Northern Delights

START AND FINISH: Dirtopia, Delvera, Stellenbosch
ASCENT: 1 936m
HIGHLIGHTS: Plenty of countryside, quiet roads, alpine climbs
Make a day of it and tackle two of the Western Cape’s greatest passes. Start nice and early, so that you miss the rush on Dutoitskloof, a 14km climb that, while it is not particularly steep, drags on somewhat. The view from almost all of it is worth the sweat, though. Take it easy through the tunnel on the descent, and then stay in the yellow line all the way through to the Rawsonville turn-off – this is a national road (not a freeway, so we are a lowed to ride on it), and it is busy, but quite safe. The Slanghoek valley never disappoints, with little traffic and ever-changing views and a couple of coffee/croissant options if you aren’t too early. Then you turn left and head up Bainskloof, an absolute classic; steep and twisty, narrow and rough. The descent is worth being cautious on – the lower corners are sharper than they look. Then it is a short battle into the southeaster to get back to Delvera for burgers and beer.