1. Total distance of route?
2. How long did it take to complete? Were you going fast or travelling leisurely?
Four hours, including a leisurely lunch.
3. Why do you recommend this route?
It explores Western Cape back roads and offers a diverse mix of slow, medium and fast riding. Low traffic volumes and scenic views make for a good mid-week break away from the city.
4. Please tell us how the route runs.
From the N1, take the shortest route to the N7. Keep on the N7 until you can take the Philadelphia road. This road is a hidden gem and consists of 30km of twisty roads, with great surface conditions. At the end of this road, take a left onto the R304. Follow the R304 heading to Malmesbury. Keep a lookout for the road that says Wellington-Paardeberg. Turn right here and head towards Wellington. Look out for the Paardeberg Mall, where you need to turn left. (The word Mall is used figuratively – trust me it’s not what you think it is). Turn left here and head past the Paardeberg Correctional Service. Where the Paardeberg road meets up with the R45, turn left and head towards the Fontein roads. Off-road capable bikes have many options here, and can enjoy hours of fun going absolutely nowhere. Tar-road bikes have the option to either head into Riebeek-Kasteel, or do the round-trip to Malmesbury. This route took us to the quaint little town of Riebeek-Kasteel. From here we headed back to Malmesbury and took the R302 back to Durbanville, cutting across the back roads to Durbanville.
5. What kind of motorcycle is this route suitable for?
All types; from big cruisers to sports bikes. I rode the very able Honda VFR 1200 Crosstourer, and mostly on tar roads.
6. Please name significant points of interest along the way.
The town of Philadelphia is worth stopping in for a quick coffee before heading off on the longer section of the ride (approximately 110km). Keep an eye out for the Paardeberg Mall on your left hand side, just before the turn-off to the road past the prison. In and around Riebeek-Kasteel there are many things to do and experience – including olive tasting at Het Vlok Kasteel (a real castle) and the excellent wine and olive pairings at Kloovernburg wine estate. The lunch at Ed’s Diner was affordable and the place is biker friendly.
7. Are there petrol stations along the way?
The entire trip can be completed on a tank of fuel, but there are garages along the way.
8. Are there any dangers along the route?
Keep an eye out for that dust cloud on a farms access road, indicating a farmer in hurry to the market. There are some twisty bits, but nothing to alarm anyone. These roads are used by heavy vehicles to deliver feed to the farmers, so look out for dark lines on the asphalt – usually diesel spillage.
9. What did the trip cost in fuel, meals and accommodation?
19 litres of fuel and R160 for lunch (for two), so all in for about R320.
10. Any must-do activities on the route?
Riebeek-Kasteel offers great photo opportunities.
11. Do you have any other comments or advice about the route?
The roads in and around this area offer many permutations, so give yourself enough time to enjoy it all. I found the average comfortable speed to be the national limit. Keep an eye out for the local municipal police. They do appear from time to time, as you enter the bigger towns. This route is most enjoyable and will not disappoint.
12. Are there doctors or hospitals in the area?
Hospital services are available or dial 112.
Ride report by Mukhtar Mukuddem.