Tale of the Trails

Berg & Bush

The trail names at the Berg & Bush tell a story that enhances the ride experience.

A highlight of the Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush is the amount of thought we put into our trail names. If you ride them slowly enough, you might even see the sign boards naming the trails! The names add some extra character to the event and let you know exactly where you are on the route, adding extra anticipation and excitement to your ride.

Zig Zags

Gary Green built this specifically for the 2019 Berg & Bush Tour. If you want to ride these incredible switchbacks, then you need to enter the Tour, asap! As the name suggests, Zig Zags takes you up the southern slopes of Spioenkop Mountain on beautiful switchbacks before dropping you down into a smile-widening singletrack descent. With smooth turns and a respectable gradient, the climb is nothing to be scared of; just enjoy the challenge and marvel at the views.

Longdrop Pass

This is one of Berg & Bush’s most loved trails. As the name suggests, it’s a long, thrilling drop down the mountain. After two-and-a-bit days (one-and-a-bit if you’re riding the 2 Day) of fun riding, Longdrop Pass is the best way to finish a mountain bike ride. The trail falls within the final 13km of day 3 of the Tour and Descent and day 2 of the 2 Day. It’s a 5km descent with views of Spioenkop Dam and the farmlands of Winterton below. Giraffe and buck are known to frequent the trail but the most common sighting is mountain bikers with grins wider than the dam. Release the brakes and fly down Longdrop Pass to remind yourself what riding is all about!

Ox Wagon Hill

A climb almost straight out of the blocks on day 2 of the Descent and day 1 of the Tour and 2 Day, and named for the manner in which race founder Gary Green travelled to school in Winterton when he was but a wee lad.

 

Ox Wagon Hill, actually named for the still-visible ox wagon wheel ruts from the days of the Great Trek, is not too steep and not too treacherous, but it does come quite early into the day’s riding after a fast and relatively flat start, and is a formidable challenge for the racer and social rider alike.

 

Zig-zagging riders can be an issue on the rocky, red soil trail, especially on the narrower or rockiest parts of the climb, so be sure to keep looking up or hold your line if you can. The climb presents you with excellent views of the Drakensberg while taking you through a corridor of impressive aloes.

Grand Canyon

On your final day of riding – in both three-day events and the 2 Day – you’ll ride into the Grand Canyon, a channel that has been carved out by water over the years. As of 2021 the Grand Canyon trail section has been extended for your riding pleasure.

 

The trail is not as long, wide or deep as it’s famous namesake in the United States, but it’s an impressive piece of topography when on the bike and is lots of run to ride through as you whip around corners on the slight descent. It’s definitely one of the more unique trails you will ever ride.

 

The channel is narrow with a few twists and turns, so the trick here is keep your eyes open and your elbows tucked in. Riders with extra-wide handlebars should pay extra attention.

Puff Adder Pass

You hit Puff Adder Pass well into the second half of the ride on day one of the Tour, and days two of the 2 Day and the Descent.

 

Puff Adder is a singletrack trail that snakes – get it – down towards the Tugela River after you’ve conquered the imposing Mike’s Pass.

 

Puff Adder is pure freewheeling fun. After a short flat section, you enter Puff Adder and bomb down – it’s not quite a straight downhill, but at no stage does Puff Adder go uphill.

 

Hit your stride, release the brakes and fly around corners knowing that the end of the day is in sight and a cold refreshment awaits.

Spioenkop

It’s the climb that needs no introduction, but we’ll give you one anyway just in case you’ve never ridden to the top.

 

The site of a famous Boer War battle – be sure to learn all about it at our famous History Talk – the climb up Spioenkop has become an iconic part of the Grindrod Bank Berg & Bush over the years. Our top tip: there are 14 speed bumps on the way up, count them down as you go up (if you can climb and count at the same time).

 

Lying in wait on the final day of riding, Spioenkop is a true test of your stamina, but once you’ve conquered the climb you’re rewarded with a near 13km-long descent to the finish line. What goes up slowly, must come down at great speed!

Sizwe's S Bend

Previously known as Spoen’s S Bend until Spoen became too famous from organising the Oxpecker and demanding higher fees for naming rights, Sizwe’s S Bend comes after the Spioenkop climb and before you reach Long Drop Pass.

 

After finishing your climb up Spioenkop, the route takes you though Princess Margaret trail and then onto Sizwe’s S Bend, now named after Berg & Bush rising-star trail builder, Sizwe.

 

Previously, the bend was a slightly tricky turn that could catch unsuspecting riders by surprise. Sizwe has worked wonders on the trail, though, smoothing out the rougher edges and allowing you to glide through towards Long Drop glory.

Garden of Eden

After some heavy summer rainfall in 2021, the Garden of Eden trail along the banks of the Tugela River was submerged for a short while with the end result being an unrideable trail.

 

Luckily, we have some very obliging cows who helped flatten the flood-damaged trail and after that we were able to restore this beautiful riverside trail to its former glory.

 

Garden of Eden makes up the last 5km of the route as riders return to Emseni. The reconstructed segment is a slightly undulating singletrack that takes riders through the natural, vibrant flora with river views for most of the way.

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