TRAILLYNX MTB TRAIL NETWORK
TrailLynx is a new trail association in Plettenberg Bay created by the well-known trail builder, Johan Vorster (Ex-Hakahana Trails). Over the past 18 months they have started to transform the trails network in and around Plett. Johan gives us insight into these exciting new trails.
The vision actually started over three years ago when I built Kurland Trails. Over the past two years I have actively approached landowners with a comprehensive regional trails-expansion plan and started the lengthy processes of negotiating for access. We managed to find common ground with a number of landowners and finally we started to break ground.
At the end of last year, we were commissioned to build a totally new network up the Wittedrif road - Bitouvlei Trails. These virgin trails straddle both the estuary itself but also the fynbos ridges to the north. We have built three trails, the jewel being the 18km Red Roostr – it’s a hefty loop trail with about 380m elevation. The Roostr has a big climb up to a stunning loop around the plateaux and then the reward of a 3km machine-crafted downhill section known as “x-Foliate”! The 10km Blue and 6km Green routes have been built as family-friendly trails as they meander around and along the beautiful Bitouvlei estuary.
ABOVE: Machine cutting virgin trails.
In May this year we became involved in the master-planning of a new trail park in Plett proper. Sky Park is a novel concept of a “ski-village” for MTB, practically in the middle of town with 500ha of magnificent shale and coastal-fynbos, undulating hills, fair gradients and endless trail potential. We have started construction on what will become a concentrated trails park. The concept is to create a wide range of shortish trails that can be ridden in multiple different combinations as well as longer loops catering for all skills levels. The descents are machine-sculptured trails designed for maximum flow and stoke. The Green, Blue and Black runs will all descend back into the “bowl” and there are at least four different climbs back out, which keeps it really interesting for everyone. There will also be separate trails dedicated to running, walking and hiking.
Just as exciting is that we have managed to negotiate a link through to Bitouvlei Trails and Wittedrif. This new route will then create 40-60km loops out to the north of Plett without anyone having to ride on tar. These trails traverse at least four biomes and go into hidden valleys with some of the most unspoiled indigenous forests in the region. We hope to celebrate this and help protect it going forward. We are also in negotiations for the construction of a pump-track and associated cycling amenities at the entrance to the Sky Park. We hope to be in a position to host our own small events from December this year and help establish Plett as world-class riding destination.
Access to the TrailLynx associated trails (currently Sky Park, Bitouvlei and Kurland) will be via a TrailLynx QR system, with Day and Annual passes available. We developed the system to manage trails on private land, giving landowners a form of reconcilable access and a revenue stream. In so doing we hope to stimulate further trail investment and builds on private properties. We also hope to instil a good ride ethic, respect for the landowner access, and accountable trail use at all levels.
We have tried hard to integrate our system with the existing MTO annual card but the feasibilities on constructing quality new trails are not yet matching up. We are currently supporting each other in helping to grow the regional network of trails and perhaps in the near future we will be able to integrate our two systems and provide a single access-card for the region.
GALLERY: Bermannia, AgainAgain, Single track heaven making up the new trails in Sky Park.
Note: ** All our completed trails have been uploaded to Trailforks and Strava.
Plettenberg Bay and the surrounding areas offer the potential for unparalleled mountain biking. The TrailLynx network is just the beginning of greater things, starting with a mini-enduro at Sky park in December. ( Date TBC )
BACK TO TOP
The TrailLynx Sky Park climbs are mostly jeeptrack with fair gradients. There are a few short, sharp, punchy bits but manageable by most riders. The maximum climb elevation is 90m.
Loop trail: “The Scaffolds" (10km/+280m) is the first planned loop trail. It is for everyone. It uses mostly jeeptrack and some well-maintained singletrack. The return is via “the Bolt” (under construction).
Wunderlust: 1,1 km/-80m. A fun, flowy, sculptured trail with a sharp climb in the first bit, then gently downhill through some switchbacks and long flowy sections. It ends with some steep-ish trail in the Gum forest behind old Nicks.
“Smoked Salmon”: 1,3 km/-80m. Also a fun, flowy, gentle downhill sculptured trail. The last few switchbacks are steep but it’s a rewarding trail with a lot of flow
“Badger”: 1,6 km/-90m. A more gradual gradient trail with a faster rhythm. Also a sculptured trail with a number of berms and rolling turns. This trail also gets steep-ish near the end but all the berms are well constructed to hold your momentum.
“The Bolt”: 2km/-120m. This is the first of the planned longer lines and is designed to be an easy but fun and flowy ride all the way back to base. (“The Bolt holds the Scaffold together”)