A few weeks before we arrived at The Story Tellers in the Cederberg, we asked owners JP and Tracy du Plessis to scout out a few eBiking routes for us - nothing crazy technical - just a couple of gravel roads where we would be able see flowers (it was flowers season after all). They did us proud. High on their list was the Biedouw Valley which, by all accounts had some great flower viewing opportunities. Now, I'm always a little wary when someone mentions the word 'valley' because we all know how a valley is created don't we? If there's a valley, there are invariably hills, or in this case, mountains involved. Still, we were on ebikes so what the hell...
The Biedouw Valley is well known for its beauty and indeed some years ago we had ridden up the valley on our adventure motorbikes from the Tankwa Karoo National Park side. It was a wild ride, with about a zillion farm gates to open and close but in spite of the gates, fantastic. This time though, we'd be riding into the Valley via the Hoek Se Berg Pass down the Biedouw Mountains. It was not getting into the valley but climbing the 375m in 6.5km out of the Valley that gave us pause, still, as I said earlier, we were on ebikes ...........
Rather than ride the paved R364 and associated high speed traffic we decided to drive from The Story Tellers to "The Englishman's Grave" and park the cars there - a good call as it turns out. The four of us Bruce, Sharon, Pat and I, set off south for Hoek Se Berg Pass, with the rather oddly named Moerkop to our east and the wonderful views over Bushmans Kloof and Cederberg Mountains to the west. We stopped at the top of the pass to take in the vista and assess the climb back out. Not too bad really, just how difficult could it be...
Just as an aside: We stopped to have a look at the "The Englishman's Grave". Rather interesting. It seems that Lieutenant Graham Vinicombe Winchester Clowes and his unit were in the area attempting (unsuccessfully, as it turns out) to halt the incursions into the Cape Colony by the Boers led by General Jan Smuts. Alas, during one skirmish the Lieutenant took a bullet and died. The Celtic cross was erected by his mother who apparently travelled all the way from England to do it. An inscription reads' "BRAVE AND TRUE".
The ride down was sublime. The gravel road was in fine condition and we stopped at intervals to shoot pics of the bikes in amongst the flowers. The really steep bits, had been concreted to ease traction in the wet I guess, and I stopped at the final hairpin bend to shoot the rest of the crew on their way - tiny figures in a sea of flowers.
I gave it horns on the last bit down - it was exhilarating to say the least - and quickly caught and passed the others, freewheeling for ages, eventually crossing the reed filled Biedouw River. We pedalled onwards a short way, meeting up at the junction of the "Many Gates Road" from our motorbike trip. This was to be our "turn around" point but you can continue up the other side of the valley towards Wupperthal if that's your want or turn left and explore the road heading east towards the Tankwa Karoo National Park. We elected to find an open field where we sat munching energy bars and soggy bread rolls.
The climb out was, in reality, just fine. Sure it was a pull in spite of being on an eBike - would hate to try it on a conventional bike though. On the way back to The Story Tellers we stopped for a few very welcome "cold ones" and a delicious pizza at Travellers Rest Restaurant - a fine end to a fine day!
Click here to see more of our mountain biking photographs.
Route Distance: 31km round trip but you can extend this if you like.
Route conditions: Pretty good really. Careful on the way down - you need to take care of the brakes - we alternate front to back to allow them to cool.
The Story Tellers: S32° 06.702' E19° 04.055'
Englishmans Grave Parking: S32° 03.940' E19° 07.683'
Travelers Rest: S32° 04.277' E19° 04.541'