After our first day of cycling, I was a little afraid of what the second day of cycling might be like. Luckily, day 2 on the African Bikers mountain bike tour along South Africa’s Garden Route turned out to be nowhere near as difficult as the first day had been.
We started off the day in much the same way we had started the day before. We woke up early, ate breakfast at our guesthouse in Cape Town and then loaded both ourselves and all of our belongings into the waiting van and trailer. We would not be coming back to Cape Town, but would instead be slowly making our way from here to the distant city of Port Elizabeth over the next twelve days.
Near the University town of Stellenbosch we exited the van and geared up for a short, but pleasant pre-lunch bike ride through a private vineyard. Like many of the vineyards in South Africa, this private property had invested in a diverse network of mountain bike trails that they used to make excess profits for their business.
Marked farm roads and single-track trails took us up a gradual hillside, then dropped us down onto some wonderful single-track trails, with sharp turns, a few small drops, a small wooden bridge crossing and spectacular views all along the way.
After finishing our ride, we loaded the bikes back up on the trailer and then ate lunch on the back patio of the estate’s own private restaurant. The sun blazed down on us as we ate splendid salads, pasta, ice cream and more!
After lunch we jumped back in the van and drove to another marked trail-head.
After unloading the bikes and preparing to once again hit the road, we began yet another uphill climb (although not nearly as bad as the one on day 2) and then enjoyed a long, downhill single-track trail that twisted and turned its way through a spectacular mountain valley that was a mix of high desert shrubs and deep forest pines.
Back at the van, the consensus among the group was that this particular ride was our favorite of the tour thus far… and I agreed. Looking back on it now, this one ride was probably my favorite of the entire tour.
After Kim and Steve loaded our bikes back on the van, we drove back into the nearby city of Stellenbosch and took refuge at the aptly named “Stellenbosch Hotel.” We showered, rested and then ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. I went to bed early, preparing both my body and mind for the next day of cycling.