The 100-plus kilometres of hand-crafted singletrack on the Mouton’s Valley and Bugler’s Post farms on Piketberg are usually the private playground of the landowners and a few very select friends. The farmers open this hallowed network to the public on only two weekends a year - for The U MTB Stage Race (18 - 20 Oct) and, the Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge and Trail Run. The latter, which this year takes place on 7 September and celebrates 10 years, was created entirely for the benefit of the Piket-Bo-Berg Resident’s Association (PBBRA), a non-profit organisation heavily involved in community development in the area.
The PBBRA contributes to the local economy by supporting local businesses to supply goods and services for a variety of functions and activities. Their investment in the local community with regards to training, skills and business development further contributes to the growth of the local economy. Their philosophy is to make a conscious and sustainable difference in the community. This takes many forms, one of which is introducing members of the community to the joys of cycling.
Mouton’s Valley Farm manager Rickus Jooste, who is responsible for a large part of the current network is personally very involved in this. “For the mountain bike challenge anyone who lives on the mountain gets a free entry,” Rickus explains. “Then there are also a lot of the farm staff who marshal for us on the route during the race, these guys are often so inspired by what they see that they come to us enquiring about bikes.”
Mouton’s Valley owner Eric Starke, Rickus and the rest of the staff then set about sourcing good used gear. Their biggest success story to date is Wiseman Mukapira, the Head Gardener, on the farm. “He has really taken to mountain biking and now has three bikes,” says Rickus.
Wiseman’s arsenal now includes a used dual-suspension, a hard tail for his stationary trainer (a hand-me-down from Rickus) as well as a hardtail which his wife uses to commute to work. “It’s really humbling seeing him ride, you know,” says Rickus. “It’s a full baptism of fire if you want to learn to ride here, there is no jeep track, it’s all technical singletrack.”
In these past short years Wiseman has become highly technically proficient however and is putting in ever more mileage, making time, often into the night, to train after full days of hard labour.
In 2017 Wiseman did the 37km route of the Cycle Challenge, a step up from the 27km he rode the year prior. "I think this year I might be able to convince him to do the long one,” Rickus says.
Inspired to ride with Wiseman and help contribute to the cycling development of some of the other community members in Piket-Bo-Berg? Not to mention getting to enjoy the very special private trails? Enter online for the Piket-Bo-Berg Cycle Challenge and Trail Run today.
The Cycle Challenge and Trail Run is a family event featuring routes for all skill and fitness levels:
MTB: 63km, 37km, 27km & 12km and Trail Run: 18km & 8km. The event is now also CSA affiliated. The first 100 MTB and the first 40 Trail Run entries will receive a free 10-year Anniversary T-Shirt and a Boland Superspar goodie bag! *(This excludes the 12km Ride).