Author Archive | Esme Venter

Holiday permits


The Wannabees Cycling Club of Somerset West is providing a splendid holiday opportunity to visiting mountain bikers. The club is now offering an opportunity to join your friends and family on the club’s trails for the year-end holiday period at a much-reduced fee. Share in their glowing admiration of the incredible privilege of being able to meander amongst the vines situated at the foot of the majestic Helderberg Mountain. The club’s trails are mostly family friendly and there are more than 90kms of exploration opportunity, which should satisfy the exploration urge of most visiting mountain bikers. The club is offering a 3-month holiday permit, valid from November to January at a fantastic value of only R150 per person. Please contact the club’s secretary at:, to arrange your purchase.

Please do not ride the club’s trails without a valid permit. (The trails are marshalled). If you need a light, you shouldn’t be on the trail. No helmet, no ride. Stay on the trail, and obey all direction markers.

The club still offers their regular day permits @R40 per day per person which is available at local bicycle shops in the Helderberg basin during office hours, at Somerbosch Wine Estate 7 days a week from 09:00 – 16:30 and, 24/7 at the reception desk of the NH Lord Charles Hotel.
Let the fun begin…


Day permits available at NH Lord Charles

I have just received written confirmation from Lord Charles that permits would be available at their reception 24/7 as from tomorrow, Wednesday 21 Oct. They do not stock cable ties or string so please be sure to bring your own. Please do not park in their main parking area. You have to park at the top of the road to the left if you plan to cycle from there. A huge high five to the NH Lord Charles hotel!

SGM meeting – short review and outcome. Recommendations on trail management added to post.


60 PAX attended the SGM on Wednesday.

Wynand gave a short description of where and how the idea of the donation to Raithby was formed – mainly as a result of surplus funds of generated by events. Following a meeting with farmers earlier this year, it was agreed that a donation to the school would be considered to be a meaningful way to compensate them for the privilege of riding on their farms. Lillebe, the club’s appointed Raithby donation administrator, gave background information about the Raithby school, their needs and their wish list. An overwhelming majority voted in favour of making the donation to the Raithby school, and the R100K donation was approved. Lillibe de Jager will administer the donation on behalf of the club and provide frequent feedback. Since this was a once off donation derived from surplus funds, the committee will have to decide if this would become a budgeted item in future.

The growth of the club and the management issues were then addressed. Wynand pointed out that change in managing the affairs of the club has become inevitable and that committee have a desire to leave an organised legacy for future management teams.

Louise Loubser from Tygerberg MTB club and Meurant Botha from Dirtopia/Amarider gave valuable insight in how they operate trails and the T MTB C. The Wannabees Cycling Club can learn a lot from their experience. Louise pointed out that relationships with farmers are crucial. T MTB C invested and built trails, but do not own the land. Mountain Biking is the fastest growing sport in the country, and the club does not need to grow the sport, but rather regulate and control it, especially ito rogue riding. He went on to explain a little about T MTB C’s fee structure. He told the meeting about their effective communication systems which includes newsletters, frequent meetings and high volume email communications. They employ a full time secretary. They also employ a full-time Trail Manager, supplied him with a sponsored vehicle and fuel, assisted by 7 workers to manage  trail maintenance and repair. He suggested the Wannabees increase their membership fees in order to, employ a full time Trail Manager and trail maintenance team.

Meurant explained that he mainly builds trails. He then explained the various ownership models in place for a list of trail examples that Ralph listed on a slide. He also mentioned that the reason why cycling has become so popular is that people are appreciating the benefits of fitness and wellbeing, as well as the social interaction of cycling.

Wynand then suggested 4 discussion points: Separate trail & club membership; Separate trail management; Streamline trail management and lastly the Formation of a MTB subcommittee to investigate the various trail management options and report back at the AGM. The floor decided that the last option was the most preferable. Volunteers from the floor were asked to form a workgroup. Kowie Strauss is to head this workgroup.

We ended the evening with snacks and would like to thank Monja and Ralph for their input in the social aspect. It all went down well (pun intended).

Recommendation regarding trail management

Following the SGM in September last year a small group of club members (including the MTB sub-committee) considered the options for managing the trails. The group recommended that the club should continue to manage the trails itself because it is a simple and transparent system, with less potential legal issues and the lowest costs to members. Some landowners also voiced their reservations about any option where the trails will be alienated from the Wannabees club. In summary the following management improvements were recommended:

Trail building and maintenance:

  1. Trail building and maintenance (currently by Errol) should be managed on a more commercial basis. This means a market rate of compensation for labour and vehicle use.
  2. A flexible budget will be implemented for this activity. The more members the more money could be spent on new trails.


Landowner liaison:

  1. This activity should be divided among three to four club members.
  2. Club members should be compensated for their fuel costs to visit landowners.
  3. Visits to landowners should be scheduled and should include two social meetings a year for feedback and exchanging ideas.
  4. A formal system of landowner interaction should be implemented where visits, ideas and concerns are formally logged, reviewed and addressed.


Trail security:

  1. Regular security blitzes to be held on the trails to counter rogue riding.
  2. Implement strict disciplinary actions against rogue riders.
  3. Implement a formal marshalling system in 2016, where marshalling is scheduled and marshalling activity and incidents are logged.
  4. Involve Helderberg Crime Watch and Securite to try and keep the trails secure against crime.
  5. WCC membership details should not be divulged to any third parties, except where required by law.