By Richard Arderne

As is well known, the amazingly successful Balies Beach party on 2 January raised R500,000 for local charities

ST FRANCIS MTB TRAIL

The St Francis Cycling Club received R50,000 of this for our 25km MTB trail, on top of the R20,000 received from Balies Beach last year.

Thank you Balies Beach, especially Giancarlo Lanfranchi and Warren Adler!

We also recently received R20,000 from the St Francis Bay Property Owner’s Association.

ST FRANCIS MTB TRAIL

Without these donations, we would be struggling to maintain and extend our wonderful MTB trail, which starts and ends at the Coimbra Cycle Shop.

We took the decision to have two full-time employees working on the track, managed by Tyrone Kindness, with Greg West kindly providing oversight.

Please join our club, only R400 pp pa(minimum!):

St Francis Cycling Club, Standard Bank 186519508

An update on the St Francis MTB trail

by Greg West:

We faced challenges over the last six months. The rains that thankfully came last year, resulted in some of the “thatch farm” trails being flooded. Tyrone and his team had to do a last-minute diversion, just before the December holidays and we all agree that the new route is even better!

It was sandy in parts but we are busy with re-surfacing the entire trail.

In addition, the October storms decimated the trails near Bruces & the Otters Landing trails.

These two weather-related disasters resulted in us having to spend our resources on repair work, rather than making new trails.

Trail Building

ST FRANCIS MTB TRAIL

Because of the sandy nature of the soil in our area, pretty well every bit of trail requires a hard surface to be laid. This makes trail-building costly. The further one gets from an established road, the more expensive it becomes to get the material to that site.

We have been lucky to have had generous donations from club members as well as those that ride the trails regularly.

The material which is proving to be most effective is the light coloured “crusher run”, which compacts well and experience has shown lasts really well. However, it costs us R650 per cube to get it here and then it still has to be barrowed to the trail, laid and compacted. Each cube only does about 20m of trail so one can see the financial implications.

Tyrone has been busy with the existing thatch farm section and should soon complete that re-surfacing.

Then we plan to build some new trails. It has been challenging finding suitable areas in which to build these new trails. Most surrounding land owners are reluctant to allow permanent access so the plan is to extend in the thatch farm area as well as a couple of other local areas where we will not have access issues.

Thanks to all who have contributed. The route is taking shape and has been getting some high praise from the pro’s, including Mandi Augustyn!

Some background info:

The St Francis Cycling Club, established around 2012, went through a fairly quiet couple of years prior to 2019 as far as track maintenance and construction is concerned.

Richard Arderne took over as treasurer in late 2019, and we have raised (and spent) around R700,000 through club membership fees and donations, over the past four years. The trail has been extended so that it is now circular (by way of the Thatch Farm (between the sewerage works and St Francis Drive) …  rather than a “there and back” which means that (most) cyclists now travel in an only clockwise direction. The trail is now longer (about 25km) and more interesting, and also can now safely take more cycling traffic.

A milestone last year was the re-instating of an annual low season MTB race, in addition to the one held over the peak Xmas season. There was a St Francis MTB Challenge from the Links, held with over 400 cyclists pa for three years, from 2009 to 2011, but heavy winter rain interrupted the subsequent races, and the event was discontinued. It is good for our town that the St Francis College MTB Race was held (in conjunction with the club) in November last year, with over 200 cyclists. We hope this event grows in the coming years. There is now talk of two day race in 2026.

The club has weekly Thursday evening rides around the 25km route, and many longer rides are arranged over weekends. The club is supported by the local Coimbra cycle shop.

ST FRANCIS MTB TRAIL