The Kirstenbosch Cracker
CLOSEST TOWN: Cape Town
DISTANCE: 16km, out and back
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate to advanced
MORE INFORMATION: www.tablemountainbikers.co.za
HIGHLIGHTS: Proper mountain biking in the heart of the city, insane views
Park at Constantia Nek and head up the short tar road that takes you into the Table Mountain National Park. You will soon be on gravel, with a longish climb to get you up to the high point of the route, at the lookout over the Southern Suburbs and the Cape Flats. Stopping to have a look is both encouraged, and necessary. Enjoy the descent, but at a sensible pace – there will be dog walkers and hikers everywhere – before the second long climb, which takes you into the custom-built single tracks above the Kirstenbosch National Gardens. Here be many ups and downs – this is a taxing route, physically, but manageable with a can-do mindset. Dropping out of Kirstenbosch, take it easy on the descent down to the Newlands Forest section, before deciding whether you want to extend your ride to Kirstenbosch, or come back the way you came. Out-and-back is a great two to two-and-a-half-hour adventure ride, in the heart of the city, finishing with refreshments at one of the food trucks in the Constantia Nek parking lot, or with the pretty people at La Parada. If you have more time, drop down into the Constantia green belts, and enjoy the sublime singletrack network that Cape Town mountain biking cut its teeth on in the ‘80s.