Cradle MTB Trail update: Maintenance and construction upgrades for 2015

Trails are never really “finished” and hence the focus on the first 18 km trail section has mostly been around trail maintenance.

The ongoing management of vegetation is without doubt the primary maintenance activity at present and the support received from the “Working on Fire” team is much appreciated. They took responsibility for “cleaning” the Gateways weekly and assisting with vegetation management along the trail as and where required.

Negotiation and discussion around the appointment of a contractor/s to undertake trail maintenance and much needed trail upgrade work mainly aimed at trail safety and flow improvements is nearing completion. Once technical construction details and maintenance requirements have been defined and agreed on, the appointment of external service providers to undertake maintenance and trail upgrade work should be finalised by early January 2015. Once an appointment has been made, your co-operation with the construction/maintenance teams will be appreciated. The intention is to undertake construction/maintenance activities during week days and to have the trail open and ready for use over weekends. This may however not always be possible and you are urged to obey construction warning signs along the trail.

The work to be undertaken should commence during early January 2015 and upgrade work (improved safety railings, trailhead signage, wooden bridges, route re-alignments and trail route signage) should be completed by end of March 2015.Trail maintenance work will however continue during the next few seasons to ensure rider safety and enjoyment. It appears from casual observation along the trail that riders are mostly obeying the directional signage by riding the trail in a “clockwise” direction. Thanks to all – it is important to ride with respect along the trails.The possible construction of a dedicated “mountain bike bridge” over the Bloubank Spruit to improve safety and reduce “bicycle” congestion at the existing narrow vehicle bridge, is receiving urgent attention. The possible construction of this bridge and other necessary trail upgrades has the potential to improve the trail and rider experience noticeably.Future opportunities to engage with trail users, facility owners and other stakeholders in a more direct way and to facilitate wider involvement in the trails and cycle lanes in the Cradle is envisaged.

A safe and happy festive season to you all.





Africa Cycle Fair visits the Cradle of Humankind

The second Africa Cycle Fair took place at the Nirox venue in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site on the weekend of 24-26 October 2014. The venue is located at the heart of cycling activity in the Cradle World Heritage Site, a mere bicycle length away from the existing dedicated cycle lanes and newly constructed mountain bike trail route.

The establishment of a “cycling village” commenced a few days prior to the event with the construction of the first “tented” exhibition spaces and supporting facilities. This was gradually followed by increased activity as cycling businesses transformed the site into a “bike mall” surrounded by stunning views of the surrounding Dolomite landscape.

Africa Cycle Fair - Kiddy Zone

Africa Cycle Fair – Kiddy Zone

In excess of 6000 visitors were treated to displays of every major bike brand, opportunities to test ride bicycles, talk shop, vote on the “best mtb” on show, ride a test track and indulge in tasty meals and craft beers or plain good old coffee brewed on site. The younger generation of bicycle users was given free access to a “pump track” and “kiddies zone” custom made to introduce them to the joys of cycling at an early age. “Cycling as a lifestyle” was the theme for the Fair which complimented the efforts by the Cradle World Heritage Site to create a cycling destination of choice as part of a bigger tourism approach.

Africa Cycle Fair - Pump Track

Africa Cycle Fair – Pump Track

The Management Authority used the opportunity to market cycling opportunities (cycle lanes and mtb trail) and supporting facilities. Large scale maps of the trail were at hand to explain the trail and cycling concept and visitors were provided with a Z-fold brochure and Cradle trail map indicating the trail locality and supporting facilities. The response received from trail users was very positive and most were quite surprised to hear that the cycle lanes and mountain bike trail project was a government initiative aimed at safe and responsible cycling.

Cradle of Humankind stand at the Africa Cycle Fair

Cradle of Humankind stand at the Africa Cycle Fair

Cradle of Humankind MTB trails – Green Route site visit

Cradle Gateway 2 Gateway MTB trail update

MTB Trail construction progress report

The entire Gateway 2 Gateway mountain bike trail (18 km) is nearing completion, with the tread having been roughed in, and then smoothed where appropriate.

First to be finished will be the 5 km section (the easy “Green – beginner” trail from the Kloofzicht Gateway to the entrance to the Rhino and Lion Reserve). A wooden link bridge has been added, and once the dedicated mountain bike bridge crossing the Bloubank River is completed, this section will be ready for action.

The remainder of the trail (13 km) from Rhino and Lion Reserve along the D 540 road to the Lanseria Gateway is also nearing completion. The trail corridor has been cleared of most vegetation, the tread has been roughed in and recent use by some “impatient” riders managed to define preferred rider lines along this section of trail. Trails need to mature over time, and it is expected that this trail section will require a season or two of weathering and riding before it will be relatively free of bumps.

