Botrivier Out and Back eBike Ride

We enjoyed one of the most pleasant rides we’ve had in the past few months yesterday afternoon. We popped round to cycle with friends Bruce and Sharon who live in the tiny hamlet of Botrivier at the base of the Houhoek Pass in the Western Cape. They were saddled up, ready to ride when we arrived so we “got to it” and before long we were trapping along the Van Der Stel Pass road, heading north out of town.

Botrivier is situated about 90km east of Cape Town, just off the N2 highway on the western bank of the Bot River, which flows through extensive marshes before emptying into the sea near Kleinmond. The fertile, well watered Bot River valley was well known to the Khoi-Khoi and early settlers who grazed their fat cattle in the fields along the banks of the river. The rich grazing apparently resulted in excellent butter being produced and so the river got the name of Bot River (short for botter - Afrikaans for butter).

A fresh tail wind pushed us along the Pass at a fair lick, the weather cool and just perfect for a ride. The Pass, oddly enough, was not named after Simon van der Stel, first Governor of the Dutch Cape Colony, but after his son, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the rather unpopular Governor of the Cape Colony between 1699 and 1707. Alas, it seems that his tenure as Governor was not without its drama and he was considered corrupt and dictatorial. After a revolt in 1706 by a group of “free burghers” he was exiled to the Netherlands where he apparently lived out the rest of his days.

Sharon and Pat head out on the Van Der Stel Pass road.

Sharon and Pat head out on the Van Der Stel Pass road.

It was quite cool on the way back, riding into a fresh southerly wind.

It was quite cool on the way back, riding into a fresh southerly wind.

There was none of this on the ride - we were all  happy and content and no mention was made of revolts and exiles. We did, however, mention Mrs Pillmann who runs the Goedvertrouw Wine Estateand serves the most delightful tea and cakes on the stoep of her restaurant on the side of the road, some 9km from Botrivier. It's worth a stop on the return ride to build up one’s strength for the final few kilometres.

About 11km from the town, after crossing the Bot River, there is a sharp right hand turn that takes you up a long climb towards the R43. We stopped once we’d reached the top of the climb (known as Hawston View) and chilled, taking in the absolutely stunning scenery, to the south towards Fisherhaven and Kleinmond and to the north towards the Riviersonderend Mountains. 

Bruce had the good sense to bring along some refreshments and we nibbled on wonderful biscuits baked by Sharon and plaas biltong en droëwors brought back from a recent trip to DeAar. The remainder of the ride to the R43 was mildly undulating and again the views were incredible.

We gave it horns on the ride back down to the river crossing but do be careful here: speeds build up very quickly and, with the loose gravel in places, stopping or even slowing down for the corners can be a little, er, eye-widening.

All in all a great out and back ride with a few climbs that are sure to get the blood rushing around.

On the way back to Botrivier the Hawston View climb is now a downhill - just watch the speeds - stopping becomes an issue on the gravel (personal experience).

On the way back to Botrivier the Hawston View climb is now a downhill - just watch the speeds - stopping becomes an issue on the gravel (personal experience).

Route Distance: 34km

Route conditions: Delightful, mostly smooth gravel roads. Some corrugations in places but it’s easy to find the smooth bits and avoid them. There is one long climb but a nudge on the power button helps things along if needed. There is some traffic and dust to keep an eye on but all but one of the vehicles that passed us slowed right down and gave us a wide berth. Thanks guys. (We did have flashing front and rear lights on the bikes - maybe this helped).

Goedvertrouw Wine Estate. (Wonderful tea and cake)

Web site: https://www.facebook.com/goedvertrouwestate/

Google: https://goo.gl/maps/9k9CJ7CywGJnQVo99

GPS: -34° 9.914'S 19° 13.438’E

Download the GPS track for the Botrivier out and back ride here.

Check out the Strava Route here.

Map courtesy of Tracks4Africa

Map courtesy of Tracks4Africa