We reckoned it was about time to go Trail Trippin’ again so I headed out to Eden forest in Stellenbosch to see what it was all about! I got some local boys, Max Sullivan and Adi van der Merwe, to show me around and it looked to be a good day! Max is the team manager for Imbuko Giant (among other things) and loves to get out for a good trail ride. Adi stays nearby in Somerset West. He’s raced downhill bikes at a World Cup level and now has a habit of going much faster downhill than everyone else, without the use of rear suspension. He’s an all-round good bloke and great fun to have on a trail ride! With our crew assembled on a fresh but sunny morning, we grabbed some coffee in town and then made out way over to the trails.
Eden Forest is about 10 minutes drive from the centre of town in Stellenbosch and with an easy pedal up to the top, it is a very popular trail network. After starting the climb up to the trailhead, it wasn’t long before Max pointed out a sketchy blind jump off to the side of the climbing road. It looked pretty fun so I gave it a bash and it was pretty smooth, came down a bit tail heavy on the first attempt but it was good to get the blood flowing! Also managed to provide some good laughs for the guys when I fell over while failing to uncleat. Smooth.
Heading further up the climb the guys point out the Mont Marie trails to our right, a short pedal away, and on the opposite side the famous G-Spot and Coetzenberg trails. Plenty of options to choose from and the ability to link a couple of networks together for longer rides certainly adds to the popularity of these trails.
The climb up is only about 15 minutes and so we reached top pretty fresh and just rolled into the mainline behind Max! Off the bat, you’ve got sweeping corners and plenty of roots to keep you awake. The corners aren’t aggressively banked so it’s important to be leaning the bike over for traction and carving a good arc through them. The trail is fairly wide in places allowing for some line variation which is always refreshing! There are lots of little jumps and trail features that open up the creative potential and trail interpretation, I can definitely see myself getting out here more! Adi was letting it hang out a bit on the hardtail in front of me which is pretty entertaining to watch! Max also didn’t shy away from slapping a few corners which resulted in the usual hollers and laughs. This is what we love about trail riding!
After our first full run we checked out another couple short segment to taste a bit of the variety that was on offer and I’m glad we left more to explore because I am certainly keen to make another trip out there soon! Those trails are just so much fun and easy access makes them hard to beat. Max tells us that the existence and upkeep of the trails is owed to the Stellenbosch Trail Fund. They are a non-profit organisation that works on the creation and upkeep of a lot of MTB trails in the area as well as hiking and running trails. Eden Forest is free to ride but there are several barcodes around the trails that you can scan to donate to the organisation for the upkeep of the trails. They are doing some great work!
After messing around we headed up for another lap and it was just as much fun as the first, if not more! Now having a better idea of where the trail goes and the features that lend themselves to some playful riding I was starting to feel like a local, sneaking inside lines, getting some style going on the jumps (of which there are a few) and railing corners with the boys! The trails are not steep or too technical but the features and variations mean that you can be entertained no matter your skill level.
Stoked and satisfied we wrapped up and cruised into town for the post-ride coffee. A good taste of what Eden is all about and we’ll be back for more! Cheers, J-Dogg.