This more technical trail section, the “Blue – intermediate” section, requires limited trail route modifications, safety considerations as well as additional signage before it will be ready for use. Limited maintenance activity will still be undertaken periodically along the length of the trail to address user concerns.

Men at Work

Riders are requested to obey signage indicating

”Construction work in progress”.



Signage and trail direction

Trail and directional signage has been provided along most sections of the trail, and the design and manufacturing of further information signage is underway. Trail information is planned for the Kloofzicht and Lanseria Gateways with possible further information signage along the trail at suitable venues.

The trail has been designed as a “single direction” trail primarily for safety, user enjoyment and management reasons.  The direction of flow is clockwise around the existing road system, known by cyclists as the “Cradle loop”. The trail can be accessed along its entire length and hence it is important for riders to be guided by trail signage. Observations during the last few weeks along the trail have shown that riders often ignore the trail signage and cycle the trail in the “wrong” direction. This behavior is unacceptable and riders are again reminded of the following:

  • The trail was designed to flow in a clockwise direction – riding in the opposite direction will result in a trail that does not flow well.
  • Trail signage has been provided to be visible to riders approaching from one side only. Signage will not be visible to users riding the trail in the wrong direction.
  • The safety and enjoyment of riders on this trail is a design and operational priority. Riding the trail in the wrong direction is highly irresponsible, unacceptable and selfish and a threat to the safety of fellow trail users, property owners and visitors to the area.

No Entry - Turn Around

If you need to return to your starting point along any section of the trail, just move off the trail, get onto the dedicated cycle lanes on the road and return to your start destination in a safe and responsible manner.

Please take note: When you see this sign you are riding the trail in the wrong direction. 



Trail test period

Due to the high visibility and accessibility of the trail located within the provincial road reserve, it is impractical to try and prevent some riders from “testing the trail” or sections of the trail once considered “ride-able”.

The new trail, existing gateways and cycle lanes are part of a government cycling and tourism project aimed at safe and responsible cycling. The new mountain bike trail, gateways and cycle lanes will be formally launched at event planned for the end of October 2014.

It is anticipated that trailhead signage (information boards), trail signage and the bridge over the Bloubank Spruit will be in place by the end of July 2014, and a “trail test phase” is then planned. Riders will be able to ride the trail and inform the Management Authority (MA) of trail-related issues that may require attention. Riders will be asked to complete and submit a “trail report card”, which will be available online.  The necessary follow up and trail improvement will be undertaken where possible between August and October 2014. The intention is to obtain rider and adjoining property owner/stakeholder input prior to the official launch of the trail.



Please don’t hesitate to CONTACT US with any queries or requests for further information:

Gail Jennings ( or Hein Pienaar ( or 0824546617).


Route 66 riders try out the work-in-progress Cradle MTB trails

Riders participating in the Bridgestone Route 66 MTB Experience over the weekend of the 14-16 February 2014 got to try out the still-under-construction MTB trails in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

They made use of a section of the new Cradle Gateway-to-Gateway trail on the last day (16 Feb 2014) of the three-day event, from Maropeng to Kloofzicht Lodge. The trail is still a work in progress, and the event was used to gain insights into how the trail would function when in use.

Photos courtesy The Leverage Corporation and Jetline Action Photo

Please note that the MTB trails are still under construction and not yet open to the public.

Trails to host first riders this weekend in Route 66 MTB event

This weekend the Bridgestone Route 66 MTB Experience gets underway in Gauteng.

Exciting news is that they will be using a section of the new Cradle Gateway to Gateway trail on the last day (16 Feb 2014) of the 3 day event, from Maropeng to Kloofzicht Lodge

This is the first time the 4km work-in-process section of the COH MTB trail will be used, and should provide the team with great feedback regarding events, and general mountain biking on the new trails.  It is important from a trail design and construction point of view to get some riders on the trail to see how the trail copes (trail tread material, alignment etc) with numbers of riders, and equally to see the ride lines chosen by riders as this indicates to what extent the trail design and route chosen is appropriate for the terrain and slope.

Riders will most likely be riding on that section of trail (from the circle at the bridge over the Bloubank river – towards Kloofzicht Lodge)  from approximately 10:00 on Sunday morning till about 13:00 – 14:00 in the afternoon.  Pop into the trail gazebo at the end of the event, and ask Hein Pienaar for more info.

Next week we will post the first pictures of mountain bikers on the trails – so be sure to take a look!

Find out more about the Bridgestone Route 66 MTB event here

Please note that the MTB trails are not yet open to the public.