Rain and mountain bike trails share a symbiotic relationship along South Africa’s coastal regions. To build great trails, you need moist soil, which happens during the winter rainy season.
There is no shaping and perfecting a new trail during summer. The soil is too hardened to work with, and no matter how much water you pour, it simply drains into the dryness.
Western and Southern Cape trail builders use the winter season's sequence of rainy cold front systems to repair and shape new trails. But trails are also at their most sensitive during this phase. Risking damage if ridden too soon after a deluge.
Save the trails - by staying off them
Although many novice riders might have a sense that mountain biking in the rain could be 'fun', it isn’t. Experienced riders know that muddy rides ruin components. In winter, you can unwittingly do thousands of rands worth of damage to your bike during a seemingly innocuous muddy ride.
The same logic applies to the actual trails. Riding on wet trails during or after severe rain doesn’t help the trail builders at all. With a cold front moving across the country’s Western and Southern Cape regions, riders are advised to keep their mountain bikes indoors until the weekend.
As a precaution, the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club (the country’s largest mountain bike club) has closed its trails until Friday to prevent damage. And save mechanically naïve riders from evaporating their annual mountain bike maintenance budget on avoidable repairs.