Trail Daze | Down by the River

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Following our previous installment of Trail Daze, where we traveled North West in search of greener pastures, we bring you another sensory overload of lush green, endless singletrack that will make you want to pedal until your legs fall off. Simply referred to as the River Trail, it follows along the Magaliesriver. You will be forgiven to think this gem lies somewhere in New Zealand, and not 45 minutes drive from Johannesburg.

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Our base station during our visit to the North West - with soon-to-be trail dog Benyah, keeping us all entertained.

 

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Farm house vibes and fiddling with bikes - so not a care or rush in the world. What trail riding should be all about.

 

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Hayden leading the way to the river through the spectacularly green and lush pecan plantation.

 

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Having a few mates come over for a braai and a beer is one thing but having them come over to enjoy a network of trails that run through the beautiful Pecan Farm I stay on is on a totally different level! I felt very privileged to show the guys what my backyard had to offer! Hayden Brown

 

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Down by the river, the trails were hard-packed, narrow and fast. Roots, full canopy above and as much flow as you could possibly want. Yes.

 

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I will never feel sorry for a Jo'burg mountain biker ever again! Just an hour from the concrete jungle lies a network of beautiful trails at Van Gaalens. The river trails have great flow that will inspire beginners to take up this beautiful outdoor lifestyle while experienced pinners can still have loads of fun at speed. Daniel Dobinson | iRideAfrica

 

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Hayden scrubbing at mach 3 through the narrow woods.

 

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The trail crosses the river a few times over some narrow bridges, so if you're planning to ride till the sun sets like we did, pack a headlamp as things could get super sketch over these structures in the dark.

 

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Always good to use guinea pigs to check if it's safe to venture out there with cameras and such.

 

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The epitome of flow, the River Trail makes you want to crank it till your legs fall off with fast flowing single track that keeps you alive with a big grin on your face. Heading up the ridge we found some awesome trails with a variety of loamy forest and rough rocky sections, leading back down to the start with some full throttle single track. It took a bit of hike a bike but it sure was well worth it. Having been to the area many times and not ridden several of these trails, I will definitely be back to doddle along them again. Chris Pearton

 

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Heading toward the ridge line, the trail exits the lush tree canopy and opens up.

 

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Not part of the official trail per se, but if you stumble upon a tunnel, I guess you got to ride it?

 

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Local fauna and flora doing its thing.

 

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Higher up the trail, just under the ridge line, things were a little less groomed, fairly overgrown and pretty technical with some proper rock sections in the mix. Trail riding at its finest.

 

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Even though you pass through active, commercial farm land, we hardly encountered any other humans - giving that feeling of escaping to the less beaten track.

 

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This project is made possible by:

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GPS: 25°47'26.5"S 27°45'16.5"E

Permit: R50

 

All images by Ewald Sadie

www.esphotography.co.za

instagram: @ewaldsadie

 

Riders : Daniel Dobinson | Hayden Brown | Chris Pearton

 

Stay tuned to Bike Hub for more Trail Daze coming soon...

 

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26 Comments

notmyname, Mar 28 2016 08:03

Rad. Rad. Rad!

KarlvN, Mar 28 2016 08:09

Nice. Reminds me of the Garden Route Trail Park...almost.

Kylie, Mar 28 2016 08:11

Super cool! :) When will we see some women shredding?

rouxtjie, Mar 29 2016 08:09

keep em coming lads....super cool pics and comments

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 29 2016 08:45

AWESOME... 

Werner van Aardt, Mar 29 2016 09:41

Where do you buy the permit to ride here? It looks amazing.

rouxtjie, Mar 29 2016 09:57

Where do you buy the permit to ride here? It looks amazing.

van gaalens....they have a shop where you can buy your day ticket.

Werner van Aardt, Mar 29 2016 10:08

van gaalens....they have a shop where you can buy your day ticket.


Thanks

Bibi, Mar 29 2016 11:00

Keep these coming ....

Hackster, Mar 29 2016 02:56

Really enjoying this series, don't stop.

Jewbacca, Mar 29 2016 04:20

Did you guys see Ewald and Trail Daze was nominated for a pretty epic picture book award?! Well done chaps! Such an epic way to showcase talent, our trails, a super awesome way to ride bikes and most of all Dobbo's beard...

 

Super stoked for you Ewald and co... 

