After some fine wine and delicious hamburgers (an odd combination, but wait until you’ve tried the burgers!) at Open Kitchen and a good sleep at Nina’s Place in McGregor, we rose early, keen to get out on the dirt roads and tracks surrounding the little village, snuck away in a corner of the Riviersonderend Mountains. Our short Lord’s Loop Ride the previous afternoon had left us impatient for more riding but first, breakfast. About all that was open was Tebaldi’s Restaurant and we chose to sit outside in the garden. Lovely. A great breakfast and some coffee strong enough to bring on the arhythmia!
McGregor is home to many artists – painters, potters and jewellery makers and there is an Art Route through the town that takes in no fewer than 10 galleries. The village is located in the heart of winemaking country, although the neighbouring towns of Robertson and Bonnievale are perhaps better known for their wine production. But McGregor is no slouch in this regard, Lord’s Wines and McGregor Winery being most noticeable about town, and there are numerous farms in the area that produce olives, lavender and other herbs.
So, where to then? The Haibikes were champing at the bit. There is a nice 29km loop that takes you a short way back along the tarred road to Robertson and then a right turn onto dirt just before the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve. This leads you up to Strykhoogte. It’s a bit of a climb on really good gravel but nothing serious, and its worthwhile stopping at the top of the pass to take in the stunningly beautiful views of the mountains. The road takes you onwards and downwards into the valley, and it’s great riding – fast, smooth and the environment is just sublime.
We prefer to keep tar road riding to a minimum and, in any case, the McGregor/Robertson road is quite busy. In order to avoid as much of that as possible we headed out on the “finish” of the Lords Loop Ride, turning right and down onto tar for a short way – just follow the track below on your GPS. If the 29km is a little short for you, turn left at the bottom of Strykhoogte Pass and there’s a 20km out and back extension that is worth doing (that’s 10km out and 10km back).
Of course, having ridden down into the Valley, the climb out of it awaits. Again, nothing hectic and the roads are good and the views wonderful as you start to climb up into the foothills of the Riviersonderend Mountains. From there, it’s a lovely, wild descent back into town, wrapping up a great 29km (or 49km) route. For me? Next time? I’d add the 20km extension, but it’s entirely up to you.
The McGregor Publicity people are really on the ball and have produced a very useful map of the area showing various cycling routes. Pop into their offices and grab a copy or download it here.
Check out more of our Mountain Biking Photographs
Route Length: 29km or 49km
Route Conditions: Deserted, smooth gravel roads – it doesn’t get much better. If you follow our track, the start of the ride takes you up a short, steep bit of single track. It’s rideable but those that are not technically competent, may like to push this section.
Nina’s Place Accommodation: S33° 56.899′ E19° 49.433′
McGregor Publicity (start of the rides): S33° 56.896′ E19° 49.656′