few years which has been for people to seek out the more  authentic experiences has been intensified by the  COVID pandemic, as we have realised just how important it is to share in such experiences with family and close friends.

It’s extremely encouraging to see the growth in popularity of cycling amongst new entrants and children – the future generation of cyclists. Little compares to the look on a child’s face the first time they ride a flowing singletrack and manage to handle a few technical twists and berms. The sparkling eyes and flushed faces and the ‘’Wow Dad,  did you see how high I ramped!’’ creates those unforgettable moments between  parent and child.

Bicycles are a symbol of sustainability which in times such as these convey a welcome message about harmony between people and planet. For most of us creating a more sustainable planet and a thriving world has become a strong focus of our daily lives. As we venture into new territory and a new era, it feels like the bicycle will play an increasingly important role not only as a method of getting from A to B but also in respect to broadening our understanding of what it means to be a human being. We all have a responsibility to make sure that getting dirty, feeling our muscles ache and sharing in the ups and downs that come with trails and life is something that generations will be able to experience and enjoy for many years to come.

Happy World Bicycle Day everyone and thank you for supporting the trails over the past year. We’re all in this together and we will emerge stronger, fitter and ready for all the memorable adventures that await!

Paid partnership with Sappi