Gravel bikes and carrot cake in KZN

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A place where gravel and mountain bikers, are welcome, in the Midlands (Photo:R24)
A place where gravel and mountain bikers, are welcome, in the Midlands (Photo:R24)
  • The KZN Midlands is heaven for cyclists who like to explore on gravel
  • The Flamme Rouge cycle café caters for coffee and cake needs
  • Situated on Nottingham Road, it is the perfect spot to start or end a ride

For those cyclists living their best life on gravel bikes, the KZN Midlands is one of the most rewarding places to explore.

Four hours from Pretoria or two hours from Durban is the perfect spot for a weekend cycling getaway or training camp.

Routing from Nottingham Road, you have many riding options to the south in the Curry’s Post and Caversham areas, while the entire Karkloof is close enough for an afternoon ride. To the North is Lower Lotheni and even Himeville or Sani for those wanting to go the distance.

gravel ride
Some of the world's best gravel riding, can be found in the KZN Midlands (Photo: R24)

World class gravel roads lead to coffee

The quality of the gravel roads in this area of KZN also makes them especially conducive to gravel riding, smooth with a high clay and chalk content mean they are friendlier on tyres and wrists.

Nottingham Road offers a wide variety of accommodation options, from old colonial-style hotels to modern Airbnb residences and a host of restaurants, curio shops and antique stores to keep the entire family happy.

While I love to ride my gravel bike in the Nottingham Road area, the Flamme Rouge Cycle Café keeps me coming back for more. Centrally located, it is a great place to meet mates for a ride or to unwind after your pedal.

Flamme Rouge does a proudly Midlands coffee blend (Photo: R24)

On brand - for bicycles

Named after the red flag, or giant inflatable that marks the final kilometre of the Tour de France, this stop has become precisely that for cyclists.

There is no rolling back to your Nottingham road accommodation without first stopping passing Flamme Rouge.

Situated in the quaint Gowrie Village, the Flamme Rouge cycle café caters to the basic needs of cyclists and more. The décor is clean and fresh, with wooden elements and plenty of natural light.

gravel bikes
The reason you ride: Flamme Rouge's cake of destiny (R24)

Proudly local and Midlands

Coffee is excellent, using beans from local roasters Terbodore, and the selection of cakes are worthy of quality carb guilt and perfect for replacing those lost calories. The carrot cake is unquestionably phenomenal. Have the carrot cake.

Recently Flamme Rouge has expanded its menu and now offers a variety of light meals, including breakfasts, bagels and toasted sandwiches. These can be enjoyed in the cosy café setting or outside on the large terrace.

The recent addition of tables on the terrace has expanded the popularity of the café and facilitates social distancing.

gravel bike
There is a bike rail, to keep your ride safe and out of the way (Photo: R24)

They have spares - too

Flamme Rouge prides itself in supporting local, so most of the ingredients that come together to make this café a success are sourced locally.

Everything from the coffee to the bread, milk and fresh organic produce is straight from farms in the surrounding area.

Flamme Rouge also sells essentials such as tubes, Co2 canisters, bidons and a small selection of cycling kit. The kind of things that might get left behind when rushing to pack for that KZN weekend away. Two large bike racks ensure safe parking of your steed.

Open every day except Mondays, Flamme Rouge can be found at 1 Harrison Green East, Gowrie Villlage, Nottingham road.

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