Bloemendal is part of the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club (TMTBC) Trail network, divided into upper and lower sections. At lower Bloemendal, riders are spoilt for choice with tracks suitable for beginners and younger riders, including a purpose-built single-track for youngsters from 4-8.
Play around on the pump track before following a flat forestry single-track leading to the fence at Majik Forest. Go straight up the mountain for a killer climb or turn right onto the infamous Lombards Terra, an excellent place to work on jumps and drops, and littered with berms and two nice little rock gardens.
The upper region, where Hillcrest, Contermanskloof and Bloemendal meet, is for the more advanced cyclist. One medium climb and one killer climb will have your legs pumping and your lungs gasping, but it is well worth it. At the masts, follow the signs to Bloemendal, starting with a tame stretch of single-track until you reach the intersection which crosses the Telkom concrete access road.
This is a mandatory portage section – no riding on the concrete section AT ANY TIME. A 2 km section of track provides an opportunity to have fun and work up some real speed with off-camber berms. Then you will need to dig deep for the 1.7 km forest climb back to the Bloemendal Restaurant.
This Mountain Biking Trail is intermediate level and lasts for 60-90 minutes. The very well marked trail starts at the parking lot in the centre of the farm outside the Dairy Shed coffee shop. Follow the signs and turn left onto the gravel road, riding through the farmyard and out again on a very gradual climb. Two well-signposted right-hand turns take you to the base of the main 106 m climb, where you can also turn right onto the Green route.
If you are following the Blue route, however, you can turn left and decide between to routes. Choice one is to go straight up the hill. Choice two is to follow the specially made single-track contours that wind back and forth at a more gradual ascent – and heart rate.
At the top of this section of single-track the route once again reverts to a wide gravel road as it makes its last slight climb to the right-turn arrow that marks the start of the fun. You are now exactly 8 km into your ride and it is payback time, with some of the sweetest trails you can ﬁnd in Cape Town. Turn after turn of quality, well-maintained single-track sweeps across the slopes of the kloof, gradually leading to the bottom of the valley.
After endless turns, jumps and berms, you will ﬁnd yourself at the bottom of the trail where you are met by another single-track climb up to some more jeep track that takes you to yet more single-track. This trail takes you past a dam on your left-hand side and under the subway into the old parking lot. As you approach the parking lot, turn left over the bridge, around the dam and up the Bushvine climb. This will lead you back to your starting point at the Dairy Shed.
There are various other route options at Contermanskloof, including the far more technical black route (full downhill route for those with extreme skill) and a beginner-friendly green route.
The mountain biking trails at Meerendal Wine Estate are ideal for beginners wanting their first taste of single-track riding, but the flat landscape makes them perfect for those in search of some endurance training, too. Start at wine farm buildings along a track meandering gently uphill before it descends onto the first stretch of single track down the 'Mineshaft' and across a small plateau.
Then climb the zigzag 'Stairway to Heaven', while having great fun attempting to stay on the concrete slabs. The climb is short and not too brutal; after cresting, continue along the flat for a further 150 m, then follow the Blue arrows to your left and up Dorstberg. This is an average climb, but on some of the sharp turns can be a bit difficult.
At the top, the arrow for the single-track descent will be right in front of you, and you can expect some serious fun. The trail is beautifully carved, with berms and small jumps down the side of Dorstberg. Halfway down you have three route choices around a big rock drop-off. Take the route that you feel is equal to your level of skill, then continue on the single-track until you find yourself back at the top of ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Follow the Red arrows this time, keeping straight at the bottom of Dorstberg. The perfect single-track is flat and even, requiring constant pedalling to keep momentum, perfect for training. Follow the signs and trail around the vineyards for another 3 km, until you come to a fast downhill jeep-track. Beware the ruts at the bottom of this hill, plus there is a deep donga as well just before you enter the last single-track of the Gum Tree Loop.
Exit the Gum Tree Loop and turn left into a series of bends through fields and vineyards. Cross a small wooden bridge, and ride around the scenic farm dam, over another wooden bridge and eventually back into the parking area.
Most people’s first reaction to Majik Forest is to question the spelling, but traditionally that is how it is written. Don’t question it, as no one seems to know why. Majik was one of the first trails to be built in the Northern suburbs, and for years it was the only alternative to Tokai in the area. Some may say ‘poor cousin’ to Tokai, but it is nonetheless an amazing ride in its own right.
Built on public open space, Majik is a long narrow green belt between the wine farms of Durbanville and the residential areas of Bellville and Parow. The trails are shared by cyclists and hikers, and riders should therefore be aware of other trail users (and especially their dogs).
Entry to the trails can be made via D’Aria wine farm, the Spar shopping centre in Van Riebeeckshof Road, or the parking area on the northern corner of Jip de Jager Drive and Van Riebeeckshof Road. Enter the trail and head upwards along the jeep track to the right, past office buildings on your right and continue to the next left-hand corner. It goes uphill here and is reasonably steep, but don’t despair.
After 1.5 km, the trail heads right again after a gate, with a bit more uphill. Continue straight on the jeep track or at around 2 km turn left onto some single track meandering up the hill. At 3 km, the paths merge again, and you should ride to the left and around the electrical substation. At 3.8 km there’s more single-track to the left; follow this flat route around the hill for 500 m to where it goes up a steep bit of track. Ride (or push) up along the right of the electric fence.
Turn right at this point and follow the amazing single track down. At the large drop off you have a chicken run to the right. Continue along the trail, enjoying the numerous little jumps every 10 m or so back to the power station where you ride around it to the right and then straight onto the single track again.
All that remains is 4 km of single track back to the finish - but what a single-track it is! Curving, whooping, berming, railing - down, down, down you go. There are lots of cross paths and routes, but all roads lead to the bottom so experiment at leisure. Turn right at 9 km over the little wooden bridge and the trail rushes down a ‘jungle’ path along the reservoir. Slow down a little as there’s bound to be a hiker or two - remember to smile and wave as you bomb out of the trees and into the finish.