As a mountain biking destination, Plettenberg Bay and The Crags have it all. Perfect weather, scenic views, epic trails, and a few local legends helping to drive enthusiasm for the sport.

For insight into some of the area’s top trails, who better to turn to than father and son duo Leon and Kevin Evans, owners of The Bike Shop. Leon, ‘Dr Evil Classic’, is a veteran trail master and original designer of the world-famous Cape Epic. His son, Kevin, is a former multiple SA MTB and road bike champion.

We had a coffee at The Coffee Shop with Kevin recently to chat about his favourite MTB trails in the area, one of which includes a special Kurland Estate track that he raves about. Here’s what he had to say…

1.

Harkerville Red Route

  • Where is it? The trail runs through indigenous forest between Knysna and Plett
  • What is it? It’s one of the oldest trails in the country and goes through the unspoilt Harkerville indigenous forest and plantations, following trails along the clifftops of the Indian ocean.
  • What can you expect? The trail is quite an unmanicured, rugged, natural trail, passing through three different biodiversity areas (coast, fynbos, and indigenous forest and plantations). There are numerous routes to choose from (black being the easiest and red the most difficult).

“This is mountain biking in its purest form,” Kevin says with a grin. “You can do the 24km loop in just over an hour or take up to 2.5 – 3 hours. In my opinion, you’ll want to enjoy the ride and take your time; it’s unspoiled, just like it was 1000 years ago.”

2. 

MTO Trails

  • Where is it? The trails are on MTO (Mountain to Ocean Forest plantation company) land, roughly eight kilometres West of Plett.  The trailhead is at Cairnbrogie, a working dairy farm.
  • What is it? Mostly hand built single track, with various flow lines. There’s lots of climbing and descending.
  • What can you expect? The trails through both areas are fairly well manicured. Expect jumpy, flowy paths with loads of bermed switchbacks, which Kevin says caters for the new style, young mountain biking generation coming up. “Like surfing on your bike,” he says with a laugh.

3.

Kurland Estate

“For the last trail you’ll need to download a GPS file, because this is a track on Kurland Estate,” Kevin explains. “It’s the old day 2 of the Dr Evil Classic (an annual 3-day stage race in the Plettenberg area on the Heritage Day weekend). This is a special ride as you’ll have stunning views of Plettenberg Bay, Robberg, and the Tstiskamma mountains – views that you cannot see from anywhere else. It’s a fairly easy ride. You’ll experience a jeep track, forest-type ride, with a few single tracks towards the end of the ride. It really is a treat if you’re staying at the estate. You can also add on another climb to the ride, called Spitzkop, and at the top you’ll have 360-degree views of the bay and mountains.”

More about The Bike Shop

The Bike Shop is located in Piesang Valley and has a great little coffee shop attached to it. Anyone who’s anyone in the mountain biking community knows about it, but really the shop caters to all levels of mountain bikers, offering both non-electric and electric bikes. They offer advice, service spares, and sell equipment and running shoes. It’s a one-stop-shop if ever there was one, and if you pay it a visit, you’re sure to bump into Kevin.

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