Wheels turn for routes

2016-11-15 10:07
Mountain bike riders are getting additional routes they can use around the city, sharing the routes with hikers and runners.

Mountain bike riders are getting additional routes they can use around the city, sharing the routes with hikers and runners. (Nicole McCain)

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Mountain bike riders are cycling closer to a network of cycle routes spanning from Signal Hill to Cape Point.

Table Mountain National Park announced a new mountain biking environmental management programme (EMP) on Friday, which has seen additional cycling routes developed at Signal Hill, Lion’s Head and above Camps Bay.

New linkage routes have also been developed between Newlands and Constantia, via Kirstenbosch and the Cecilia plantation, as well as between Silvermine and Tokai. Future plans include linking all of these trails to create a route between Signal Hill and Cape Point.

No new routes were created, with existing routes instead upgraded.

The EMP was signed by park manager Lesley-Anne Meyer and representatives of the Table Mountain Mountain Bike (TMMTB) Forum and the Pedal Power Association.

These additional routes will see cyclists share the paths with walkers and runners, and the new EMP includes a code of conduct to ensure correct riding behaviour.

All cyclists will still require permits, and some of the guidelines include staying on dedicated routes, no littering and respecting wildlife.

It was stressed at the launch that the routes could be closed should mountain bikers fail to adhere to the code of conduct.

The original EMP was developed in 2002, and a review was long overdue, says Meyer.

The previous EMP left mountain bikers feeling “unwelcome” in the park, says TMMTB Forum chairperson Meurant Botha.

“The sport has grown since then. The Forum has made strong inputs to update and improve the EMP and introduce new cycling routes which are proposed to extend the current network of cycling routes and improve linkages in the network,” Botha says.

“This is, in South Africa, the most historic event in terms of mountain biking advocacy.”
Meyer adds: “The park has been working with the widely representative TMMTB Forum to produce a robust and practical EMP to guide and manage both mountain biking and road cycling in the park.”

The EMP was circulated as far as Mitchell’s Plain, Langa, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha for public comment and will come into effect on Tuesday 1 December.

The additional routes will be published on www.sanpark.org from 1 December.

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