Let’s get into the wildlife of the south african trails. Drikus is a dedicated Mountain Biker and Trail builder who would love to show you around!
Who are you and what’s your favorite discipline?
My name is Drikus, and currently I live in Sunny Durban. A smaller city surrounded by warm ocean waters and mountains. I am madly in love with Enduro and trail riding at the moment.
How is the Mountain Bike scene in Durban and South Africa?
We have a huge amount of XC trails here. Many of which form part of farm roads snaking between sugar cane and other crops. We have quite a few awesome choices though, specially considering that Greg Minnaar is very active in the community here and helps with sponsorship a lot. Greg has his own shop in Pietermaritzburg which is about an hour from where I live, and there you will find a bike park known as Cascades Bike Park. Which formed part of the Downhill world Champs back in 2014, that trail still exists and I’ve attempted it. Though I’ve barely survived it. We also have Hakahana, which is in Gauteng. It’s a different scene, with most of the trails being made up of rock gardens as features. It’s a must visit in my honest opinion! There’s also Africa’s first cable way close to Hakahana. There’s also Cape Town. With the Cape Epic and many other races. Many bike parks there cater for Enduro racers as myself, and while I’ve not had the luck of trying them out yet I am hoping to go there very soon! Then there is my favorite place, Giba Gorge. Currently we are preparing for the Provincial Championships which forms part of the yearly Gravity series.
Can you describe us your local trails?
We have about 65km of explorable trails here. They start with rookies which are graded as purple routes in our park. From there we have our green routes for beginners. Though some of the green routes can be challenging. Then we have blue for intermediate, which is where I spend most of my time. And then we have our red routes, our black routes and our diamonds. Up to triple black diamond. Quite a couple are made up of pallet jumps, some which are only minor kickers to quite large jumps that will send any rider quite far. There are a lot of different features here, from river crossings to large flowy berms.
Which animals can you see on a classic MTB tour?
Due to the area we live in and our Giba Gorge being a natural habitat and wildlife reserve for animals there are a lot of animals here. They are shy though, and are known for keeping their distance from the trails. We have a lot of monkeys, some Gazelle and I’ve even been lucky enough to see a Mountain Lion on our trails. Luckily it was just as scared of me as I was of it. Then we have loads of snakes, from blind mole snakes to Black Mambas. We know of a couple of very big mambas living there. But they tend to stay away from human contact. There are some amazing birds and smaller critters around as well with community going on trips through the bush at night for educational purposes. Some of the more unreal MTB areas would include the waterfalls, of which there are quite a few and they are all amazing and I’ve had a dip in a couple of them to cool off. Humidity is very high here so with enduro gear you will be sweating very quickly. The white tower on top of the one mountain is also a favorite, it is one heck of a climb but is worth it for the view and route back down. There’s also a climb known as Heartbreak hill. I’ll leave that one open to the imagination. As noted above, we have many river crossings as well as the derelict buildings which are strewn all about the park. It’s surreal to pass these buildings where no-ones been in a long time.
How do you get involved in your local MTB community?
I form part of the Gravity committee of Kwazulu Natal. Which is the province we live in. Started off by just joining the GIba Gorge mountain bike club. One of my favorite activities would be trail building, it’s all volunteer basis so we work as a team. And I can tell you it is very rewarding to build a new feature and then try it out.
You told me about the endurox last weekend, which is a race for woman only. Is many woman riding MTB in South Africa?
There are quite a few active women in our community. I’d even go so far as to say we’re almost split down the middle. For every man there is a woman riding here. The Enduro X was a new community invite only event we tried out. It ended up being a big success for everyone involved. The ladies also help with trail building and many of them are pivotal to our community and helping with planning events. My wife also loves riding, and she’s one of the key timekeepers here.
Overseas, where have you been riding?
I’ve not had the opportunity to ride overseas. Unless you count Lesotho and Namibia in. Namibia is tiny but there is a feature called Spitzkoppe which is absolutely breath taking. Look it up! Then at Lesotho there is Afriski which is, like Whistler Park, a ski resort in Winter. But in Summer it becomes one amazing bike park.One of the best events are held there yearly, it’s called Crank Chaos.
I would definitely like to come riding in SA, would you like to welcome riders on your local trails?
Absolutely! Anyone and everyone from any age to any skill is more than welcome here. I can attempt to show you around and point the way for trails further out in the country. Though South Africa is a big country, so if you do come, come prepared!
Connect with drikus for a ride in Durban!