Bike Whisperer, Mar 29 2016 08:02

Excellent article. This is in my back yard and it is heaven. Wake up, breakfast and get on the bike and ride. You can easily do 80km ride, without any doubling up. Perfect!

Squier, Mar 30 2016 06:51

van gaalens....they have a shop where you can buy your day ticket.

 

Funny that they never mention Van Gaalens though.

 

The River Trail is super awesome, but there is so much more superb trail there.

 

Really awesome photos!

canadonis, Mar 30 2016 08:07

Wow amazing route and pics.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 30 2016 08:32

Funny that they never mention Van Gaalens though.

 

The River Trail is super awesome, but there is so much more superb trail there.

 

Really awesome photos!

They do. In Dan's quote, it's there for all to see. In big text as well... 

NicoBoshoff, Mar 30 2016 09:09

They do. In Dan's quote, it's there for all to see. In big text as well... 

Well to be fair, I suspect he means, it's a pity there's no mention of the other trails at Van Gaalens.

 

I do sometimes wonder why the trail details aren't put up.  Distance, gradients etc. like they do on PB.  Would be a nice addition.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 30 2016 09:10

Well to be fair, I suspect he means, it's a pity there's no mention of the other trails at Van Gaalens.

 

I do sometimes wonder why the trail details aren't put up.  Distance, gradients etc. like they do on PB.  Would be a nice addition.

True dat. 

Squier, Mar 30 2016 09:34

They do. In Dan's quote, it's there for all to see. In big text as well...

Ok, read it again to catch the brief mention.

The river trail is an awesome section of trail, so it probably is the first logical spot to consider for Trail Daze, and they did cover it brilliantly.

There is so much more though. Another stop would perhaps be warranted.

RocknRolla, Mar 30 2016 09:40

yep, the place caters for all levels.

 

Would love to see Ewalds take on the cliffhanger section. So mutch of adrenaline and technical.

 

 

The article really does the trail justice...and Ewald's pics are really something special.

Admin, Mar 30 2016 09:47

Ok, read it again to catch the brief mention.

The river trail is an awesome section of trail, so it probably is the first logical spot to consider for Trail Daze, and they did cover it brilliantly.

There is so much more though. Another stop would perhaps be warranted.

 

Well to be fair, I suspect he means, it's a pity there's no mention of the other trails at Van Gaalens.

 

I do sometimes wonder why the trail details aren't put up.  Distance, gradients etc. like they do on PB.  Would be a nice addition.

 

The Trail Daze crew had limited time up north so had to focus on specific sections of trail, and naturally being a Photo Feature the most visually appealing trails get the first love.

With time (and more budget) the plan is to cover many more of SA's trails in the series.

Trail info and related trails ala' PB is firmly on our radar. Although strictly speaking not part of the Trail Daze series, a trail database with the sort of info mentioned is in the pipeline and will tie in very well with Trail Daze as supplementary content.
 

Peach., Mar 30 2016 03:16

Had a rad day shooting on these trails, Ewald is a brilliant photographer and captures the scene really well.

There really is a lot more to ride there but I think we covered the best and most fun of those trails.

All I can say is keep an eye out for the next months pics ;)

Machine Mother, Mar 30 2016 06:08

Hey guys!
Thanks for the article and great photos. They made me nostalgic!
I used to stay in that house on Astley Manor with my folks!
They lived there from 2006 to 2012. My husband introduced me to mountain biking in 2011. I was a bit skeptic at first and wondered why he'd bamboozled me into buying bike. 
That first 2km of single track (the track on the south side of the river, if you head straight down from the house, cross between the two small dams and down to the river) was my first taste of mountain biking! Racing along that smooth track om my cheap Dunlop felt like an awakening. 

During our first 24-hour race in 2011, my husband and I started the lap from Van Gaalen and spent the night in our own house. LOL. We just continued with our lap the next morning, being very well rested. 
For me, Van Gaalen's is home; especially Astley Manor. 

 

peanutville, Mar 30 2016 07:53

Great pics!

needleshy, Mar 31 2016 06:08

U got me chasing trail.

The series really motivates me to take the bike out and ride.

Awesome setting for a backdrop. If I'm ever up that side I'd definitely tap that trail.

DirtyFrank, Apr 04 2016 04:39

Lovely pics, inspirational stuff!