Although currently one of the fastest growing recreational sport categories in South Africa, the sport of mountain biking (MTB) is being threatened by the emerging negative trend of rogue riding.
According to Johan Kriegler, Director FNB Wines2Whales(W2W) MTB Events, the exceptional growth of the sport has resulted in an increase in the number of MTB events as well as the building and opening of public MTB trails. “The Western Cape has become a favourite MTB destination with a growing number of public MTB trails in and around the Peninsula. MTB events such as the ABSA Cape Epic and the FNB W2W have established itself on the international and local circuits as leading multi-stage events”.
Kriegler emphasizes that although a costly exercise, MTB trail building and the maintenance thereof have proven to be a positive job creation opportunity, with a number of previously un-employed citizens finding a destiny in this newly established market. Most MTB trails that are open to the public charge a daily or annual fee. To ensure proper access control on public and privately owned properties, mountain bikers are required to own a permit. Most MTB event trails are a combination of public trails and roads or trails within public and privately owned properties.
“The public MTB trails together with the numerous MTB events staged in the Western Cape afford mountain bikers a unique opportunity to enjoy scenic and interesting trails, enabled by professionally managed partnerships between event organizers, trail- public and private landowners,” continues Kriegler. “These partnerships are built on mutual trust and respect of private property and privacy of landowners. Unfortunately this mutually beneficial relationship is being threatened by a small group of selfish mountain bikers that are continuously trespassing on private property, riding illegally whenever and wherever they wish and resulting in tarnished partnerships and eventually, trail closures by landowners”.
“These riders, known as rogue riders, also ride illegally on public MTB trails without bike permits, refusing to pay a small daily or annual fee. Land- and route owners together with event organizers have decided to act seriously against such riders. The decision was taken to ban rogue riders for at least three years from all MTB events in the Western Cape including the FNB W2W, ABSA Cape Epic, and MTB events organized by MTB Adventures, Stillwater Sport & Entertainment, Dirtopia and PPA. Please assist us in getting these rogue riders out of mountain biking, and allow us to continue creating some of the best MTB trails while maintaining respectful relationships with landowners. Let’s continue to grow this amazing sport with responsible and like- minded riders,” urges Kriegler.
AmaRider will manage the disciplinary process of rogue riders and will inform the relevant event organizers once a rogue rider has been found to be guilty of frequent illegal riding on private property and/or public trails.
Members of the larger and responsible MTB fraternity are encouraged to communicate and express their anti-rogue riding opinion by notifying AmaRider of anyone involved in such rogue practices.
Contact AmaRider on (021) 884 4547 or email email@example.com. For further information visit www.amarider.co.za. To track the progress of this story from its origin read Meurant Botha’s AmaRider column from the January issue of Full Sus and Johan Kriegler’s first letter on the issue on the Full Sus website, here.