The wide range of route options for mountain bikers in the Paarl region will again be on show when the Sanlam MTB Invitational takes place in November.
According to www.paarlmtb.com contributor Louis Ferreira, events such as the Sanlam MTB and the Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic had done a great deal to showcase Paarl as one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in South Africa.
Ferreira says the options which are available in the region surrounding the beautiful and mountainous Western Cape town has resulted in mountain bikers flocking to the area over the past decade.
“With a big corporate like Sanlam recognising the value of mountain biking, it definitely raises its profile. It also goes a long way to building brand loyalty among riders,” he said.
“In terms of riding there are single-track, gravel roads and tar roads. Or you can ride short or long.
“Typically, we tend to ride a combination of these.”
Besides the options available, Ferreira said the magnificent scenery in the region was another big attraction.
“On a clear day on the top of Waboom Kop (the highest point on Paarl Mountain) you can see Table Mountain, Cape Point, False Bay, Koeberg on the west coast and Kasteelberg at Riebeek-Kasteel in the Swartland.”
He said the Gravel Travel races which took place in 2008 sparked a massive interested in the Boland region’s mountain biking opportunities.
“Many first-time riders who entered the event in those days returned afterwards to ride the trails such as the Welvanpas trails in Wellington.”
The www.paarlmtb.com rider base is an example of how the sport has taken off in the region.
“After starting with three members in 2006, we now have around 600 local riders,” said Ferreira.
“Membership is by invitation only and any member can invite another rider to join.
He said to date there were about 3 500 local rides posted and the website served as a platform to find a ride, post a ride and meet new riding friends.