The 2020 date is set for South Africa’s favourite single day mountain bike event: 20 September. Heading into the 22nd edition the Karoo to Coast promises to be as challenging, rewarding and fun as ever – when 4 500 riders take on the route from Uniondale to Knysna.
The 96 kilometre long course, which crosses the old wagon trail out of Uniondale before joining the famous Prince Alfred’s Pass through the Outeniqua Mountains to Knysna, features 1 560 meters of climbing – but more importantly 2 300 meters of descending from the Karoo to the coast. The route snakes through four distinct biomes and offers stunning mountain vistas of a region seldom traversed by anyone but locals and adventure motorcyclists.
Entries to the 2020 race are open. For more information on the Karoo to Coast please visit www.karootocoast.com.
Fast Facts: 2020 Karoo to Coast
20 September 2020
Uniondale Sports Grounds
Knysna High School Sport Fields
1 560m of climbing
The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year and the Knysna Rotary organising committee will mark the occasion with the introduction of a number of new routes and races.
The Knysna Cycle Tour has grown enormously since its inception in 1987 and now comprises four popular events which will take place on 8 and 9 July, the first weekend of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival: MTB events, road races, the SPUR Children’s Tour, and the Forest Family Dam Ride.
The MTB event on 8 July is one of the biggest in southern Africa and includes outstanding cycling routes through the Knysna forest. Traditionally the events consisted of four different MTB routes for varying technical abilities - 80 km, 50 km, 30 km and 15 km. This year, the organising committee is changing the 15 km route to an easier, fun ride for all ages, and introducing a 30 km e-bike route.
“We understand that this will be the first electric bike race in the country,” says Race Director Elwin Thompson, “and we are hoping to attract e-bikers from all over South Africa.”
The MTB routes are rated amongst the most scenic in the world and include access to privately owned sections of property that are usually closed to the public. Set up and managed by Leon Evans, known as Dr Evil, they test the skills of competitors to the maximum.
The challenging 109 km road race on Sunday 9 July will follow the route introduced three years ago, which was designed for enthusiastic, competitive roadies. It takes cyclists from Knysna to Sedgefield, Karatara and Barrington, and back to Knysna.
The 50 km road race route is from Knysna to Sedgefield and back along the N2.
This year, for the first time, both these races will include a category for mountain bikes. “We are doing this in response to many requests that we’ve received over the years from cyclists who want to enter both a MTB event on the first day of the tour and a road race the next day, but can only transport one bike to Knysna,” says Thompson. “We are confident that this is going to grow cyclist numbers in both events.”
The SPUR Rotary Knysna Children's Cycle Tour on Sunday 9 July is a fun, safe event for children aged 2 to 10. There are three events for different age groups, all starting and finishing at the Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds in Waterfront Drive.
Another new innovation this year will see the popular Forest Family Dam Ride on Sunday 9 July split into two events: a 20 km and a 30 km ride. Both rides are scenic MTB routes through the Knysna forest and past some of the town’s dams. The 30 km event is for more experienced riders, while the 20 km ride is for MTB riders of all ages and competency, including children aged 12 years and older. They are guided fun rides and will not be timed.
Says Thompson: “We would like to see as many cyclists as possible participating in events on both days of the cycle tour, and our new events and categories will make this much more feasible. There will also be overall prizes for cyclists who enter events on both days.”
The Knysna Cycle Tour is a one of the biggest and most popular events on the national cycling calendar and a highlight of the annual Knysna Oyster Festival.
Online entries open on 4 March 2017. For more information visit www.knysnacycle.co.za.
Follow the Knysna Cycle Tour on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates about all the events.
Route: Most of the trail follows fairly easy contours in the indigenous forest and plantation. It is enhanced by winding single-track slip-paths, shady plantation and indigenous forest roads offering a regular bird's eye view of the surrounding area. It is a moderate ride with the exception of a steep 4km climb. A quality ride not requiring advanced technical skills.
Get off the beaten track this autumn with a ride along one of South Africa’s most scenic old roads: the 7 Passes road. It’s a largely forgotten stretch of gravel which links George with Knysna and makes for the perfect mountain bike route.
The road cuts through indigenous Knysna forest and plantations, and offers views over the Garden Route’s Lake District and the lush Eastern slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains when the forest clears to dairy farms. It’s an idyllic route perfect for riding as hard or as socially as you like. For the race snakes the rolling gravel roads make for high tempo group riding where team tactics come into play. For the more relaxed riders, meanwhile, the route is tough enough to be a challenge but not so tough as to detract from the views.
The 7 Passes MTB is ideally a two day stage ride but if you’re pressed for time you can join in the fun for day one only. The first day is the race, with prize money on offer for the podium finishers. It starts on the 30th of April at 08:00 at NMMU’s Saasveld campus and races the rolling 7 Passes road towards Knysna. For the less fit riders there’s a very manageable 36km option, which is perfect for riders who are usually nervous of entering races because of the worries of technical terrain. The short route, affectionately known as Karatara2Knysna or K2K, starts at the main race’s water point two at the Highland Home Store in Karatara.
Both the race and the K2K follow the same route along the 7 Passes road, down the spectacular Phantom Pass and into Knysna along the scenic lagoon side road. Once in Knysna the festivities truly begin with prize giving at the Knysna Waterfront and with so many riders congregated to swap war stories from the day on the 7 Passes road, share photos and catch up over an ice cold beer or a glass of red wine – depending of course on your preference and the weather on the day – it’s sure to be as much fun as the ride itself.
Day two, on the 1st of May, is a relaxed, fully supported tour back to George with Garden Route Events providing both the stoke and fully stocked water points to nurse you home. Once you’re up the fabled Phantom Pass the route undulates back to George, maybe in the days of ox wagons the climbs felt like 7 Passes but on your mountain bike they’re nowhere near as intimidating.
