Closest Town: Port Ellizabeth
Grading: Easy to very technical | Duration: 45 minutes
Location (Area/Province): Eastern Cape and Western Region
Configuration: 6km circular loop, with options
Start Point: Sunnyvale Farm
Access: Permit available from Cyclo Pro
Beware of: Some challenging rock gardens, slippery when wet
Facilities: Ablutions and water at Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve
Cell Reception: Good
These two individual courses combine to guarantee an excellent day of play on your bike. Both routes are purpose-built with singletrack to bliss you out for hours on end, plus you can link into Longmore Forest if you feel like more laid-back plantation road riding.
On your bike
Your first stop is Woodridge School, one of the few educational institutions in South Africa to boast its own Nationals-quality XC (cross-country) route. The purpose-built route offers some exhilarating and challenging singletrack riding. It’s great on a windy day, as the plantation offers both shelter and shade. Permits are required and these must be shown at the gate when entering the premises. No less than 95% of the 8km course is groomed singletrack, dipping and diving through forest sections, plantations and some open grassland.
From Woodridge, it is a doddle to get to Thornhill, a tiny village just across Van Staden’s Gorge and approximately 6km further along the N2. This is a more recent, but no less exciting riding venue, catering to both rookie riders and the more hardcore XC racing snakes. Local mountain biker Grant Puttergill has put together a killer 6km route on his Sunnyvale farm, and again you will be bombing into a veritable singletrack paradise.
You are allowed to ride here with the Woodridge permit, but as it is private property, you must first contact Grant before riding on the farm. A phone number will be given to you when you buy your Woodridge permit, and you can also find out exactly how to get there.
Longmore Forest is close to Thornhill, and is probably the best-known plantation of three (managed by ‘Mountains to Oceans’, formerly SAFCOL) in the area.
Park at the old barn on the left after entering the gate to Sunnyvale (there are ablutions here), and immediately crank onto the singletrack in the direction of the N2. Zigzag through a bamboo forest and along a few tight bends through indigenous Albany thicket, before bombing through blue gum stands on a clockwise circuit back to the farm house. There are bridges, drop-offs, log jumps, roots and the full gamut of natural obstacles to keep you focused along this super-fun ride. [/div2]
Off the bike
Port Elizabeth has it all. Golden beaches for surfing, slouching or real excitement as the Sardine Run
comes past in June/July accompanied by whales, dolphins and sharks. Exceptional hiking trails (Alexandria or
Sacramento), horseback outrides, Big 7 viewing, amazing 4X4 venues, and even elephant-back safaris in Addo … come and do it all!
Telephone: +27 (0)83 778 9487
GPS: 33°55’01.3” South / 25°12’08.6” East