To make your life easier Leeuwenbosch Dairies have organised a complimentary bag shuttle. So you can park your car at NMMU/Saasveld on Saturday morning, mountain bike to Knysna, grab your bag and check into your accommodation close to the Knysna Waterfront and then just drop your bag off at the start of day two again. Plus Garden Route Events are hosting a registration dinner on Friday and a finisher braai on the Sunday NMMU/Saasveld so remember to select those options when you enter online.
Entries are open at www.7passesmtb.co.za or you can entre online by clicking here. If you are one of the first 200 riders to entre before the 12:00 on the 28th of March 2016 you’ll also receive a complimentary race t-shirt.
7 Passes MTB
Dates: 30 April & 1 May 2016
Distances: 78km both days, 78km on 30 April or 36km K2K on 30 April
Format: Race to Knysna, tour back to George.
Start/Finish: NMMU Campus George/Knysna Waterfront
2 Day R560 per rider
1 Day pre-entries R330
K2K pre-entries R150
On The Day Entry Fees:
2 Day R660 per rider
1 Day R400
No on the day entries for the K2K
Facebook: Garden Route Events
Greg Vogt, Knysna & Partners CEO is excited about future plans for mountain biking in the Great Knysna. He foresees Knysna & Partner incorporating the astronomical changes happening at Barrington's Garden Route Trail Park, bringing all disciplines of mountain biking into close proximity of one another.
The Garden Route Trail Park nestled at the very foot of the Outeniqua Mountains and the Karatara River Gorge, midway between George and Knysna already offers several of these disciplines. Besides the latest addition of dirt jumps (step-ups) the park offers a pump track for juniors, as well as designed routes to provide riders of all levels with an over-supply of adrenalin, excitement, scenery and amazing views.
It is not unknown for mountain biking enthusiasts to hang up their bicycle in the garage while they raise their young family. Vogt has a vision of incorporating neighbouring land into the bigger picture that includes having mountain biking disciplines such as downhill and free riding, dirt jumpers and cycle routes within close proximity to each other.
“We have just seen the world’s best dirt jumpers in action at the Garden Route Trail Park. At the entrance of the park were young children having the same amount of fun on a cycle pump track as the professional riders were having just a little way away. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could have mountain bikers entertained throughout the day with different mountain biking disciplines,” smiled Greg. His enthusiasm is infectious as he speaks about a possible mountain biking festival during 2017. This festival will attract world-renown mountain bikers that will show off their skills on the massive 20m step-up.” Conditions for these riders need to be perfect, so should the weather not be optimal, the riders could share their knowledge with others. The children could play on the pump tracks while their parents tackle a more difficult cycle route. “There are so many options. At the end of the day musician can set up and take over from where the mountain bikers left off.”
Now that the dirt jumping team has left the park having achieved their goal of constructing the 20m step-up, Garden Route Trail Park owner, Rob Dormehl and Greg can start planning how to incorporate the jumps into the bigger picture.
"These trail builders have expressed their poetic license to create two nuances of jump: a series of jumps that both challenge them in a number of ways as well as providing them with a new approach. It is now up to Knysna & Partners to capitalise on this ‘masterpiece’ and continue creating a world class scenario for our destination,” said Greg.
What is emerging at the trail park is really exciting and pushing Knysna & Partners as destination managers to think beyond stage races, making them think out-of-the-box. This new project at the Garden Route Trail Park is just a beginning. In time the concept of how this fits into the bigger picture of Knysna as South Africa's trail town would become much clearer.
The park already has over 20km of hand built single-tracks with flowing turns, berms, rollers and river crossings. Incorporating neighbouring land will turn this already great experience into a world renowned experience.
“I can’t wait to see how the Knysna & Partners team will embrace this vision and make it a reality by 2017,” concluded Greg.
A Unique Way to Experience the Knysna Forest! Enjoy an exhilarating downhill on the Monster Mountain Scooters. Descent through indigenous forest on single track, sweepy bends and Jeep tracks.
Keen mountain bikers will be delighted to know that the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) has blazed a new trail in the Harkerville Forest. This forest, with its vast network of beautiful trails, all of which have recently received facelifts, is already a destination hub for cycling.
The new Graspad Trail is just 12 km in length and boasts a backdrop of, not only species-rich indigenous Knysna Forest, but sweeping views of the ocean as well – literally eye candy all around! The new route is suitable for the whole family and is an easy ride through jeep tracks. If you are keen to ride longer distances this trail joins other popular Harkerville routes, several of which offer some seriously challenging single track riding.
This new trail is accessible from the scenic Kranshoek Gate. From here one can also enjoy lovely picnicking spots, short jaunts through coastal forest and fynbos, and of course, the very challenging Kranshoek Hiking Trail.
As a way of “unveiling” this new route, GRNP, in association with Muddy Foot Adventures has organised a fun cycling race with a difference for Saturday, 7 November. Using the Route Book (Rally Style) and odometers to navigate, each team follow the prescribed routes and need to visit strategically located checkpoints along the course.
These visits are recorded by clipping a “passport” with orienteering style clips at the checkpoints. The race will introduce riders to the wonders of the Harkerville Forest while launching the new Graspad Mountain Bike Route in the process.
This “unveiling” event promises to be a really great opportunity for families to get outdoors, have fun and become one with Knysna the natural way!
There will be food stalls and goodie bags on the day.
Imagine a secret place off the beaten track, where endless trails snake their way through ancient forests. Woodedgiants stand guard over the singletracks as they fly through streams, shady fern glades and forest tunnels. The secret Knysna singletracks that are always spoken of but never seen.